Monthly Archives: October 2013

Latest news from the Commission


Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income
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Have your say: 2013 Review of Retirement Income Policies You will have heard that we released the 2013 Review of Retirement Income Policies discussion document earlier this month. The Review draws on a mix of background papers, submissions, analysis and other research and features 16 recommendations. If you’d like to make a comment on the discussion document, you can do so by 4 November. We will submit the final recommendations to Government before the end of the year. Read the report > Have your say >


Our Chair’s Letter Sunday Star Times

On Colin Espiner’s Blog (see below Alec’s Letter)

Published 20th October

Colin Espiner “Our pension penchant” continues a regular theme of headline articles on retirement income, with superficial comment, and doom and gloom ingredients.  Espiner needs to come to grips with the fact the universality of NZ Super and the model utilized is recognized by informed commentators as a world leader, and its simplicity to be treasured and nurtured. The Kiss principle applies, otherwise NZ gets into the maze of difficulties that Australia and the United Kingdom and others have and continue to experience.  Espiner’s article is a simple litany of exaggerations, containing  one liners and left hooks, targeting baby boomers and using emotive words including  financial freight train, gold plated, unfair, not affordable etc.  What’s needed in the context of reviewing this superficial article, is not a defence of the status quo, with both sides slinging mud at each other, but a calm and reflective look at policy levers that could be applied to a range of formula and models applying to retirement income, evidence based research on the various assumptions, trends both financial and social over reasonable time frames, cross party consensus on issues like this, so impulsive  decision making and Government tampering does not occur, and long lead in time frames so the New Zealand population as a whole can adjust to new directions and  also build that knowledge into their own financial planning. The Financial Literacy and Retirement Commission planning document is no timid report, instead it’s a thoughtful and succinct overview of the many issues and policy levers that could be applied to retirement income, containing recommendations to assist future discussion and decision making. Unfortunately the Espiner article contributes little to this conversation!

Alec Waugh

OPINION: Nothing is certain in life, as old Ben Franklin once said, except death and taxes.

The founding father of the United States saw plenty of both in his time, and while he lived to the ripe old age of 84 most of his countrymen weren’t so lucky. Continue reading

Government keeps conservative default KiwiSaver funds, to re-tender for providers

Government keeps conservative mandate for default KiwiSaver funds, to re-tender for providers

The government has settled on keeping the existing investment mandate for default KiwiSaver providers to manage funds conservatively, fending off attempts to implement a tiered approach based on members’ age


Two main points 

New Zealand Superannuation (NZS) is one of the simplest, most effective, and most cost effective Tier 1 schemes in the developed world. We mess with it at our peril. We have never had a research-led discussion on any aspect of the design of NZS and, once we get through the 2014 election, that discussion should start. But there is no panic about this. We have time to do the job properly and, by the way, show the rest of the world how to do it properly.


Link to Littlewood’s full paper

Proceedings of the RPRC Forum: Does the UK’s reform of pensions have lessons for New Zealand?

The presentations from the RPRC’s 23 September forum Does the UK’s reform of pensions have lessons for New Zealand? are now available online in the Forum Proceedings.

The Retirement Commissioner’s discussion document, Focusing on the Future, was released on 9 October and the Financial Services Council’s report How to SuperSize Retirement Income was released on 14 October.

The good news is that ageing and retirement policies are now on the political agenda. The RPRC will provide critical analysis of the two reports in the coming months.

Susan St John and Michael Littlewood,