Recent communications to Listener Magazine and Sunday Herald

In response to Bernard Hickeys column, this letter was sent to the Sunday Herald. Columnist Bernard Hickey utilises all the myths and stereotypes including invalid assumptions to continue his crusade on NZ Superannuation (Sunday Herald 31 May 2015). 2060 predictions are worthless, the simplicity and universal fairness of the scheme ignored, and Bernard has the audacity to raise the expensive and divisive means testing, only aiding the wealthy hiding behind trusts to camouflage real income. NZ Super is affordable(5.5% of GDP 2030), a world class model, praised by most researchers, beneficial for women and those disadvantaged and also taxable. No alternative model goes close!

The Herald published the following- Superb Super New Zealand super is affordable. Its net cost predicted to be 5.5% of GDP by 2030(It’s a super time to be old My 31) It is a world class model, praised by most researchers, beneficial for women and those disadvantaged and also taxable. No alternative model goes close.

The June 13, edition of Listener magazine contains a feature: “The Super Model “by Guyon Espiner Pages 16-21. Interesting article with a focus on the Retirement Commissioner Diana Maxwell. I have submitted the following to the Listener Editor, and await to see if it is published

Guyon Espiner “THE SUPER MODEL” fell into the trap of emphasising a looming Super crisis and a fiscal monster, instead of recognizing that the model adopted in NZ leads the world, its simplicity, universality and relatively low cost a classic example of how to structure retirement income. Len Bayless a well-known economist in the 1990’s went on record about the crisis rhetoric adopted by NZ media commentators when addressing this topic and the tone of Guyon’s article camouflaged the refreshing approach adopted by the Retirement Commissioner. Predictive modelling of costs decades out, are worthless due to the many variables involved, and at 4.1% of GDP and 5.5% in 2031 New Zealand has one of the lowest costs in all the OECD countries. No mention of the New Zealand Super fund in the article, the fact receipt ants pay tax on their super entitlements, little recognition of the tidal wave trend of New Zealand seniors remaining in the workforce, contributing to productivity and growth, and silence on the significant adaptability that occurs in every society over time, and which will change many of the assumptions commentators fixate on. The only caution readers should have on New Zealand Superannuation is meddling by silly politicians, failing to recognize New Zealand Superannuation and Kiwi Saver are great models, no alternative goes close. As David Harris, retirement income Guru and managing director of TOR Financial Consulting said in 2014, “New Zealand is the smart country in the manner it has set up the retirement income framework”. Mess with it at our peril.

Posted by Alec Waugh

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