Politics for politics sake

This week I had the privilege of representing UnitedFuture at the Financial Services Council (FSC) election debate on savings and retirement. We covered a range of issues, but I spoke at length about our FlexiSuper policy.

FlexiSuper allows people to take a reduced rate of New Zealand superannuation from the age of 60, or an enhanced rate if they deferred uptake until 70.

Apart from being cost-neutral,  I’m a huge fan because of it creates fairness and choice. While only 30, I’m not planning to retire until I’m at least 70 (like my grandfather did), so this policy is perfect for me (and others thinking the same).

But more importantly, it recognises that for some people 60 is the age to leave the paid workforce, but they’re currently unable to do so for financial reasons. It’s especially hard on those who’ve worked in manual labour or suffered due to low income and poor health.

In short – it provides fairness and choice for everyone.

After I spoke, each party representative that stood up made a point of why FlexiSuper didn’t work. I don’t mind a disagreement on policy. What I found bizarre, was they then talked about why we should allow people to shift the age they got superannuation to make it fairer. They had no actual plan, no costings, no policy.

Basically, they disagreed with UnitedFuture because they felt they should. Only David Parker (Labour) had a reason (other than “no”) and its hardly a show stopper (its a risk that taking it early is too attractive).  Other countries have a similar system (including USA, France, Japan, Germany, Sweden and the UK) and it works for them.

Instead of actually doing something to help out those that need it and giving choice to all New Zealanders, the other parties seem to have decided that talking about what they wish they could do is better.

It feels like politics for the sake of politics.

While other parties are talking about what they might do, we’re actually doing something about it. Our FlexiSuper discussion paper has been released and feedback collected.

Vote for a party that gets things done, vote UnitedFuture.

2 thoughts on “Politics for politics sake

  • Colin Vickery

    Hello. Fully supportive of the concept which I think is a great idea, especially for people who have done manual labour and what I call “real” jobs for their working life. My question is what happens if someone’s circumstances change or after retiring at 60 or there abouts then they choose to retun to the work force? I my elect to retire at 62 then return to work because I have worked out 62 was too early, how does that effect me when I retire again at 70?

    Fully supportive of the concept and fully behind you Damian and United Future!

    • Damian Light

      Thanks Colin, the way FlexiSuper is currently designed is that taking it earlier (or later) is a lifetime commitment. Obviously it’s essential make the right choice for them so we’ll put solid education and advisory around it. It’s not a spur of the moment decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

      You question about returning to work is an interesting one – the current design means that you could return to work and still receive super (it’s not means tested and there is no plan to make it). Would this entitle you to a higher rate later on? We haven’t designed it to, mostly to keep it simple. That said, no decisions have been made on the details so we could look at something along these lines.


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