Peters supports Govt's immigrant pension changes

NZ First leader Winston Peters is backing the Government's crackdown on pension eligibility for immigrants, but he's not sure they'll follow through on their plans. 

Prime Minister Bill English yesterday announced plans to progressively raise the age of entitlement for superannuation from 65 to 67, starting in 20 years time.

The changes will also require immigrants to live in New Zealand for 20 years rather than 10 in order to be eligible for the pension.

"Raising the residency requirements from 10 years to 20 years, which should be 25, that's a step in the right direction", Mr Peters told Newshub.

"In the last two years every time we've raised it in Parliament, they've said that we're scaremongering. They finally woke up today".

But Mr Peters says it doesn't mean he'll definitely work with National because of their track record on going back on their word.

"No one should take it seriously" Mr Peters told Newshub, saying National wouldn't follow through on the policy because "that's their track record".

Mr Peters also said the policy was "meaningless".

"This statement today doesn't have any effect. There'll be barely anyone in parliament, today, who'll be there then".

"If [English] said three years from now, five years from now, people would listen to him. But he panicked". 

The Maori party is also backing away from the policy, they want to retirement age to be lowered to 60 and won't support the Government's plan. 

Mr Peters told Newshub on Sunday that he would refuse to form a government with National if they increased the retirement age. 

He has made it one of his bottom lines for any post-election deals.

But if Mr Peters decides not to back the age raise, he's not being honest with voters, Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell told The AM Show on Tuesday morning.

"I don't know how he could say that we don't need any change, even in 20 years", Ms Maxwell told Duncan Garner.

"If you're saying that, you're not being honest with the voters, because we're living so much longer."

Ms Maxwell said that while she is pleased with the announcement, the 20-year rollout is a bit slow for her liking.

"I am really happy. Look, it's a first step in the right direction. I'd recommend a slightly quicker pace of change, but I'm comfortable."