Baby Boomers - the most selfish generation ever?
Baby Boomers are "the most selfish generation we've ever known", the Mayor of New Plymouth has declared.
Neil Holdom, a Generation X-er, says their greed and political clout is going to end in disaster for the Millennial generation and beyond.
Speaking to a local magazine, Mr Holdom said despite making bank off house price inflation, Baby Boomers want more.
"I have some of these people coming to me, who are wealthier than other ratepayers with no mortgages, and they are asking for additional services that are either free or subsidised," he told Live. "But at the same time they are asking us to keep rates down."
Baby Boomers, generally classified as those born between 1946 and 1964, are beginning to move into retirement, where they'll qualify for superannuation - hundreds of dollars a week - regardless of their incomes or wealth. They didn't have to pay for their education, and bought property when it was - compared to household incomes - very cheap.
Superannuation costs New Zealand about $13 billion a year - more than every other benefit put together, and almost as much as the entire public education sector.
And as any Generation X-er (born between 1965 and 1981) Millennial (1982 onwards) knows, little has been done in recent decades to stem house price inflation - and neither of the major political parties have any plans to raise the age of Super eligibility.
"Those are two fundamental things in our economy that are actually driving these problems for our kids. This is all of our children - they're not going to be able to buy a house," Mr Holdom told Duncan Garner on The AM Show on Friday.
"We've lost an opportunity for the New Zealand dream of owning a house. It's slipping away as we speak. My wife and I bought our first house in 2001, and I think it cost about double our income. Now houses are what, seven to eight times the national income?"
He blames Baby Boomers, saying because they own the property and vote in higher numbers, they have all the clout.
"Housing affordability and superannuation, these are undermining the actual basic New Zealand way of life, and baby boomers have applied fantastic political power to ensure the tax regime suits them, and that the superannuation scheme suits them.
"I'm not going to get super when I turn 65. I know that."
Mr Holdom's confronting views have irked his elders. The Government's 'SuperSenior Champion' Lance Girling-Butcher called his comments "pensioner bashing", and former New Plymouth District councillor Keith Allum said it was "like what Donald Trump is doing with Muslims".
Mr Holdom said he wasn't singling out Baby Boomers as individuals, calling them "one of the hardest-working generations we've ever known" and "amazing parents", but thinks it's time to spread the wealth.
"The reality is for every dollar I spend to make [New Plymouth] an age-friendly city, I have to either increase rates, I'll have to borrow money, I'll have to cut costs or I'll have to sell something.
"But [Baby Boomers tell me] you can't put rates up."