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Changes to New Zealand Superannuation Announced

On Monday 6th March 2017, Prime Minister of New Zealand, Bill English announced a proposal to raise the age of eligibility for NZ Super from 65 to 67. The increase would be implemented in gradual steps, starting in 2037 and reaching 67 from 2040.

You would have seen plenty of coverage on this topic in the media and we will continue to update you as more details become available.

What is changing?

The law will be changed in 2018 after the election if the National Party is successful in its campaign.

Changes will start taking place from 1 July 2037 and will be fully implemented by 1 July 2040.

Anyone born before June 1972 will not be impacted by this change. Those born after 1 January 1974 will be eligible for NZ Super from age 67.

CURRENT SETTINGS FUTURE SETTINGS
Age of entitlement to NZ Super is 65 years From 1 July 2037, it is increasing 6 months each year until it reaches 67 on 1 July 2040
Residency - eligible after 10 years as a resident (including five years after age 50) Eligible after 20 years as a resident (including five years after age 50)
Eligible for SuperGold Card - 65 years Increasing in line with age of entitlement to NZ Super
In 2017, life expectancy at birth is 82.5 years In 2037 life expectancy is expected to be 86.2 years

WHAT ISN’T CHANGING

There are number of things that are not changing (for now):

  • Universal Entitlement (no asset or income testing)
  • NZ Super payments indexed to 66% of the average wage
  • Age to access KiwiSaver is 65 years plus 5 years of membership
  • NZ Super Fund contributions resume when net government debt falls below 20% of GDP
  • Current citizens and residents will not be impacted by these changes.
  • Current residents will continue to be able to maximise KiwiSaver benefits.

Mercer’s Response

Mercer broadly supports the increase in age of entitlement for NZ Super to 67.

We are pleased that the age at which KiwiSaver benefits can be accessed has not increased and remains at 65. In fact, we would have liked to see increased flexibility in the age at which KiwiSaver savings can be accessed.

A lower age of accessibility to KiwiSaver savings would increase the appeal for individuals who may struggle to continue working to 65.

Clarity is needed in regards to eligibility of KiwiSaver members for member tax credits and employer contributions once they turn 65. Mercer believes that those working beyond 65 should continue to be eligible for these KiwiSaver benefits until NZ Super becomes payable at age 67.

We will continue to provide you with updates on this website and via social media.

You can also share your thoughts with us on social media:

@Mercer_NZ: What does NZ super eligibility age increase mean to you?
Mercer New Zealand: It is proposed that the age of eligibility for NZ Super increases from 65 to 67. Do you support this move and does it address what it needs to, which is affordability of super and increasing life expectancy?

We welcome further debate and changes which address the retirement income gap.

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