Retirement commissioner at odds with Key

Diana Crossan

The retirement commissioner is warning that the prime minister’s refusal to raise the eligibility age for national superannuation will mean he has to cut other spending to pay for it.

Speaking  on TV3’s The Nation programme at he weekend, Diana Crossan said John Key could close some prisons, or do other things to find the money.

“We need to find a way of finding 3% of GDP,” she said.

“It's not just about the baby boomers. New Zealand's population is ageing anyway, and we're going to have a totally different structure in the future, and we don’t want young New Zealanders to have to pay twice.”

She had spoken not just to Mr Key but other ministers about this. But the prime minister refused to budge from his commitment to resign rather than move the legibility age.

“It would be very nice if he was able to find a way of saying, 'you know, I made a statement in 2008 and things have moved on and I've seen the figures and I agree with the retirement commissioner'.

“But he's made that statement so I think that one of the things for me that’s quite important is that we are having this discussion.

“I don’t think there's probably anyone in the country who's between 30 and 40 who hasn’t heard that it might go up in the future.

“I don’t want it to happen in a hurry.  I want New Zealanders to be aware of it, to plan for it, and I know that when a 30 year old gets to 67 they’ll wonder what all the fuss was about, because it'll feel like we do at 65.”

But though Labour is proposing to raise the retirement age she doesn’t support all the Opposition party’s retirement policies, either. Labour is proposing compulsory Kiwisaver.

“I tend to be against compulsion,” she said.

“I’ve had a look at all the systems around the world, and I think New Zealand has one of the best.

“Compulsion suits the finance sector and lawyers.

“If you look across the nation there's a whole lot of bureaucracy and the finance sector of course supports that kind of change because they get a whole lot more work.

“So I'm just slightly concerned about that we rush into it for sort of rather superficial reasons, and we should be looking at it in much more depth.”

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14 Comments & Questions

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Key needs to show that he has NZ as a whole at heart,rather than his own shore-term objectives.
His mis-steps are mounting up.



Yes indeed. His catastrophic inability to see sense on the superan question is going to cost the nation dearly, particularly once the asset sell off program sinks without a trace in the face of market turbulence/Maori opposition/over-valuation of the assets. Once S+P and the other rating agencies realise there will be nothing banked from the failed privatisation watch the sovreign downgrades come flying - and then we will all pay for Key's myopia. Key has been a dismal failure in taking an axe to WFF, interest free student loans and superan.


She has made a balanced comment which is a refreshing change from the usual emoting on this subject.

Where I would disagree is that the basic problem is a permanent demographic shift that she correctly identifies as quite separate from the post WW2 baby boom. I think the solution is three-fold:

a) Improve the demographics by allowing more ambitious, skilled young people to immigrate.
b) Improve the cashflow by better educating the low-skilled rump which unfortunately is most fecund part of the population.
c) Target superannuation well so that the tax system recycles much of it from those who don't need it. This should be effective against all ages rather than just myopically focusing on 65-66 year-olds.


I don't see why I should have to retire later than 65. I have worked a lot of overtime and paid a lot of tax over the years and I want security for that when the time comes. The solution is to stop handing out New Zealander's assets, Welfare cash and State house's to Maori's who do not contribute to this Countries future at all. This country needs to abolish the Treaty and work towards a brighter future for all its people, not just one race. Then maybe we could all retire with some dignity one day.


This is just another comment from someone who thinks they can do better. Easy for her to say. Why don't she step up and run for election? In reality whether John Key raised the retirement age is not going to be immediate and wouldn't free up more money. It will take probably 10 years to take effect. By then John Key will be gone. Time for her to retire early


I just continue to be flabergasted at the non event JK has become. He rammed the smacking legislation down our throats. Unwanted and not needed with a policeman at the door over absolute trivia.

His latest forays over maori and gay marriage are just sickening.

The real issues of superannuation, WFF, Student loans and alcohol laws remain untouched. I never thought I would say it after being his greatest fan but he has to go. There is absolutely no leadership just clever politics for his gain,not NZs gain.


Her words are only relevent in the quote "will mean he has to cut other spending to pay for it."
Plenty of dosh being misspent on the maori gravy train and Govt agencies no use to man or beast. swathes of public servants producing nothing.


Which companies are lining up to employee 67 or 68 year olds?
Current generation needs to learn to save and work


65 is quite old enough to still be working - particularly in trades, labourers and other physical work. I like Key's approach. be positive - lift GDP and the 'problem' disappears. First step: forget all the opposition from the Greens and others to every earning opportunity we have.


Nothing wrong with working when your 65 + most that choose to stop working die early anyway .
This women makes some weird comments at times .


The timing issue is simple. We don't need to raise the eligibility age for spuperann now, nor do we need to cut other spending. Yes we may need to do those things in the future, and it is a good thing we are talking about it because people will think more about saving etc.

John Key is not PM for life and is hapy to let someone else make that call, if and when needed; wise move


Good call.


"Wise"? I would say short-sighted


Public servants (including the Retirement Commissioner) need to be wary of straying from advisory and informing, into the policy setting arena. The PM and Ministers have stated a clear policy position with economic reasoning to support it. If the RC can't support that she should go (as she is), but quietly.


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