21 Oct 2020

Retirement Commission clarifying what superannuation is for

3:16 pm on 21 October 2020

The Retirement Commissioner is offering a definition of the country's retirement system, after discovering people did not know what superannuation was for.

Retirement savings

Photo: 123RF

The commissioner, Jane Wrightson, said a review last year showed people did not have a clear view of the retirement savings system - whether it was the pension or the role of retirement savings.

"Some considered it was there to prevent poverty and ensure people retained dignity in old age, others saw it as providing a basic standard of living, as a gesture of care for the elderly or as a reward for working hard and paying taxes."

To clarify thinking and future action her office has come up with a definition which is a framework that ensures older people can live with dignity by providing them with an adequate pension and support them to build their own savings.

Wrightson said the definition would provide a much needed base to refer to when retirement issues are debated in the future.

"This statement acknowledges the dual role of government and the individual in preparing for their retirement.

"Whether people use KiwiSaver or another vehicle to build independent savings, they must be supported in putting money away for retirement because for many, NZ Super alone will not be enough."

"This is particularly true for many Māori, whose disparity in living standards throughout their lives affect their quality of life as they age."

Wrightson said policy in such areas as health care and housing should also be viewed through a retirement lens, as they would have a significant bearing on people's standards of living during retirement.

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