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Government Defying Reality on Retirement Age

Government Defying Reality on Retirement Age

ACT New Zealand Parliamentary Leader John Boscawen today condemned National’s refusal to raise the retirement age as a political gamble that would impoverish youth.

In Question Time this afternoon, I asked Finance Minister Bill English whether the decision to leave the retirement age at 65 was a political one," Mr Boscawen said.

"His answer was frivolous: 'Because it is a decision made by Parliament, it is a political decision.'

"Mr English may find the situation amusing, but the facts are serious. The life expectancy for a pensioner in New Zealand has risen by 11 years since 1950 and is projected to continue to rise. The cost of super, as a portion of GDP, is set to almost double between now and 2035. This has to be paid for somehow, and unless the Government is willing to raise the age of eligibility, future generations will be burdened with higher taxes, cuts to services, and more government debt.

"Australia, despite their vast mineral resources and despite being over 30% wealthier per capita than New Zealand, have accepted reality and committed to raising the retirement age from 65 to 67.

"The United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and others have all made similar commitments, yet New Zealand continues to defy reality.

"Raising the retirement age is inevitable; the only question is when. Either New Zealand takes the Australian approach and gives people time to plan by announcing an increase years in advance, thus making superannuation safe, secure and reliable, or we take the National approach of launching an increase on retirees at short notice.

"ACT believes the first option is the only fair option," Mr Boscawen concluded.


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