Submission to Ageing Population strategy




My name is Alec Waugh; I am the chairperson for the consumer organization known as Kaspanz, an incorporated Society with its principal focus retirement income. and evidence based research on material associated with this topic.

Over our 5 year plus existence we have gathered a wealth of information and knowledge, and this submission is based on that evidence related material.

Our submission is principally to highlight a number of key issues, direct attention onto some possibly invalid perceptions and to urge presumptions and assumptions are as validated as much as possible.

“The next generation of older people will live longer, be healthier, more skilled and more educated. They are much more likely to remain in the workforce – and too want to”.

Super Senior Newsletter, June 18

The above statement is highly optimistic; debate circulates re the accuracy of a healthier, skilled/educated, want to work mindset. We urge comparative analysis with other OECD countries.

Germany is an interesting policy study, e.g. John Beard Director Department of Aging and Life Course, World Health organization “the growth of the old age dependency ratio in Germany has far outstripped that in America, but GDP per person has nevertheless grown even faster” and a literature search/research of current thinking on key issues.


The twin retirement income models are world -leaders, and New Zealand should be acknowledging this fact.12345

Most OECD countries admire our schemes, their simplicity and their universality, with New Zealand Superannuation being different to most others, being taxed at source, but with overall costs significantly lower than most OECD countries. New Zealand is seen as the smart country in relationship to its Retirement income models, this requires endorsement and reinforcement. No major change is required; when adjustments are required they should be incorporated within the existing model, with no significant change required or needed.  Kaspanz suggests be very wary of single issue commentators and those attempting to forecast the future, there assumptions are frequently invalid.[1][2][3][4][5]


The trend is for seniors to work longer in the work place. This leads to senior year’s people contributing to the economy and societal well-being, including paying taxes, all positive engagement. However contrary to the headlines, research does suggest this work force engagement is because of necessity, due to marriage failures, poor investment decisions, caught up in the semi-regular pattern of world economic problems,  and the simple reality of requiring  paid work to maintain reasonable  living standards.

Research indicates most of the population do not have the choice of work, let alone the opportunity, they have to find work to sustain a living income, with hurdles every step of the way. Choice is only available for the privileged (educated)

Those that are educated have significantly more choice in the matter, but most people are working because they have too and not because they want to. Rampant bias against seniors in the workforce exists, compounding the problem for those seeking work.

To label seniors workforce participation with the heading (2/3 of those over 65 years want to keep working because of the value and satisfaction) is inaccurate, inadequate and probably misleading.


“The cost of caring for the sick and elderly will continue to grow, as long as the focus is on adding years to life, instead of adding life and dignity to years’”

Overseas research suggests the issue of living longer (possibly 1.1 -2.75 years longer every 10 years, dependent upon  which research source is used) has camouflaged the real issue that senior years quality of life is significantly impacted and impaired by illness and disease. The issue of improving health is questionable with a lot of research suggesting significant and often chronic ill health, diabetes, stroke, bowel, cancer etc., is not decreasing but increasing. Invalid perceptions in this area abound. E.g. The Office for National statistics United Kingdom  noted life expectancy is decreasing in the UK, with older people dying at a rate higher than previous trends, and rising  life expectancy stalling An Oxford professor (Danny Dorling} who analyzed the data , said the figures were alarming, suggesting frail people were increasing, Alzheimer’s and austerity measures possibly contributing? Dorling also said people were somewhat blasé about the situation, “5 years ago such data would have got a lot more attention”.

The NZ Listener Feb 2018 reported “We may be living longer, but those extra years are increasingly likely to be marred by ill health. A study published in Age and Ageing, the journal of the British Geriatrics Society, reports that the number of older people diagnosed with 4 or more diseases will double between 2015 and 2035. A third will be diagnosed with dementia, depression or a cognitive impairment and many also will have severe arthritis

Associated with this issue, is the research stating, that the dominant cost to the NZ Health system, is the amount of money spent at every life stage, in the last 6 months of life, and the focus on dealing with Chronic conditions at all costs, rather than quality of life issues. Whether this is the 3 month old child, or the 90 year old, this is the dominant cost, raising questions about use of resource, options available.

Professor McDonald Massey University, recent critique of the NZ Health system would be an excellent starting pint:

The issue of Private health insurance coverage and Public health services interface needs considerable discussion, noting New Zealand has a low level of private insurance cover compared to other countries, and this balance requires investigation and public discussion.

Health costs are exploding, with obesity and alcohol/smoking issues contributing to rising health costs, and in Australia individual one off treatment cost applications for a specific ailment, at huge cost appearing regularly. Technology improvements e.g. latest knee prosthesis, micro-invasive surgical techniques or drug-eliciting stent are enormously expensive.  Excessive fees charged by some doctors are always an issue and profit gouging by pharmaceutical companies is ever present. How these issues are monitored and addressed is a key. What is good value for money? Who is tasked with regulating standards and ensuring both the cowboys and those that impinge civil and criminal codes are brought to heel?

The public /private balance to Health is the corner stone of the systems both in Australia and NZ, with good public health policy requiring both funding and monitoring of what services will be provided. As always many will end up in public hospitals, but others will go to private hospital and use their insurance. The public/private balance is the strength of both New Zealand and Australian health systems. Nearly 70% of elective surgery in Australia is private. The public system would collapse overnight without the support the private system affords universal health care. In NZ the percentage of those with private insurance is less than Australia (30% NZ, 60% Australia), but the issues are remarkably similar. It’s time to start educating New Zealanders on the importance of this topic, most know Health care is important but few have an appreciation or knowledge about the public/private partnership.


New Zealand does not yet have a deep and established market of annuities and similar product insurance/annuities to help people manage their retirement income, or convert their retirement savings (Kiwi Saver) into a steady stream of income fortnightly or monthly. The arrival of the product” Life time retirement Income product” on the local scene has been a tremendous development in this area; more competition will assist visibility and retirement. A progressive Government should give careful thought to what role it could play in this area


It is many years since a working group like the current Tax review chaired by Michael Cullen, has looked at aging population strategy. The 1991-92 Task Force on Private Provision for Retirement (1991) was probably the closest and that’s over 25 years ago. A  Task force Commission or similar would provide a benchmark of evidence based knowledge, useful for future Public Policy decisions.

[1] David Harris (Managing Director TOR Financial Consultant NZ is the smart country for its approach too pension policy “.


[2] The NZ scheme is one of the cheapest schemes in the OECD group of countries, “The projected NZS expenditure appears modest, especially if net rather than gross spending is counted, and when compared to current pension spending in other countries. Susan St John and Clare Dale  2016


[3]   NZ has one of the lowest rates of poverty in the world for those aged over 65, thanks to NZ Superannuation, Jo Doolan


[4] Martin Hawes. Author and Financial commentator  says “it must be protected and treasured


[5] Martin Littlewood the Guru of NZ retirement income research repeatedly states “Tinker with it at your peril”.[5]


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