Sunday, March 04, 2012

Why Key won't budge on Super

On Friday John Key was on Radio Live with co-hosts Rodney Hide and Willie Jackson. Jackson was predictably getting into Key about the welfare reform, especially the requirement for women who have an additional child on the benefit to be available for part-time work, but Key was fending off the objections effortlessly and convincingly.

I rang in to say that I supported the reform but to ask, given most countries are raising the eligibility age for pensions, that life expectancies are moving out, that people are staying healthy for longer, why did he commit to keeping the Super eligibility age at 65 and does he regret it?

You can hear the answer here if you select Friday and 12.30pm (towards the end of the half hour slot). But listen to the whole hour because Rodney talking with the PM is worth listening to.

Essentially in 2008 National were aware that Labour were planning a widespread campaign of misinformation saying Key was going to raise the Super age and he wanted to put that to bed. (Ironic when you remember that raising the age was Labour's best policy in 2011).

Key also said that Treasury advised him that there were bigger problems to tackle than Super - rising health costs for instance. Super wasn't that big an issue apparently.

Rodney observed that the Retirement Commissioner thinks it is however and pushed him on that a bit. I get cut off so missed the exchange.

So really we are stuck with around $1.5 - 2 billion worth of unnecessary spending because of politics. I believe voters are prepared to accept a staged raising of the age (similar to what is occurring in the US) and refusing to budge is going to be a problem for Key in 2014. What should National do?


WWallace said...

It is ludicrous to avoid the impending NZ Super bill blowout.

John Key should know that you never say "never". He would gain kudos to say that he was wrong, and that he is happy to seek a bipartisan agreement on raising the age of eligibility.

We should stay broadly in line with Australia.

There is merit, too, in allowing people to choose a lower payment, starting at 65 or a higher payment, starting some years later.

Psycho Milt said...

So really we are stuck with around $1.5 - 2 billion worth of unnecessary spending because of politics.

Because of incompetent politics. Key painted himself into a corner and now has to pretend this huge problem is actually a minor issue. It was a stupid promise to make and he should have the bollocks to admit it, not try to blame Labour for his own shortcomings.

thor42 said...

Key was really, really stupid to say that the Nats would not raise the age of eligibility.

It ranks along with the "trying to catch up with Australia" thing as one of the stupidest statements that the Nats have made. We will **NEVER** catch up economically with Australia - they simply have too many advantages over us.

Raising the age of eligibility was one of the very few good policies that Labour had in the last election.

Anonymous said...

So really we are stuck with around $1.5 - 2 billion worth of unnecessary spending because of politics

$1.5 to $2 billion?

rather $50 BILLION Lindsay.

NZ's social spending is $50 billion. And we're stuck with the lot, until Key gets the guts to do what is right, to do what Ruth would have done, to do the only thing that makes sense and just stop the lot