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Flexible Superannuation threatens tired old workers

Flexible Superannuation threatens tired old workers

By Don Franks

If you are an older worker in a physical low wage job, watch out.

Treasury has released a discussion document on Flexible Superannuation, brainchild of UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne.

The paper forwards an option to start drawing a pension five years earlier than people can currently do so, but at a substantially lower weekly rate.

The lower rate would remain at its level until death.

Alternatively, workers could delay drawing the pension until as late as 70, getting a much larger packet.

Mr Dunne said there were "obvious advantages" for some groups, such as those who were "physically exhausted" by age 60 because of work, Maori and Pasifika people because of generally shorter life expectancy, and those who were working beyond 65.

The only “obvious advantage” in this scenario is to the wealthier people in New Zealand, those who enjoy better health and are in the type of employment that can be carried on at a greater age.

People like Peter Dunne.

Prime Minister John Key said the idea had merit and would not contradict his firm promise, made in 2008, to never raise the age of eligibility for NZ Super because the scheme would be voluntary.

In fact, Key has just broken his promise. What choice does an exhausted sixty year old manual worker really have in such circumstances?

Labour’s finance spokesman David Parker said the party would consider the policy.

Mr Parker warned that some workers would be tempted to take the money early because of difficult financial circumstances - even if that meant they ended up with less money for much longer.

"Some people, because of their economic circumstances might be pressured to take their pension early, despite the fact that doing so could mean they live in poverty as they age."

What hypocrisy.

The Labour party has been leading the charge for the superannuation. elegibility age to be raised.

The social contract is about to be broken and the divide between rich and poor in New Zealand is about to be further widened.

That sort of injustice is not unavoidable.

A socialist society would provide decent pensions for all workers in need.

When will we get serious about fighting for such a society?


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