Rt Hon Winston Peters Speech To North Shore Grey Power: Cut out the bull dust – NZ Super is affordable
New Zealand Super has an intrinsic role in New Zealand’s economy and a critical part of the social conditions of New Zealanders.
It’s there and “it will always be there” is the view of many Kiwis.
Younger Kiwis are more sceptical.
They listen to the din coming from lobbyists, big business interests and politicians like the National Party ventriloquist’s dummy in Epsom whose party can’t even get one per cent of the vote yet pretends to tell over 670,000 New Zealanders who are over 65 what is good for them.
Older Kiwis are not taken in by the propaganda so much.
They know how these people can twist facts and figures to fit what they want.
But older Kiwis have another characteristic.
As they get older they become easy going.
They end up taking things for granted.
They become complacent.
It’s part of that famous Kiwi “she’ll be right” attitude.
But ladies and gentlemen – that is one great mistake.
Your superannuation conditions have been attacked a number of times before and if you think it won’t happen again if you are not careful then you are dreaming.
Because one day you could soon find when it comes to NZ Super – she won’t be right.
It wasn’t in the late 80s under Rogernomics, it wasn’t under Ruth Richardson, it wasn’t under Jenny Shipley and it won’t be under those other parties who want to put up the age or means test it like the Greens.
Any change to NZ Super and you will pay the price, you who are retired, your children and your grandchildren.
Younger generations of New Zealanders face enormous difficulties just getting a job, and a roof over their heads.
They are being brainwashed over NZ Super.
This year as the general election approaches, voters need to start asking some serious questions.
They need to ask which party is working for their best interests with NZ Super.
Which party cuts through all the bull dust and gives the real facts on this matter?
Which party has the best track record in sticking up for NZ Super and ordinary Kiwis?
It’s NZ First.
History shows that.
National dumping compulsory superannuation
The National Party has never liked long term savings towards superannuation.
In 1976 National and Rob Muldoon sought to destroy Labour’s new compulsory Superannuation Scheme.
This scheme was similar to KiwiSaver, which Prime Minister English does not like, except it was compulsory requiring every worker aged between 17 and retirement age to have 4 percent of their gross wage deducted.
The deduction was matched by the employer and paid to the Superannuation Corporation.
The Superannuation Corporation banked the money on individual accounts and contributed money to individual accounts earned by investments.
When the worker retired a quarter of their fund would be paid back to him or her in a lump sum with the remainder gradually given as income.
It made sense but National didn’t like it.
Because it had two serious defects, the full benefits did not accrue till well into this decade.
Second, women without a job would not be getting Super.
Some of you might remember the dancing Cossacks television advertisement which Rob Muldoon used to attack compulsory superannuation.
It is still considered the most famous – or infamous – piece of election advertising in New Zealand's political history.
The advertisement implied the superannuation scheme would turn New Zealand into a Soviet-style Communist state.
It worked for National.
With his arms locked around those Cossacks, Rob Muldoon danced to a landslide win.
And within a few weeks of coming to power, National scraped compulsory superannuation replacing it with the taxation-funded National Superannuation.
Major economic mistake
Some say dumping the compulsory scheme was the greatest economic mistake of any New Zealand government during the 20th century – and that is saying something.
Had the compulsory scheme been retained it would be worth more than $240 billion today.
We would probably rank as one of the top five OECD economies.
Most New Zealanders would have faced a comfortable retirement.
Most of our major companies would still be Kiwi owned. We would still own our forests.
We would still own the BNZ and ASB and other major companies.
Our tentacles would have stretched into Australia – and not the other way around.
Instead of vacuuming billions of dollars out of New Zealand into Australia we’d be doing it to them.
Look at what happened to Cadbury’s factory in Dunedin last week.
The company was a city icon for over 100 years and was making a profit.
But the foreign owner announced last Thursday the factory would close and more than 300 jobs would disappear into Australia.
How many times has that happened in New Zealand in recent decades?
Labour’s weak record
Once their compulsory scheme was dumped Labour’s record thereafter on superannuation has been patchy and disappointing.
In 1984 they promised no change to superannuation.
But a year later that promise went out the window and they imposed a surtax that affected three-quarters of all superannuitants.
In 1990 the National Prime Minister Jim Bolger promised to remove Labour’s surtax.
We will abolish it, he said.
“No ifs, no buts, no maybes.”
But there were plenty of ifs, buts and maybes.
He didn’t just not scrap the surtax he increased it to 92 cents.
Finance Minister Ruth Richardson raised the age of entitlement from 60 to 65 after Labour announced they would put it up.
NZ First defending NZ Super
Defending NZ Super was one of the reasons we came to be a political party.
We attacked the pernicious surtax.
We defended the Super payout ratio.
And exposed those politicians who would sell older people down the drain.
