“Removing the anomaly in the spousal provision is doable, cheap and urgent.” We cannot think of one reason why we persist with this iniquitous policy. (Susan St John)

The overseas state pension issue, continues to attract comment from many. There is little doubt that the approach adopted by the Government to the spousal provisions of the Section 70 issues, is unfair. Both on Human Rights grounds, equity issues and fiscal  approach, the issue needs to be addressed.

Kaspanz has written to the Prime Minister on that specific  issue, the letter acknowledged and  the comments made noted, and passed to the Minister of Finance for reply, none  yet received.

Letter printed below

Dear Sir

ETIREMENT INCOME POLICY AND APPROACH

 Kaspanz www.kaspanz.com is a Consumer organisation, with a 4 year history and is an incorporated society. Our focus is retirement income issues, and to add the voice of consumers to the discussion by a variety of commentators on retirement income issues and to support evidence based research on key topics. We operate a website; posting articles on a regular basis and hold meetings and issue member newsletters, attend forums etc.

 SECTION 70

I write principally to ask for your support on addressing the Section 70 issue” relating to partners “involved with this process of overseas pension abatement (Direct deduction Policy (DPP). Here a married retiree may lose all or part of their New Zealand Superannuation because of their spouse’s overseas pension. This lacks fairness and balance. A person’s pension should be theirs in their own right. Research and evaluation by a number of parties’ e.g.NZ Super policy and overseas state pensions M.Claire Dale and Susan St John(2016) commissioned by the Retirement Commissioner , support this contention

We understand the complexities of this issue, including the emotional approaches of a number of parties with views on this topic, but hold to the view that this “specific element” is easily addressed, from a political point of view and would put you and your party in a good light, in addressing an obvious flaw.

NEW ZEALAND SUPERANNUATION AND KIWI SAVER

I refer to your March 6th announcement on NZ Superannuation. Kaspanz is supportive of the twin models of New Zealand Superannuation and Kiwi Saver, both which bask in the approval of most commentator’s as leading the world in pension policy. Comparative analysis shows costs for these schemes are very advantageous to New Zealanders; we appear to have got the model right in this country, costs are reasonable and administratively simple. Our members want consistency on retirement income issues and ample lead in times for any pending changes, so not only can thinking be adjusted, but saving patterns and planning can evolve in a timely manner.

Your announcement of a 20 year lead in period for age of entitlement along with the rationale is understood, also the change in Residency requirements which will appeal to many New Zealanders, but we do suggest that your approach could be reinforced by a Task force review, similar to the 2010 Tax working party, focusing on a range of details and possible adjustments

This would allow submissions, produce a body of evidence and recommendations and would help provide a platform to assist new policy development by Government. In our view it is not too late to reinforce your recent announcements by adopting such an approach

Yours sincerely

Alec Waugh Chairman. Kaspanz. www.kaspanz.com

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