Retirement commissioner at odds with Key

Diana Crossan warns the prime minister's refusal to raise the eligibility age for national super will mean he has to cut other spending to pay for it.

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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