NZ Su­per still not un­der­stood

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION / NEWS -

With all shenani­gans go­ing on in poli-

the tics re­cently – what with the bru­tal takeover of an ex­ist­ing party and the cre­ation of a new one, to men­tion just a cou­ple – one would be for­given for get­ting more and more con­fused as the gen­eral elec­tion ap­proaches.

But there is one thing which most politi­cians seem to have in com­mon: the abil­ity to fudge facts and pro­mul­gate them, still fudged. Take, for in­stance, the re­cent state­ment made by Hekia Parata in a lo­cal pa­per, headed ‘‘El­ders bet­ter off’’. In­ci­den­tally, Ms Parata is not the only per­son mak­ing these state­ments. They ap­pear to be gen­er­ally cir­cu­lated by other MPs as well.

The first claim Ms Parata makes is as fol­lows: ‘‘Su­per­an­nu­a­tion is ad­justed when wages in­crease, to keep pay­ments at 66 per cent of the av­er­age wage. The Prime Min­is­ter has com­mit­ted to main­tain­ing this en­ti­tle­ment for all su­per­an­nu­i­tants. These mea­sures, com­bined with the tax cuts in­tro­duced last year, have left those who are su­per­an­nu­i­tants bet­ter off.’’

The facts: NZ Su­per is not ad­justed when wages in­crease. Aside from ad­just­ments aris­ing from tax changes, in­creases in wage rates can only re­sult in NZ Su­per in­creases when wage rates in­crease by more than the CPI.

Also, the Prime Min­is­ter has not com­mit­ted to main­tain­ing a 66 per cent rel­a­tiv­ity to av­er­age wages for all su­per­an­nu­i­tants.

His com­mit­ment has been re­stricted to 33 per cent for each part­ner qual­i­fy­ing for the couples’ rate, 42.9 per cent for in­di­vid­u­als on the ‘‘sin­gle, liv­ing alone’’ rate and 39.6 per cent for in­di­vid­u­als on the shar­ing’’ rate.

Sec­ond claim: ‘‘Un­der this Na­tional-led Gov­ern­ment, su­per­an­nu­a­tion pay­ments have in­creased by 6.85 per cent in the past year.

Since Septem­ber 2008, the in­creases have been even big­ger. The amount for mar­ried couples, who are both el­i­gi­ble for su­per­an­nu­a­tion, has in­creased by $166 a fort­night or 18.9 per cent.’’

The facts: The 6.85 per cent in­crease is in NZ Su­per net rate pay­ments, and re­sults mainly from tax changes. It is ir­refutable that the re­cent tax changes have de­liv­ered much more to ‘‘ av­er­age to higher in­come’’ earn­ers than to su­per­an­nu­i­tants. Grey Power chal­lenges the Gov­ern­ment to com­mis­sion a spe­cific study of ‘‘cost of liv­ing’’ in­creases of 65-plus’ house­holds, ex­pressed in dol­lar equiv­a­lents rather than per­cent­age terms.

Our ex­pe­ri­ence is that Su­per mon­e­tary in­creases have not matched the ac­tual dol­lar value cost of liv­ing in­creases.

Third claim: ‘‘ We also pro­vided a spe­cial im­me­di­ate one-off in­crease to su­per­an­nu­a­tion pay­ments, to com­pen­sate for the Oc­to­ber 1, 2010 rise in GST. This in­crease was per­ma­nently built into pay­ments by the an­nual gen­eral ad­just­ment on April 1,

‘‘sin­gle, 2011.’’ The facts: The per­ma­nent ad­just­ment in NZ Su­per ap­ply­ing from April 1, 2011, recog­nises only those GST in­creases which might have fil­tered through the sys­tem in the three months to De­cem­ber, 2010. The ex­tra­or­di­nary CPI in­crease in the March 2011 quar­ter in­di­cates that much of the GST im­pact is still find­ing its way through the sys­tem.

The in­creases still oc­cur­ring will not be recog­nised in NZ Su­per ad­just­ments un­til April 2012. There­fore, the Gov­ern­ment’s pre­fund­ing of the in­creases aris­ing from GST, rep­re­sented by the ‘‘ tem­po­rary ad­just­ment’’ with­drawn on March 31, 2011, has been re­moved too soon, to the dis­tinct dis­ad­van­tage of su­per­an­nu­i­tants.

I sup­pose it is too much to ex­pect all politi­cians to un­der­stand these niceties, but if they are go­ing to make pub­lic state­ments, the least they could do is get the facts right.

Last month we held our an­nual meet­ing which was rel­a­tively well at­tended. This month, our own Mar­garet Faulkner, who is an elected mem­ber of the Cap­i­tal & Coast DHB, will give us her thoughts on is­sues aris­ing from the bud­get.

Date: Tues­day, June 14. Time: 1.30pm. Venue: The Porirua Club, Lodge Place, Porirua. Phone 236 0112.

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