Realm Islands Pension Bill Progresses

by Desk Editor on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 — 9:34 PM

The committee stage of Social Assistance (Portability to Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau) Bill has been completed with general agreement, but efforts to make it more generous were voted down.

The bill gives greater portability of superannuation to those from the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau. Under the Bill a person from those places who has lived in New Zealand for 10 years, five of them after the age of 50, will be able to return to these islands. When they turn 65 they can then apply for Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension.

To gain 50 percent of NZ super entitlement a person has to have had worked in the country for ten years and 20 years for 100 percent

All parties supported the bill, though there was some objection to the requirement to have to live in NZ for five years after the age of 50 with MPs saying this was less than generous and would lead to less economic benefit to the islands. NZ First promoted amendments on this issue arguing residents of the Realm Islands were New Zealanders and should be treated the same and given eligibility on the same basis.

These amendments were voted down with National, Maori Party, ACT and United Future opposed. The Government argued the bill put people of the Realm Islands on the same basis of other New Zealanders who were also required to spend five years in New Zealand between the age of 50 and 65 in order to qualify for superannuation.

The bill completed its committee stage and MPs began the committee stage of the Environmental Reporting Bill.
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