Opposition from Labour and NZ First to the Government's proposal to lift the retirement age to 67 shows how out of step those "brittle, backward-looking" parties are with the confidence of Kiwis, Prime Minister Bill English says.

Facing media this morning after yesterday announcing the proposal to raise the eligibility age for NZ Super in 20 years, English also said baby boomers weren't getting it easy.

"I don't think it is actually that helpful to have the generational comparisons. Because things change over time. In the early 80s interest rates were 18, 20 per cent.

"I'd much rather be in New Zealand's economy today than how it was 20 or 30 years ago."

Advertisement

English said National's opponents were stuck in an old mindset that changing superannuation was too politically risky.

National had not polled on the policy, English said. But he knew New Zealanders would be supportive after numerous conversations with voters.

"It is not a brittle, backward-looking electorate. But you have a couple of brittle, backward-looking political parties," English said.

"They see it as a big political issue in the same way it has been in the past. But I think the public has moved on a bit. It sums up where - particularly the Labour Party - are just out of touch with the confidence and resilience of New Zealanders.

"The public know this change was inevitable. This is the right time to take action on what was going to be inevitable. And New Zealand First and Labour are just out of step with the public mood."

The proposals were made possible by National's change of leadership. Former Prime Minister John Key pledged he would resign before tightening Super's eligibility.

Today, English said that stance by Key was appropriate for the time it was made and critical to restoring trust with the electorate.

The major policy shift is not scheduled to happen until 2037. It will affect every New Zealander under 45. English denied that was unfair to younger generations.

"The first point is the younger generation, I think, can be reassured that national Super will be there, and they will get it for as long as someone turning 65 today does.

"This is a generation who thought for quite some time there would be no superannuation. Actually, there will be and it will look just like it does today."

The policy is set to pass into law next year, meaning its progress will hinge on the general election result in September.

Labour said it would not raise the age if it came into power at the election - a position which was backed by its campaigning partner, the Greens.

New Zealand First, which could hold the balance of power after the election, is firmly against lifting the eligibility age.

National's support partners United Future and the Maori Party are also against lifting the age to 67. The only supporters of the idea were the Act Party, but it wanted the threshold lifted immediately.

Q&A:
Will the Super changes affect me?
If you are born on or after July 1, 1972, yes. You will have to wait until you are 67 to get your pension. But you will still be able to access your Kiwisaver at 65.

What if I'm born on June 30, 1972, or earlier?
Nothing will change. You will still get NZ Super when you turn 65.

What if I'm an immigrant?
If you're a resident or citizen in New Zealand now, nothing will change. You will still get Super if you live in NZ for 10 years (five of those years after 50).
If you arrive after the law is changed (possibly next year), you will have to live in NZ for 20 years to get Super, five of them over the age of 50.

Will I still get my SuperGold card at 65?
Not once the retirement age is lifted. The age for a SuperGold will go up to 67 too.

Will the payments change?
No. they will remain at 66 per cent of the average wage (currently $335.50 a week per person for a married couple or $443.50 a week for a single person living alone)

What if I'm rich? Will Super be means-tested?
There are no plans for asset testing or income testing.