New Zealand could be a step closer to increasing the minimum residency required to get New Zealand Superannuation after a bill proposing an increase from 10 to 20 years was drawn from the parliamentary ballot.

New Zealand and Australia currently have the lowest residency requirements in the OECD at 10 years for eligibility to the state pension while the average across the OECD is 26 years.

But a bill put forward by New Zealand First MP Mark Patterson could change that, if it gains support from other political parties.

Patterson's bill proposes raising the minimum residency from 10 to 20 years after the age of 20 - meaning a childhood spend in New Zealand would not count towards the qualification.


Under the current law people have to be resident for 10 years with five of those being after the age of 50 to be eligible.

The previous National-led government had proposed increasing the minimum residency requirement to 20 years before it was voted out of power.

A 2016 review of policy by Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell recommended it increase to 25 years.

In her report Maxwell said the change would bring New Zealand's policy more into line with other countries and mean New Zealand would not have a comparatively low criteria to qualify for a full government pension.

"The length of residence needs to be appropriate in the context of increasing international mobility and reform of overseas pensions," she said at the time.

Maxwell recommended the change be introduced immediately for new migrants while the 10 year residency criteria would apply for those currently living in New Zealand meaning it would take some time to transition.

Paterson said raising the residency to '20 after 20' would ensure a person had lived and worked in New Zealand for a substantial part of their adult lives.

He also pointed to research from BERL which estimated changing the residency requirement to 20 years would generate savings over 10 years of $4.4 billion.


"This proposal contributes to the sustainability of NZ Super and gives a fair go to hard-working Kiwis," Paterson said.