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Nats Tax Cut Benefits “highly speculative"

National’s tax-claim benefit for super-annuitants “highly speculative,” says Grey Power

“The National Party’s claim that superannuitants will be $320 better off next year under a National Government after tax cuts may be mere wishful thinking,” says Grey Power Federation president Graham Stairmand.

Mr Stairmand was speaking to a Grey Power board meeting in Wellington today in response to National’s proposed tax cuts issued earlier this week. He said the confusing stand-alone figure of $320 purportedly comes from increased wages of 2.5 per cent following a reduction in tax. Superannuation is paid at a minimum rate of 65 per cent of the net average weekly wage, but is determined by the Consumer Price Index, not just an increase in wages.

Sections 15 and 16 of the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Act 2001 set out the two-step process at the end of each December quarter to adjust the rates of superannuation in line with the annual Consumer Price Index percentage movement using the latest available data within the 65 to 72.5 per cent band of the net average wage.

Mr Stairmand says “given an expected increase of three per cent inflation this year, the married rate of $20,465.12 will almost double the figure suggested by National, to $21,079.12. Any further increase in wages, whether by award or tax cut, in itself, will have little bearing on the level of superannuation. National’s promise of a further $320 increase is highly speculative.

“Surprisingly,” he says, “National’s two-page statement on proposed tax cuts made little reference to the retired and pensioner generation who represent more than 20 per cent of the voting population. The official and actual level of superannuation is of great concern to Grey Power members, and has been the subject of a number of public statements. Grey Power would have preferred hearing National promise a rise in the official level of NZ Superannuation,” says Graham Stairmand

Boasting more than 90,000 active members, NZ Grey Power is recognised as a leading support organization for many of the three-quarters of a million retired New Zealanders. Grey Power has remained officially neutral during the election campaign, but does respond with support and information that may affect its members.

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