NEW ZEALAND - A 4000-strong petition from members of Auckland lobby group Grey Power's superannuation committee seeking redress for the shortfall in super below the legal requirement highlights how poorly Labour is treating seniors, says Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First leader.
Peters said: “To allow New Zealand superannuation to fall below the legal 65% threshold for four consecutive quarters as Labour have done is simply callous. They are depriving married couples of NZ$227.71 and singles $148.14, and while this may not seem like much to the latte sipping elitists in Labour’s cabinet, for those struggling on just $383.22 a week for a married couple, it does make a difference.”
NZ First claims the government has been “ripping off” seniors by not reaching the legally required 65% threshold of the Net Average Wage (NAW) used to calculate superannuation.
“We will be taking this petition to the speaker to ensure it is among the first considered when parliament resumes,” Peters said. “This unerpayment of our seniors simply must not be allowed to continue.”
In the run up to the federal election on September 17, NZ First is promising to raise the level of super from the current rate of 32.5% of the NAW individually for each married person to 34% or 68% per couple. The party says this amounts to an extra $10 a week extra.
In the long term, the party aims to lift super from 65% of the NAW for couples to 72.5%. Also included in the policy is the removal of income and asset testing and consideration on the transferability of overseas pensions.
Meanwhile, the Labour-led government has promised to introduce legislation which removes anomalies which have prevented some people living alone from getting the Living Alone Payment of $19.67 a week.
“This means that from July 1 next year, around 2000 more superannuitants with partners in care will become eligible for the higher rate of single superannuation,” said prime minister Helen Clark.
The government has also committed to removing the “sharing expenses rule”.
“The way this rule has applied means, for example, that a superannuitant living alone who has help with her rates from her family would not qualify for the Living Alone Payment,” Clark said.
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