NZ First bill would increase elderly poverty
AUCKLAND ACTION AGAINST POVERTY
A bill proposed by New Zealand First MP Mark Patterson aims to raise the minimum residency requirements to get New Zealand superannuation from 10 years to 20 years after the age of 20. Auckland Action Against Poverty warns that any restrictions which lock people from receiving superannuation would further increase rising levels of elderly poverty.
"There is a myth that our senior population in New Zealand is privileged and does not experience poverty. In the past 5 years, hardship grants for over 65s have increased by 50%, with many struggling to meet the basic costs of living", says Kathleen Paraha, Auckland Action Against Poverty Spokesperson.
"The cost of living is going up at a far higher rate than the level of superannuation and incomes. If we restrict people from accessing crucial income in the years where they are least likely to be able to work, we would be sending them to Work and Income for assistance with basic things like food and clothing.
"Many Māori and Pasifika whānau living in Aotearoa have parents and grandparents in Australia and the Pacific Islands, and they should have the ability to be together to care for them in their twilight years.
"Whatever costs saved by restricting access to superannuation would be passed on to other Government departments. Depriving elderly of income would just increase the cost of healthcare, and other forms of assistance from Work and Income in the longer run.
"New Zealand First's bill would harm some of our most vulnerable. It is irresponsible to want to cut superannuation without proposing other means of support for seniors.
"Everyone deserves to age with dignity in New Zealand. Providing enough income to our elderly ensures they can remain active participants in their communities.