22 Feb 2012

McCully denies reneging on Cooks pension portability pledge

11:59 am on 22 February 2012

New Zealand's foreign minister says the government has not reneged on a promise to look at pension portability to the Cook Islands.

The superannuitants' lobby group has been fighting for nearly 20 years to end a situation where New Zealanders living in the Cook Islands must return to New Zealand for five years to apply for the pension, yet new residents can bring their pensions with them.

The group's Les Priest says Murray McCully has gone back on his word of May last year, leaving hopeful pensioners in the lurch.

But Mr McCully says the plan is still on the Government's agenda, but is on hold at the moment.

"There are complex issues around it, but it is something that I think deserves a solid look, and it is going to receive that. That's why we've done so much work on it to date. It's not just an issue that affects the Cook Islands, of course, it affects other countries in the Pacific. Some of them are realm states and some of them are not, so it makes it more complicated than otherwise would be the case."

New Zealand's foreign minister, Murray McCully.