27 October 2011
Savings Policy – bold and a point of difference
The Council of Trade Unions says that the savings policy announced by the Labour Party is bold and establishes clear points of difference with the National Party.
Peter Conway, CTU Secretary, said that “resuming contributions to the NZ Super Fund, phasing in compulsory savings based largely on increased employer contributions, and moving over a period to 67 years as a qualifying age for NZ Superannuation payments show that a serious effort is being made to address our long run savings issues”.
Peter Conway said that workers will welcome the increase in employer contributions which mean KiwiSaver builds up to an amount equivalent to 10 percent of income each year which will be put aside for retirement savings.
“That doesn’t catch us up with Australia – but it is a big step in that direction”.
The CTU will want to engage on the issue of what level of income is required before it is compulsory to join KiwiSaver, and also it is important that the minimum wage continues to rise significantly during the phase in period.
“The increase in the qualifying age for NZ Super will be a challenging issue for unions to work through. We recognise that we must face up to serious savings issues and that we have an ageing population. But there will also be concerns, particularly among manual workers”.
Peter Conway said that the long phase in period, promise of consultation, transitional payments for those that need it from age 65 years and the ramping up of workplace savings via KiwiSaver will satisfy the concerns of many.
“But we will need to discuss this policy in considerable detail with workers and employers”.
Peter Conway added that this savings policy from Labour, tax reform including the first $5,000 of earnings being tax free, and a comprehensive policy package to lift wages shows a real commitment to an alternative plan for economic management in the interests of the majority of people rather than a select few.