Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


The politics of superannuation

Press release

The politics of superannuation

12 March 2002

For the first time, the representatives of five political parties were quizzed on the key elements of their retirement income policies in a single “head to head” session at a conference in Wellington last Friday. Five party representatives presented their superannuation wares and were then questioned by a panel to clarify individual aspects and to draw out both similarities and differences.

“I think even some of the participants were surprised at the similarities” said Michael Littlewood, one of the panel. “We wanted to reduce the point scoring that usually characterises debate on this difficult subject and to identify issues on which there seemed to be general agreement. I think we achieved that.”

Parties represented were Act (Rodney Hide), Greens (Rod Donald), National (Gerry Brownlee), NZ First (Winston Peters) and United (Peter Dunne). Both government parties declined the chance to attend but they were represented through a summary of their policies distributed to conference delegates.

The examining panel comprised Roger Kerr (NZ Business Round Table), Michael Littlewood and Linda McCulloch (AMP).

The two hour session produced a point by point comparison [that accompanies this release]. The outstanding features of the comparison are:

- There is no significant difference between all the parties on current policies that affect the benefits from publicly provided New Zealand Superannuation.

- The parties differ today only on the wisdom of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. National, Act and the Greens directly oppose it; NZ First gave it only qualified support and United thought that doing something was better than doing nothing. Only Labour and the Alliance seem to support it directly. Michael Littlewood said that we must assume the Alliance now supports the Fund because it voted to introduce it in 2001. However, the Alliance’s web site still reflects its 1999 election policy which was to oppose the Fund.

- There is less agreement about the future of New Zealand Superannuation, looking forward 20 years and more. “At least most of the parties seem to acknowledge the need for some sort of change,” said Michael Littlewood, “and that’s a fairly big step in the right direction. The only party that seems not to be contemplating any change to the benefits themselves is the Greens though it wants to get rid of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund,” he said.

- The parties are less clearly aligned on the role of private provision for retirement ¨C only NZ First supports compulsory private provision (directly linked with New Zealand Superannuation) and only Act directly opposes tax incentives. Support for the work of the Office of the Retirement Commissioner is patchy.

Michael Littlewood said that all parties (including Labour and the Alliance who weren’t represented at the conference session) had been given the chance, since the conference, to comment on the comparison before its release to make sure it fairly represented their positions on the various issues.

He said that focussing on the individual elements of the whole retirement income story should encourage the parties to think of the big picture and may encourage voters to ask why parties support particular parts of their policy. “Superannuation looks like a complicated issue,” Michael Littlewood said “but when you break it down into its individual elements, it becomes easier to have a sensible discussion.”

“I thought that Peter Dunne gave one of the more thoughtful contributions,” Michael Littlewood said. “He emphasised the need for consensus on the key issues going forward and not just amongst the politicians. He suggested that the community needed to be brought into that process. In that way, he acknowledged that politicians can’t provide all the answers; or that it’s too difficult now for any of the politicians, regardless of persuasion, to move ahead of the community on this issue”.

For further information:

Michael Littlewood Ph (09) 375 9800

Planit Services Limited Fax (09) 375 9801

Box 8811 DDI (09) 375 9802

Symonds Street Email michaell@planit.co.nz

Auckland 1035

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced


Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election