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Fields Sour Grapes

Unlike the Labour Party the National Party does not take the Pacific Island vote for granted says Belinda Vernon MP for Maungakiekie.

“Taito Phillip Field should check his facts before attempting to make political mileage out of the Pacific Island people,” said Belinda Vernon.

“Mr Field’s attempt to misinterpret the Prime Minister’s meeting with the Pacific Island community merely indicates he is not prepared to give credit where credit is due.”

“National’s interest in the portability of superannuation has been long standing. National first publicly indicated its commitment to portability when former Prime Minister Jim Bolger visited Samoa in 1997. Well before 1997 Arthur Anae had been lobbying for full portability ever since his involvement in the National Party and well before he became a Member of Parliament. In 1994 he won the support of the National Party National Conference for portability of pensions to the Pacific Islands.

“What is more, National’s superannuation portability scheme is significantly better than Mr Field’s proposal”, Ms Vernon said.

“Under National’s initiative, Pacific Island people who have been resident in New Zealand for 20 years (including at least five years after the age of 50) will get 100% of New Zealand Superannuation, and will be entitled to take it home to the Islands. Under Labour’s Bill, people would have to live in New Zealand for 40 years before becoming eligible.”

“Mr Field’s comments smack of sour grapes. His criticism of the Government leads one to conclude that perhaps his interest is more about increasing his own profile than delivering for Pacific Islanders,” Ms Vernon concluded.


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