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Fierce Debate Over Super Bill

The issues of superannuation and migration provoked some heated exchanges in Parliament this evening.

The New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income (Pro Rata Entitlement) Amendment Bill bill proposed entitlement to Superannuation be based on a person’s length of residency in New Zealand between the ages of 20 and 65.

The Bill’s sponsor Denis O'Rourke said the bill would make super fairer and more sustainable and pleaded with other parties to at least support the bill to select committee.

He said the bill was entirely negotiable and would enable other parties to put forward their policy and allow for some debate. Mr O’Rourke said he was concerned at the large number of people who migrated to New Zealand over the age of 50 and could benefit from its generous entitlement. He also feared a ‘tsunami’ of New Zealanders who lived most of their lives overseas returning to take advantage of super.

National MP David Bennett said the bill was “tragic” and attempt to play on people’s fears about immigration. The debate then became rather heated with NZ First MPs making points of order objecting to Mr Bennett’s speech. This irritated Deputy Speaker Chester Burrows who told MPs he was the sole judge of relevance and informed them he was not brought down in the last shower and would not be told how to suck eggs by MPs.

Labour’s Grant Robertson said the only disgraceful person in the House was Mr Bennett. Labour did not support the entire bill, but it deserved more than insults and abuse. Superannuation was a serious issue which should be debated properly.

Green MP Jan Logie said they had serious misgivings about the bill and the way it was written was unfair with gaping holes, but it deserved to be sent to select committee for debate to despite being “borderline racist”.

The bill was defeated by 61 to 60 with National, ACT and United Future opposed.

MPs then began the first reading of the Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave and Work Contact Hours) Amendment Bill. The bill in the name of Labour MP Sue Moroney proposes to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks.

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