Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Prime Minister Bill English's comments on pensions 'alarming' - NZ First leader Winston Peters

Prime Minister Bill English is being urged to give voters some certainty about whether he plans to change superannuation eligibility.

Other political parties say English is wrong to be considering changes, or that he needs to be more up-front about what those changes could be.

Speaking to Three's The Nation yesterday, English said he had not made the same undertaking as his predecessor John Key not to tighten Super eligibility, "so we have the opportunity for a bit of a reset there".

He would not go into more detail, except to say the Government was "working through the long term affordability" and that voters would know about the his intentions ahead of the general election on September 23.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said English was the latest to make "alarming noises" about the affordability of the New Zealand Super.

English was proposing changes to Super "without one economic fact at all to back it up", he said.

With a net GDP cost of 3.8 per cent, New Zealand Super was relatively affordable, he said. The OECD average is 7 per cent of GDP.

Peters said New Zealanders were being "railroaded" into thinking that Super was unaffordable.

Labour leader Andrew Little said English needed to "come clean" about whether he planned to raise the entitlement age of 65.

His talk about a "reset" would set off alarm bells for Kiwi households, he said.

In 2015, Little questioned the fairness of giving a pension to wealthy people or those who were still working, but later clarified that he had no plans to means-test superannuation.

He reiterated yesterday that a Labour Government would not raise the age of entitlement and would resume contributions to the fund, which were suspended by National.

Peters said Labour "could not be trusted" because it had previously campaigned on a higher Super age and had introduced a surtax when last in Government.

New Zealand First was now the only party which would protect the Super scheme, he said.

Act Party leader David Seymour said English was being evasive and that he should "tell voters the truth - the age of Superannuation is going up".

"The Prime Minister is numerate. He knows that, according to the Retirement Commissioner, the number of people aged 65 and over will double in the next 30 years, meaning changes to superannuation are inevitable."

Voters deserved certainty, Seymour said.

"Playing election games around superannuation only hurts people's ability to plan for retirement."

Act's policy is raise the age of eligibility gradually from 65 to 67, beginning in 2020.

- NZ Herald

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