Prime Minister Bill English is seeking changes to New Zealand's superannuation scheme at this year's general election, with plans to raise the age of eligibility from 65 to 67.

If approved, the changes would be phased in from July 2037 with the age increasing by six months twice a year until July 2040.

According to the Government, an estimated 120,000 fewer people would be eligible for NZ Super in 2040 than under current settings.

The Bay of Plenty Times spoke to four Bay locals to hear their thoughts on the changes.


The migrant: Steph Jean

Steph Jean, a 33-year-old American, has been in the Bay since 2004. She supported changes to NZ Super for migrants.

"Ten years never seemed fair to the New Zealand taxpayer. I wouldn't expect to come to New Zealand and only contribute through work for 10 years and be set for life on superannuation after that.

"The same for New Zealand-born Kiwis who come back into the country to retire after living overseas for 30-plus years."

She said New Zealand taxpayers could not sustain superannuation as it stood.

However, she did not think it was fair that those behind the plan, who were baby boomers, did not have to carry the burden with everyone else.

She thought the increase should take place over the next five years.

The port worker: Steve Trewin

Mr Trewin agreed with the change.

"It's a fact that life expectancy is increasing and our ageing population is exponentially growing," he told the Bay of Plenty Times.


But he did find the proposed change a little bitter to digest turning 40 in a few days.

He missed out on free tertiary education, his student loan was hard to pay off, and the cost of living kept rising. Wages had stayed stagnant since the 1990s, he said.

"Being realistic, saving $60,000 to $100,000 for a 20 per cent deposit on a house requires much more than giving up Sky TV and the occasional coffee at a cafe which I get neither of."

Mr Trewin said the baby boomer generation had paid taxes but also represented a significant portion of the voting population at the next elections.

"They overlooked the reality that 'everyone' will pay tax all their life, as well as paying off a student loan and pour money into rising rent and housing costs."

The financial advisor: Craig Coupland

Mr Coupland, 42, said he had expected the move.

NZ superannuation had been used as a political football over the years. He questioned whether there would even enough to fund superannuation by the time retirement hit.

He had never been solely reliant on the scheme, the WealthHealth owner said.

He and his family had the same frame of mind - they would need to provide for their own retirement to a large extent.

"Prepare for the worst."

The current level of super was not enough to pay your basic household bills, he said.

The gardener: Josh Cole

Mr Cole would be 57 when the policy came into effect if National were re-elected later this year.

The self-employed Poike Gardner and lawn mower said he was opposed to raising the retirement age.

"By the time you are 65, you need to take life more easily. The measure of a good country is how it looks after its people and raising the retirement age is not doing so.

Mr Cole thought the current scheme was still affordable.

Will you be affected?
If you were born on or before June 30, 1972
You will be eligible for superannuation from your 65th birthday.

If you were born between July 1, 1972 and December 31, 1972
You will be eligible for NZ Super at 65 years and six months old

If you were born between January 1, 1973 and June 30, 1973
You will be eligible for NZ Super at 66 years old

If you were born between July 1, 1973 and December 31, 1973
You will be eligible for NZ Super at 66 years and six months old

If you were born on or after January 1, 1974
You will be eligible for NZ Super at 67 years old

New migrants will need to live in New Zealand for 20 years to qualify for NZ Super - twice as long as current conditions. This includes five years after they turn 50.