On the day when Catholics throughout New Zealand were praying for refugees and migrants Winston Peters suggested that New Zealand’s superannuation fund could be conserved by making elderly migrants ineligible.
He told the the New Zealand First Conference in Palmerston North on the weekend that migrants were taking advantage of the universal pension scheme.
Singling out “a young couple from China” who could bring in four elderly parents, he said migrants could arrive in New Zealand at 55, not work for a decade, and receive full super and healthcare at 65.
He estimated there were 22,000 elderly migrants from countries with no reciprocal pension agreement with New Zealand.
The Prime Minister, John Key responded to Peters on Monday. He said migrants paid more in tax than they consumed in superannuation. Key said there were 14,000 migrants, who came to New Zealand after the age of 56, receiving superannuation. If these 3444 are Chinese.
If all all 14,00 were single and living alone, which is the highest super payout available, they will get $698 in the hand a fortnight. At the most they’d be costing $254 million net a year.
Peters disputed the Prime Minsters figures, but was unwilling to explain how he had obtained his own statistics.
Peters’ announcement has been described by some commentators and a “Double Bandwagon” and a “Perfect Marriage”, combining in one policy the issues of migrants and of superannuation.
The day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants takes place on the Sunday closest to World Refugee Day which is on 20 June.
A number of activities have been planned to mark World Refugees Day in New Zealand.
An alternative solution to the superannuation problem has been suggested in the Financial Services Council’s major new report on the pension system. It proposes the equivalent of the biblical system of tithing, where 10% of income is set aside for the church.
News category: New Zealand.