A proposed increase to the retirement age for New Zealand Super has divided Rotorua locals.

Today Prime Minister Bill English has announced the National Party will increase the retirement age to 67 by 2040.

Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell told Parliament this week that the age of eligibility for the pension needs to increase, calling for a rise to age 67 to be phased in by 2034.

She also proposed that immigrants earn their NZ Super over 25 years, not the current 10.

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Maori Party co-leader and MP for Waiariki Te Ururoa Flavell said his party did not want the age increased.

"The Maori Party always advocated for a lowering of the age to 60, because Maori have a lower life expectancy than non-Maori," he said.

"For Maori males it is 73, while for non-Maori males it is 80. For Maori females the life expectancy is 77, while for non-Maori females it is 83.9.

"The Maori Party wants a review of the superannuation scheme to meet the pressures the country is facing."

Labour Party Rotorua candidate Ben Sandford said his party had vowed to keep the age at 65.

"People deserve that certainty," he said.

ROTORUA DAILY POST
9 Mar, 2017 7:00am
3 minutes to read

"Labour paid into a Cullen fund to ensure we'd be able to follow through on paying people's super.

"This is a short-sighted view."

Tamati Coffey, Labour candidate for Waiariki, said Mr English was "cherry-picking facts".

"Labour floated raising the age of retirement as a policy in the last election and it was heavily opposed," he said.

"While National shifts the goalposts once more, Labour remains unchanged from last year's announcement that we will restart contributions to the Cullen Fund and keep super at 65."

The focus for New Zealand First MP Fletcher Tabuteau was on increasing the time it takes immigrants to earn a New Zealand Super.

"What contribution have they actually made?" he said.

"The reality is we've been letting in too many elderly immigrants.

"This [super] is recognition of people working hard all their lives, we don't need to change the age."

Rotorua MP Todd McClay could not be reached for comment.

The Rotorua Daily Post spoke to three retired women, who didn't want to be named, who now work as volunteers. They said ageing didn't mean having to slow down.

"I think it has to increase," one woman said. "Even if it's only by one or two years."

Their main concern was people who do manual work.

"By the time they're 50 they can't keep up with the young guys," another said.