3 Sep 2013

Former Cooks PM says returning home a healthy idea

7:34 pm on 3 September 2013

A former Cook Islands Prime Minster and medical doctor in New Zealand says the Government's new superannuation portability rules should encourage older Cook Islanders to return home.

The New Zealand Government has proposed to change the law so that residents of the realm countries - Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau - can collect their superannuation after being resident for ten years in New Zealand before the age of 55.

There's been criticism over the lack of detail in the proposed policy, which is due to start in 2015, but Dr Joe Williams says it's a healthy option to return home.

He says many patients tell him they aren't happy with the lifestyle they adopt in New Zealand.

"Just sit in the front of the box, day after day after day, which was a problem for them and is a problem for a lot of the Pacific islanders, the elderly folk, they've got nothing to do. Some of them look after the grandchildren, but mostly they sit at home, they just sit in front of the box and a lot of them are lonely."

Dr Joe Williams.