NZ superannuation: Judith Collins says Kiwis want to keep working into their late 60s

Judith Collins thinks Kiwis will be on board with raising the age of eligibility for superannuation because they love working. 

The age is currently 65, but a new report from Treasury has cast serious doubt on whether that's sustainable. Kiwis are living longer, spending more of their lives eligible for the no-strings-attached payment, and an increasing number of us are over 65. 

On current trends, Treasury estimates the cost of universal super will increase by more than 50 percent over the next 40 years, contributing to a Budget blowout and sending debt into the stratosphere. It recommended either upping the age to 67 or taxing recipients more on their other incomes to help pay for it.

"We think that without growing the economy in a very spectacular way in the next 20 years, we do need to start moving from 65 to 67, so that gives people plenty of time to prepare," Collins told The AM Show on Wednesday. 

National opposed raising the age when Sir John Key was Prime Minister, while Labour was in favour. When Prime Minister Bill English took over the reins, the parties switched side - suddenly National was in favour and Labour against. Labour won the election, and new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she'd rather resign than raise the age

"We took it into the last election, it wasn't successful obviously. But we do think that there's some work that can be done around that," said Collins.

"Obviously we're not going to state now what our policy to the next election is, but it is certainly our policy in terms of understanding you have to be able to pay your bills. We understand that New Zealanders don't want to have their grandchildren having to continuously pay for them when there is an alternative and it's only a two-year difference."

Collins is also a fan of keeping it universal, rather than only giving it to those who need it, like every other benefit.

"It's really important that it is a universal scheme. It is one of the differences between our system and overseas ones. But it is a pay-as-you-go system, and it does need to be able to need to adjust to the fact that we're all living longer, thankfully, and we are generally working longer and we are more capable of doing so, and we want to - that's the other thing - because we love our work. I do, anyway." 

At 62, Collins wouldn't be affected by her party's previous policy - no Boomers would. It wouldn't start going up until 2037, first affecting late Generation X and Millennials.