National's superannuation age increase proposal likely to draw mixed response - Interim Retirement Commissioner

The Interim Retirement Commissioner expects a mixed response to National's proposal to increase the superannuation age.

On Monday, the National Party revealed it would raise the superannuation age from 65 to 67 starting in 2037 if it is elected to office.

Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says life expectancies are now so long that when the age of 65 was set in 2001 and those eligible for superannuation at 67 in 2040 could still expect to receive it for about quarter of their life on average. 

"National wants a superannuation scheme that's sustainable for future generations. We won't turn a blind eye to the future affordability of the scheme like the current Government," he said.

New Zealand's Interim Retirement Commissioner Peter Cordtz told Newshub that the response to the policy would likely differ between various demographics with different life expectancies.

"There are many groups that have lower life expectancies, who might think that 67 makes it more unfair to them. But we also know many people are working well beyond 65," he said.

Cordtz gave the example of the "retirement trajectory" differing between people who work in manual labour and white-collar workers.

However, he also said it was good to have the discussion back on the table as New Zealand does have an ageing population. 

"We know that with super at its current setting, it is costing in the order $39 million a day. We know also, because of the ageing population, that across the period that that figure trebles in 20 years."

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters blasted the proposal by National, saying Kiwis cannot trust the party wouldn't implement the policy before 2037.

"The National Party cannot be trusted on superannuation, and their record is littered with broken promises. They increased Labour's superannuation surtax in 1990, after promising to abolish it, no ifs, no buts, no maybes."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ruled out any increase to superannuation, noting her Government had instead decided to restart contributions to the New Zealand Super Fund.

ACT Party leader David Seymour praised National but said the age raise should be done sooner "as the superannuation bill for taxpayers skyrockets".