The Government is warming towards Peter Dunne's flexible
super plan in which 60-year-olds could draw a pension,
despite John Key's commitment not to alter the retirement
Mr Dunne's plan would allow people to choose to take a
reduced rate of NZ Super from the age of 60 up to 65, or an
increased rate if they deferred taking up superannuation
until after 65 up until the age of 70.
Yesterday, he released a Treasury discussion document on the
proposal which the Government is committed to considering as
part of its post-election deal with him in 2011.
Despite that deal, he acknowledged National had initially
been cool on the idea but said the Government was now more
"Over the last few months, they've moved from a position of
what might be described as diffidence to being one of
slightly more interested."
Yesterday, Prime Minister Key said the idea was "not without
merit" and it was possible his Government would support it,
possibly even introducing it in next year's Budget.
The issue of the retirement age or age of eligibility for NZ
Super has been a political football in recent years, with Mr
Key pledging not to alter it from 65 but Labour saying it
would raise it to 67 to help with the long-term affordability
of the scheme.
Mr Dunne said his proposal was a "win-win" for both major
"It does get both off their respective high horses."
However, Mr Key said it was important to understand the
policy was fiscally neutral and would have little effect on
the overall cost of super.
Mr Dunne said Maori, Pasifika and other demographic groups
with shorter life spans would benefit most from his policy.
The discussion document notes risks that the policy could
cost the Government more than current settings because of a
potential increase in the total number of people receiving NZ
Super and the need for additional assistance for those who
take it early but find it insufficient to live on.
The public has until October 11 to respond to the discussion
paper and the Government will decide after that what action
Peter Dunne's flexible superannuation proposal:
Would allow people to receive NZ Super from the ages of 60 to
64 at a lesser rate or from 66 to 70 at a higher rate
compared to the rate for those who receive it from the age of
For example, a single person eligible for NZ Super from the
age of 65 currently receives $357.42 per week.
Under the proposal the amount they received would be:
$279.06 per week if they first took payments at age 61
$523.30 if they waited until the age of 69
For a couple currently receiving $549.88 between them:
$403.56 a week if they first took payments at age 60
$885.59 if they both held off until age 70
The rates would be unchanged during the life of the recipient
The change would not affect the rate of payment to those
already receiving NZ Super
- Adam Bennett of the New Zealand Herald