We fought National Prime Minister Jenny Shipley’s bid to slash super 65% of the net average working wage down to 60%.
We introduced the compulsory super debate.
We repealed the surtax.
We legislated for NZ Super to be 66 per cent of the net average wage.
We worked hard for our elderly providing extra money for elective surgery; funding 32,000 operations and providing free influenza vaccines, and we introduced the SuperGold Card.
Cullen Fund – another National blunder
In 2001 the NZ Superannuation Fund, or Cullen Fund, was unveiled by Labour.
With the government investing over $2 billion a year and experts investing the money, the fund grew quickly.
The fund was due to start helping with paying for pensions in 2030.
But in 2009 then Finance Minister Bill English withdrew payments.
He said this was done to avoid a credit downgrade and that contributions would not resume until net Government debt fell below 20 per cent of gross domestic product.
This is not expected to happen until the 2020/21 fiscal year.
This English-Key blunder stands alongside that of the Muldoon government.
Muldoon had an excuse.
Key and English have none at all.
If National had kept contributing $2 billion a year to the Super Fund, then it would now be worth $50 billion instead of $33 billion.
This money would have helped future taxpayers meet the cost of superannuation.
The National government and Bill English have cost New Zealand billions of dollars.
This is a major embarrassment for Mr English.
It is embarrassing for him that under the leadership of Adrian Orr, and without extra capital from the National government, NZ Super became the world’s fastest growing sovereign wealth fund.
NZ Super has been credited as outperforming all of its counterparts according an analysis by JP Morgan published in the Financial Times.
The second-best performing fund was the Government of Singapore Investment Corp, or GIC.
NZ Super has been a great success without help from the National government.
That is why Mr English came out with sour comments this week over Mr Orr having a salary increase.
Mr English has failed this country over NZ Super; he does not like it just as he doesn’t like KiwiSaver.
New Zealand First believes NZ Super is affordable and can be made more affordable if New Zealand was not, as it is now, a fully funded rest home for other countries.
Only New Zealanders and those who have qualified by length of stay and other requirements should get the full pension.
In this country a migrant can come to New Zealand under the parent category at the age of 55, live here 10 years and contribute nothing to our economy and qualify for a full pension.
Well over 85,000 have done so in the last 15 years.
In 2010-2012 Chinese parents numbers coming to live here EXCEEDED the number of skilled migrants from China.
Each skilled migrant from China can in effect bring in a partner and four parents.
Statistics show also that 31 per cent of young Chinese migrants get their parents out to New Zealand, then dump them here and head off to “greener pastures” overseas, go home.
They know their parents will be well looked after by the New Zealand taxpayer – with healthcare and housing.
Just last year Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse admitted parent migrants were cheating the system.
They were not meeting their financial test obligations – arriving here with not enough money, and ending up on our welfare.
And there were so many applications the government couldn’t handle them.
They had to impose a cutback on parent numbers from 5500 to 2000 and put a temporary halt on applications.
It’s obvious why there are so many lining up to get here.
No other country in the world gives full pensions for older migrants after only 10 years residency.
New Zealand First says changes must be made in entitlement criteria so that payments are adjusted directly proportionate to the years of residence.
It’s all about fairness for the New Zealand taxpayer.
Don’t listen to the doom merchants who have spread their propaganda over the affordability of NZ Super.
Much of it comes from vested interests who want superannuation privatised.
National’s political puppet in Epsom says its’s not affordable which is ironic since many of the older constituents in his Epsom electorate are migrants who came and got NZ Super, after only being here 10 years, whether they made any contribution or not.
Here are the facts:
Our NZ Super is world class and is recognised as such around the world.
At 3.8 percent net of GDP per year the cost of New Zealand Super is low by international standards.
Our record compares very well with an OECD average of around 7%.
NZ Super ensures all Kiwis have some retirement income security.
Our NZ Super as a percentage of GDP would stay the same even with an ageing population through New Zealand doubling its GDP by 2050.
We need to control mass immigration which has brought huge pressure on NZ Super.
We cannot sustain well over 85,000 more elderly migrants gaining access to NZ Super after in many cases contributing nothing towards it.
The government must resume contributions to the NZ Super Fund.
The message on NZ Super is – don’t be complacent.
“She’ll be right” just doesn’t cut it anymore.
NZ Super must be preserved for you, your children and your children’s children.
Enormous blunders have been made over NZ Super in the past and the worst of those blunders have been made by National.
Look at the English-Key track record.
They have made a massive mess of housing in Auckland which has now got out of control because of their rampant immigration policy.
We cannot afford to make more blunders.
Don’t be railroaded into thinking NZ Super is not affordable.
It is affordable.
When you vote on September 23, remember only one party has fought long and hard for NZ Super and for ordinary Kiwis.
That party is New Zealand First.