Kirsty Wynn is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

PM Bill English hints at changes to superannuation

Prime Minister Bill English. Photo / Greg Bowker
Prime Minister Bill English. Photo / Greg Bowker

Prime Minister Bill English has stated there may be changes to Superannuation but said voters will know of his intentions before election time.

In an interview with Lisa Owen on Three's The Nation, English said there might be a "reset" around the existing policy.

Former Prime Minister John Key was protective of the current policy and famously said he would resign if eligibility was tightened.

The current policy means every New Zealander, over the age of 65, can receive a weekly
Superannuation benefit, regardless of wealth or income.

In the interview with Owen, English said on several occasions he hadn't made the "same undertaking" as the former Prime Minister.

"I haven't made the same undertaking as John, so we have the opportunity for a bit of a reset there," he said.

When pressed by Owen into the true meaning of "a bit of a reset" English said:

"Well, we are just working through the long term affordability."

English acknowledged any changes in policy would be of interest to voters but said they would have to "wait and see".

"We would not anticipate any drastic change....we've benefited from the stability over the last seven or eight years."

English said if any changes were to be made voters would have plenty of notice.

"People deserve to know what the government's view is when they go to the polls... you'd expect people to know what the government's position is."

Labour leader Andrew Little said English needed to "come clean" about his intentions around Superannuation and whether he is considering raising the entitlement age of 65.

"His comments on Newshub's The Nation today that it was time for a 'reset' on superannuation will send alarm bells ringing in the households of many hard working Kiwis.

"This is just more dithering from Bill English. What are you planning Bill? Raising the age, reducing payments?

Little said the National Government had "not put a cent into the New Zealand Superannuation Fund" which was catching up on them.

"The fund now has a $20b gap because of National's decision to stop contributions," Little said.

"At least John Key was unequivocal on this. Bill English has made it clear today he's not bound by that promise."

Little said Labour's policy on superannuation was clear.

"A Labour Government I lead will not raise the entitlement age for Superannuation and we will re-start contributions to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund."

- NZ Herald

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