17 Jun 2012

NZ First accuses Govt of trying to privatise super

9:39 pm on 17 June 2012

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has criticised the Government for what he calls its attack on pensioners and attempts to privatise superannuation.

Mr Peters delivered his leader's speech to about 150 party faithful at the annual New Zealand First conference in Palmerston North on Sunday.

He said the National-led Government is using all sorts of scaremongering and false forecasts to convince the public that there is a crisis situation with the affordability of the super plan.

Mr Peters said there is no ageing crisis and the pension age and the amount paid is affordable.

Winston Peters delivering his speech at New Zealand First's annual conference.

Winston Peters delivering his speech at New Zealand First's annual conference. Photo: RNZ

Mr Peters said New Zealand would be better off cracking down on immigrants who do not contribute anything to the economy but go on to draw a pension.

He said a proposal to increase contributions to KiwiSaver is being driven entirely by vested interests in the financial sector.

The Financial Services Council, which represents the financial and savings industry, has recommended increasing KiwiSaver contributions to 10% over the next 10 years.

The council says this will allow people to retire at 65 while doubling retirement incomes and avoiding reductions in living standards.

But Mr Peters said that concern about the affordability of the super plan is a manufactured crisis.

He said the council is only promoting increasing contributions because it would give financial institutions more money to invest and make a profit from.

Mr Peters said a better option would be to increase contributions to the Superannuation Fund.

Peters rules out coalition deals

Mr Peters is ruling out any coalition deals before the next general election.

Mr Peters said the prime minister is looking around for a support partner to prop up the National-led Government.

While New Zealand First has a similar policy to National's in keeping the superannuation age at 65, he said the party won't enter any coalition talks.

Mr Peters also rejected calls by Labour for cross-party talks on the pension age, because he said Labour has been taken-in to believing there is an affordability crisis.

Prime Minister John Key dared Mr Peters on Saturday to say he will not, under any conditions, form a government with Labour, even if Labour's policy is to raise the retirement age from 2020.

Mr Peters said he won't be taking any advice from the prime minister. He said Mr Key was challenging him because the National Party is in trouble.

He said maintaining the age of eligibility for superannuation at 65 would be a bottom line for his party in any coalition negotiations after the next election.