Friday, October 28, 2011

Raise the Super age - now

About Labour's Raising the Age for Super policy Winston Peters says:

“It is mean spirited to expect a person who has raised a family and paid his or her taxes to go out job seeking at the age of 66 – particularly if there are not enough jobs to go around as is the situation now."


Cute. Winston is of course job-seeking at 66. Hopefully there aren't enough "jobs to go around" for him.

When the first Old Age Pension was instituted in 1898 the qualifying age was 65. Today it is unchanged. In his 1997 work Reforming New Zealand Welfare, Michael Jones wrote,

“If the age of eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation was adjusted to equal average periods on the aged pension in 1900, the eligibility would now be 75 for men and 80 for women.”


In the last 14 years life expectancies have extended further. People are living longer and longer yet expect to receive Super at the same age. (Interestingly other long-standing age-based laws, for example the qualifying age for a driver's licence, can be changed. No doubt because there isn't a substantial voting backlash.)

At a time when the economy is in undeniable trouble, lifting the qualifying age for Super would save billions. But it needs to happen now and it needs to happen decisively and clearly. Labour say they want to raise the age for super eligibility to 65. In the next breath they say they will make an exception for people who can't work past 65. If someone can't work due to illness or disability they go on the relevant benefit.

Why is it that so many superannuitants are happy to have their pension linked to the CPI and average wage but not average life expectancy?

10 comments:

MacDoctor said...

There are two things wrong with the age argument. Firstly, there are certain types of manual labour that can only be done for a limited number of years regardless of longevity. Most of the contingent of older sickness beneficiaries have this sort of job. Secondly, though we live longer, we are not necessarily healthier. While there are certainly some 70 yo who can still work, there are a significant number who can not.

I suspect the solution to this will be considerably more complex than simply raising the age of eligibility.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

"Most of the contingent of older sickness beneficiaries have this sort of job."

And could continue to claim the sickness benefit after 65.

Most people in their sixties are fitter than in past generations because of the many labour saving devices, perhaps particularly women. Deal with the majority with clarity and deal with those at the margins through the existing social security arrangements.

I think you see too much complexity.

Moist von Lipwig said...

"Firstly, there are certain types of manual labour that can only be done for a limited number of years regardless of longevity."

Well said MacD.

"Most people in their sixties are fitter than in past generations because of the many labour saving devices, perhaps particularly women."

And most of you who are puttng forward such arguments have spent their whole working life sedentary.

unsolicitedious said...

"Most people in their sixties are fitter than in past generations because of the many labour saving devices, perhaps particularly women. Deal with the majority with clarity and deal with those at the margins through the existing social security arrangements."

I agree. The only thing I don't like about this policy is that it came from Labour. I also disagree with all their exclusions - once again those who earn the money will be subsidising those who never have and never will.

I also don't see any validity for the delay. Implement it now - it affects my generation the most and we are still going to be working for easily another 20-25 years.

Universal Super in its current form is unsustainable - has been for years. Raising the age of entitlement would enable us to get away from the current generation of taxpayers always paying for the current generation of Super.

The main flaw - Labour is unlikely to actually save this money for our retirement. They will use these funds on Welfare...

Kiwiwit said...

Surely the question that should be asked is whether it is fair and moral for young people struggling on low wages to be contributing to the retirement income of someone aged 65 who is still capable of earning many times what they do and who undoubtedly has many times more in assets? And don't tell me the older person has contributed over the years - superannuation payments are still entirely funded from taxation collected in the current year. To add insult to injury, workers are also providing for their own future under the National Superannuation Fund.

JC said...

Rather than increase the age to 67 to receive Super, I'd start paying it as per usual at 65, but pay, say, 20% of the current entitlement, and more as time goes on.

That will keep more of the 65s at work but increasingly allow them to step back as time goes by. If you add in flexible time at work you could have the employer bring in younger people who can learn from the older at little cost.

I've been doing something like this the last two years and using the extra time to go to the gym.
My blood pressure has dropped like a stone but I'm not sure whether because of the extra fitness, or not having to deal so much with gormless 30-40 year olds who think they know everything.

JC

unsolicitedious said...

@ Kiwiwit - completely agree. However it is likely that unless major changes are made, there wont even be a super. And it would be good to have something.

A universal scheme is by far the best model, but it needs to change to reflect the current economic climate. Life is a little different compared to the immediate period following WW2.

Raising the age - yes. Making Kiwisaver compulsory at say 2% for both employers & employees? Yes, but on the proviso no future govt can touch the funds. But increasing employers contributions to 7% - no way..

nasir said...

The cuts are not good... really!!!
jobs in new zealand

Anonymous said...

It's time to tell the simple truth: there's no more money for super and no more money for benefits.

We just need to raise the eligibility to 150 -- back dated! --- just stop paying super and dole and dbp and wff and sickness and all the rest...

we are still going to be working for easily another 20-25 years.

Which part of: there isn't any more money don't you understand? How hard is 150% national debt, more indebted than Greece to understand? If you haven't saved for your retirement and healthcare we're not going to be able to pay for it whether we want to or not.

And. of course, we don't. We're sick of bludgers and as soon as you realise it and act on it the better.

Anonymous said...

I have a good idea.Instead of making the hardworking people who go to work everyday and pay their taxes and dont cause trouble work till 67:-Train up the 'second shift'.That is the people who have chosen not to do the above.They have chosen 'Rest & Recreation'.They will have good backs and other joints and plenty of energy by my calculation.
I have worn joints and am tired.There is no way that I will make it to 65 let alone 67.I'm 51 and it is looking grim.