NEW ZEALAND - New Zealand First called on the government to address the issue of overseas pensions' portability in an effort to protect savings of thousands of retired migrants.
The party released a policy paper highlighting the inequalities in the current legislation as well as proposed solutions.
NZ First believes the problem lies part of the Social Security Act which gives the chief executive of the ministry of social development discretion over determining the eligibility of overseas super schemes
NZ First MP Barbara Stewart pressed the issue in parliament again, although last week finance minister Michael Cullen claimed work was progressing “well” on finding ways to improve options for senior citizens who may be eligible for foreign pensions as well as New Zealand super.
In response to Stewart’s pressure, social development minister David Benson Pope said he and Cullen were actively discussing the matter.
Stewart explained that more than 50,000 senior citizens who saved for retirement in government administered schemes overseas are having this money deducted from their New Zealand Superannuation.
She claimed it was hypocritical of the government to promote saving though government sponsored schemes for improved retirement income while penalising those who saved under such schemes in other countries.
Post-election, NZ First has a commitment to make sure the portability of overseas pensions is addressed by the Labour government. This was part of the party’s supply and confidence agreement with the government.
The NZ First MP said a clear distinction must be made between state funded overseas pensions and those government administered schemes based on savings contributions.
In addition, Stewart also called for the need to expand the number of countries with which New Zealand has reciprocal agreements over superannuation and pensions - “particularly countries like the US,” she concluded.
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