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National cannot be trusted on retirement policy

Hon Dr Michael Cullen
Minister of Finance

18 December 2007 Media Statement

National cannot be trusted on retirement policy

There is no question that John Key and Bill English genuinely believe that support for older New Zealanders should be cut, Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

John Key told journalists today that National would go into the next election promising to keep the rate of superannuation unchanged and the age of eligibility unchanged, but Dr Cullen said that National simply cannot be trusted on this issue.

“National and Bill English cut superannuation when they were last in government,” Dr Cullen said. “Bill English has said that he believes Labour has been too generous to older New Zealanders and that any support for the government’s enhanced KiwiSaver scheme would come at the expense of superannuation.

“It is also important to point out that John Key has been very slippery on this issue in the past and this is not the first time he has ‘committed’ to keeping super policy unchanged.

“In late 2003, he told the New Zealand Herald that

We (National) recognise the commitment of 65 at 65, and we are honouring that.

“But in the very next breath he contradicted that commitment saying,

But I don't think there is any doubt that the single biggest way to reduce that liability is to raise the age of eligibility. I don't think it is an impossible ask to look at doing that gradually and gently over time.

“John Key is a politician who tells people what they want to hear. It will be the job of the Labour-led government to remind New Zealanders what John Key actually believes and what a National-led government would actually do in office.

“John Key and Bill English are still yet to tell people what they will do with KiwiSaver. They voted against KiwiSaver at every stage and John Key promised to scrap it at the last election.

“The over 300,000 people already signed up to the scheme have a right to know what National proposes.”


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