New Zealand Superannuation

Touching the third rail of superannuation is a brave act by any government, but what about those other curly questions?

Good on you, Bill. I respect political courage. Too often in New Zealand, superannuation promises have been used to buy elections, beginning with Rob Muldoon back in 1975. He made the age of entitlement to universal super 60; it took years of pain and a raft of broken promises to get the age lifted to 65 (back where the old age pension began).

Welcome to the topsy-turvy world where no-one cares what Treasury says and only the only party that seems to give a toss about sustainability is... ACT

The past week in New Zealand politics has been the argument I have every Christmas writ large; and has been just as unedifying.

I'm in my early 30s, which puts me firmly in the millennial camp. And as a millenial, I wasn't all that outraged I'd have to wait two more years to get my super, as Bill English confirmed on Monday.

What do you make of this way of doing it?

This quick post is a question, more than analysis of an issue. But it's something I stumbled upon today regarding New Zealand's superannuation history... and I'm wondering if it offers us a way forward.

Bill English has made a brave call on super, but is it mere penance for years of bad calls, will New Zealanders face the facts and has he just started a new inter-generational war?

I was talking with a colleague today about Bill English's plan to raise the age of eligibilty for super from 65 to 67 – in 20 years. "What are you," he asked, and I knew immediately what he meant. "Gen X," I replied. "But just old enough to sneak out at 65". He said he'd get caught, I said my wife would too. Then it struck me: This conversation was meaningless.

Why grasp one of the third rails of politics just six months from an election? Well, three possible reasons come to mind...

The interesting thing about Bill English's out of the blue superannuation announcement is not the substance of the policy -- it seems mild enough -- but why he made it six months before an election. After all, the key part of the policy, the shift in the eligibility age from 65 to 67 does not even start for another 20 years.