19 Aug 2015

Pacific pension changes still on Labour's agenda

2:47 pm on 19 August 2015

A New Zealand opposition MP Poto Williams says the Labour Party has not given up on further easing the way for retiring Cook Islanders to collect their New Zealand pensions while living in the Cooks.

Ever have the feeling that you are not where you want to be?

Pacific beach Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

A new law allows people of the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau to return to their islands after the age of 55 and still get their pensions at 65, but Labour wanted the age reduced to fifty.

Ms Williams says the "five years after fifty" rule is an anomaly and unfair and she has dismissed reasons given by the Prime Minister John Key that further lowering the age would be too costly for New Zealand.

She says removing the rule could be to New Zealand's financial benefit.

"Many of our Cook Island New Zealanders are telling us they would take the opportunity to go back to the Cooks not only for lifestyle but for weather and supporting their health and for being with family who can care for them as well. There was a cost benefit analysis that wasn't done by this government."

Ms Williams says the change could be made via other legislation or a private member's bill.

She says removing the rule would have been a great gift to the Cook Islands on its fiftieth anniversary of self government.