A New Zealand First bill that would have reduced the entitlement of older immigrants to a New Zealand pension and would have let superannuitants to receive overseas pensions without penalty was voted down in Parliament tonight after a fiery debate.
National attacked New Zealand First as "disgusting," "bigoted" and "racist" for bringing the bill to the House.
The bill, in the name of Denis O'Rourke, proposed a pro rata entitlement based on the length of time a person had lived in New Zealand between the ages of 20 and 65 years.
The bill would have allowed a full pension only to those who had spent less than five years living outside New Zealand between 20 and 65.
The bill would also have allowed superannuitants to collect an overseas pension as well by abolishing section 70 of the Social Security Act, which reduces superannuation by the amount of any overseas pension.
To qualify currently for Government superannuation, a New Zealand resident must have lived in the country for at least 10 years after the age of 20 and at least five years after the age of 50. The age of entitlement is 65. It is universal and not-means-tested.
Hamilton East MP David Bennett said the principle behind the bill was that someone who was not born in New Zealand was not a true New Zealander and it was a "disgusting" bill proposed by a "bigoted party."
Mr O'Rourke said superannuation needed changing because it was "a time bomb."
Net migration would be a big feature in the future cost of superannuation.
In the past 15 years, there were 79,000 immigrants over 50 years of age.
They qualified for super after only 10 years residence, "the same as people who have lived in New Zealand all their lives."
New Zealand's was the most generous pension system anywhere in the world.
Mr O'Rourke said it was not discriminatory because the same pro rata rules would apply to anyone, whether or not they had been born in New Zealand, immigrants or returning expatriates.
Labour finance spokesman Grant Robertson said Mr Bennett was the disgrace, not New Zealand First.
While Labour might not agree with every part of the bill, Mr O'Rourke had brought a bill to Parliament to discuss the affordability of superannuation.
National had buried its heads in the sand over the issue of affordability and had been "recklessly irresponsible" in its failure to discuss the issue with the New Zealand public.
The bill, the New Superannuation and Retirement Income (Pro Rata Entitlement) Amendment Bill 2015 was lost by 60 votes to 61.
The parties that supported the first reading were Labour, Greens, New Zealand First and the Maori Party. National, Act and United Future opposed it.