Raising the age for a pension

The Prime Minister yesterday announced that the age for the pension for retired people – superannuation – will be raised to 67 by 2040. From July 2037 (in another 20 years) to become eligible for superannuation, people will be 65 and a half. The age of eligibility will increase by 6 months each year until it reaches 67 years old. Many other western countries are making plans to increase the age for superannuation to 67.

Another change will affect migrants who move to New Zealand later in life. They will need to live here for 20 years instead of the current 10 years to be eligible for New Zealand superannuation. In some ways, it is fair as older people who move to New Zealand have not paid taxes here for most of their working lives. On the other hand, the New Zealand taxpayer has not paid for their education.

Other political parties do not support this change. Some point out that this policy will affect Generation X. These are young people who did not have free tertiary education – they have big student debts and they can’t afford to buy a house with the huge rise in house prices. The Maori Party say this is unfair to Maori who die earlier than Pakeha. People who do heavy physical work feel it is unfair to delay retirement until 67. The ACT party thinks the raise in age should start in 2020. The New Zealand First party thinks that Mr English is pretending to do something but really doing nothing because another government could change this in the future.

Vocabulary

• Superannuation (n), sometimes called “super” – pension for all retired people, rich or poor
• eligible (adj) – to have the right critieria or qualifications for something; eligibility (n)
• current (adj) – now, what exists now
• policy (n) – government plan of action
• tertiary education – education after secondary school; third level education
• Pakeha (Maori word) – non-Maori






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