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Call for debate on retirement income policy

Call for debate on retirement income policy

Authors of a book exploring perspectives on New Zealand’s retirement income policy hope it will act as a catalyst for debate on retirement income policy.

In July 2010, Victoria University’s Institute of Policy Studies and the Retirement Commission held a well-attended conference to kick-start discussion on the issue of retirement. The Institute has gathered the conference papers into an edited book Retirement Income Policy and Intergenerational Equity, published yesterday to coincide with the Commissioner’s 2010 review of retirement income policy. The editors, Judith Davey, Geoff Rashbrooke and Bob Stephens, say it offers a vital and in-depth resource for this debate, giving expression to a wide range of perspectives.

Launching the 2010 review of retirement income policy, Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan said, “Something will have to change to keep New Zealand Super affordable. We can’t keep on ignoring this issue until it’s too late.”

The editors, all Senior Associates of the Institute of Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, strongly agree. “The review makes it plain that options for change have to be discussed and the debate needs to start now. This debate must look beyond short-term political considerations and current economic set-backs.

“Retirement income policy is not just an issue for older or even middle-aged people. It raises questions of fairness between the generations. What will the balance be between the number of people receiving superannuation and the number of taxpayers contributing to it? If financial support for retired people is a ‘burden’, then how should that burden be shared between current and future taxpayers and those who receive a pension?”

The book explores social, demographic and economic contexts from both a local and an international perspective. It examines and evaluates strategies and options for retirement income policy. These include encouraging longer working lives, developing new financial products and services, and extending the age of eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation.

ENDS

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