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Social Assistance (Residency Qualification) Legislation Bill

Social Assistance (Residency Qualification) Legislation Bill passes third reading

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni welcomes the passing of a Bill which will improve access to New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension for those looking to retire to the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau from New Zealand.

“The Bill will allow those who have lived in New Zealand for 10 years, after the age of 20, to move or return to any of these countries without having to return to New Zealand to qualify for their pension,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“Prior to the Bill’s passing, a person must have been resident and present in New Zealand for 10 years after the age of 20, including five years after the age of 50 to qualify for New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension.

“This change recognises New Zealand's special relationship with the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau. These countries are part of the Realm of New Zealand, meaning all of their citizens are also New Zealand citizens.

“All New Zealanders will be able to make use of the provision should they choose to live in the Cook Islands, Niue, or Tokelau.

“This Government wants to ensure that New Zealanders have as many options as possible as to where they spend their retirement.

“We also want to ensure that people living in countries and territories that have close constitutional ties with New Zealand are treated fairly and their ongoing economic and social viability is supported,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

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