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Retirement Commissioner Appointed

· Retirement Commissioner and Periodic Report Group appointed
· Diana Crossan has been appointed Retirement Commissioner, replacing Colin Blair who is retiring from the role.
· Ms Crossan’s appointment was announced today by Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey, along with the announcement of a Periodic Report Group who will advise the government on New Zealand’s retirement income policy.
· Steve Maharey said Diana Crossan has the range of skills necessary for the challenging role of Retirement Commissioner.
· “Diana Crossan has a stong background in the savings industry. She has held senior management positions in investment, savings and insurance organisations. She also has experience developing innovative marketing projects and securing commerical support for them.
· “In addition, she has a good understanding of the issues facing Maori, Pacific peoples and women with regard to saving. These are priority issues for the Retirement Commissioner.
· “The Retirement Commissioner’s role is likely to expand in the future to encompass monitoring and advising government on retirement village issues. The present functions include monitoring retirement income policies and promoting voluntary retirement savings by New Zealanders. Under the terms of the Retirement Income Act, Ms Crossan is being appointed until the next periodic report is presented to Parliament (due by 31 December 2003).
· “I want to place on record the thanks of the government to Colin Blair. He has served in this role for many years and has earned the respect of the industry and political parties alike. With innovative campaigns like the website, Colin Blair and his team have managed the extraordinary feat of lowering the average age of New Zealanders actively considering retirement issues from those in their 40s and 50s, to those in their 30s and below,” Steve Maharey said.
· . . / 2 Periodic Report Group
· The government is also appointing Vance Arkinstall (chair), Lynn Middleton and Owen Nash to provide the next periodic report on retirement income policies. They will be assisted by the Retirement Commissioner, the Secretary to the Treasury, the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development and the Commissioner of Inland Revenue, or their delegates. The Retirement Income Act 1993 requires that a Periodic Reporting Group be established at 6 yearly intervals to prepare a report on the retirement income policies of the New Zealand government.
· Steve Maharey said the next Periodic Report is due by 31 December 2003.
· “Government retirement income policies have been the subject of considerable public and Parliamentary debate in recent years, culminating in the present government’s decision to restore the value of superannuation following the 1999 general election and the establishment of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to guarantee provision at this level in the future.
· “Accordingly I have asked the Periodic Report Group to focus on ways to improve private provision for retirement income. Particular issues include: how savings for retirement are affected by saving for other purposes during a person’s working life; the specific issues faced by women, Maori and Pacific peoples when contemplating making private provision for retirement income; and how government policy affects the decisions New Zealanders make about private retirement income savings,” Steve Maharey said.

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