National backs raising superannuation but Labour continues to rule out lift

The OECD's warning New Zealand needs to increase the age of superannuation to rein in debt from COVID-19 and the aging population.

The National Party agrees - confirming it would increase the super age to 67 if it's elected - but Labour continues to rule it out.

Plunging into the debate over superannuation just isn't a priority for some young Kiwis.

"I don't know what you're talking about, sorry miss," one youngster doing manus in Wellington said when asked about superannuation.

It wasn't just the kids dropping bombs on Tuesday. The OECD blew up the super issue, saying the pension age needs to rise from 65.

"I think it's inevitable, given the economic circumstances," one person Newshub spoke to said.

"I expect to die soon so don't raise it for me," another told Newshub.

The Finance Minister has promised he won't. 

"There's a commitment that we've made - a social contract if you will - with New Zealanders to make sure that they have dignity in retirement and support in retirement," Grant Robertson said.

But the OECD warns something has to give. With big COVID spending and an aging population, debt is expected to balloon from "49 percent of GDP in 2021 to around 140 percent in 2060". The OECD says to get the ratio back on track New Zealand needs to link "the pension eligibility age to life expectancy".

"The question to ask is who will this affect the most? The answer to that is Māori, Pacific people, women, and workers with physically taxing jobs," said Retirement Commissioner Jane Wrightson.

But National leader Christopher Luxon would raise it, backing his party's old policy.

"At this stage I'd stay with that policy," he said.

Retirement researcher Susan St John has another idea.

"To pay the super as a basic grant, the same as everyone," she told Newshub.

It'd be tax-free, but there's a catch - anything else you earned is taxed at a high rate.

"You can save a billion dollars or more pretty easily without actually harming anybody."

But Robertson said on Tuesday "that's not something we'd put any focus on at all".

The Finance Minister might not be putting any focus on other ideas about how to solve the super problem, but voters will. With the National leader committing to raising the age to 67 Luxon's just made it an election issue.