23 Feb 2017

NZ pension portability could be better for Cook Islanders - McCully

6:55 am on 23 February 2017

The New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully says he will push for a further relaxation of the rules on pension portability for Cook Islanders.

Mr McCully, speaking during a visit to the Cook Islands, said improved portability of New Zealand superannuation was affordable and fair.

Currently Cook Islanders, Niueans and Tokelauans living in New Zealand but wanting to return home are required to live in New Zealand for five years after the age of 50 to qualify for the portable superannuation or veteran's pension at the age 65.

Mr McCully said the advice given by NZ Treasury that relaxing the rules would prove too costly for the country had been proven wrong.

He said the cost was just a fraction of what had been forecast, with just 42 Cook Islanders qualifying under the new pension rules since 2013.

Mr McCully said there won't be a quick change but he hoped the facts he presents on portability would influence his government and the other political parties.