Migrants will have to wait for 10 more years before becoming eligible for superannuation if National forms government in 2020.
This was announced today by National Party Leader Simon Bridges while launching the party's economic policy discussion document in Auckland.
Mr Bridges announced the party's policy of increasing superannuation age from 65 to 67 and increasing the required residency from the current 10 years to 20 years.
Currently, all New Zealand residents who have lived in the country for at least 10 years after the age of 20 and at least five years after the age of 50, are entitled to pension benefit at 65.
This is exactly the same policy announced earlier by the National under Prime Minister Bill English in 2017, after eight years of status-quo under Sir John Key's government.
Under National's plan for 2020, new migrants who have just lived in the country for 10 years and were hopeful of being eligible for getting super started, will be required to wait for another 10 years.
Expectedly, the debate around increasing of the age of superannuation is primarily based on the question of sustainability of the super-fund, as the facts of increasing health care, and general life-expectancy, are set to increase the cost on the future taxpayers who would be footing the bill of future pensioners.
"In 2017 National went into the election campaign committed to raising the age of superannuation entitlement to 67 in 20 years' time. We made this commitment to ensure the long-term sustainability of the scheme. We will again campaign on this," National's Finance Spokesperson Paul Goldsmith said.
"When the current retirement age was set at 65 in 2001, a retiree could expect to spend about a fifth of their life receiving superannuation. That has since increased to around a quarter of their life.
"Those eligible for superannuation at 67 in 2040 can still expect to receive it for a quarter of their life on average," Mr Goldsmith said.
However, the calls for increasing the requirement of 20 years residency from the current requirement of 10 years seem to have less economic-sense and more politics.
Earlier, a similar socially-conservative superannuation bill that sought to clip the pension entitlements of future migrants, by the New Zealand First Party was voted out by the parliament in 2015.
That bill almost notoriously sought to allow the full pension to only those who had spent less than five years living outside New Zealand between 20 and 65.
National had then voted against that bill claiming moral victory on the pretext of impeding an otherwise socially conservative agenda.
National List MPs Dr Parmjeet Parmar & Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi
NZ Labour Party had then rebutted the bill (2015) appearing to remain abstained from the debate on the sustainability of superannuation fund.
It is important to note that New Zealand currently boasts of a world-class policy of retirement and superannuation scheme for new migrants (the 10-year residency requirement, is one of the friendliest schemes in the developed world).
The Indian Weekender's story on National's proposal of 2017 had then questioned the growing anti-immigration sentiments in the political narrative before the elections.
Apparently, many experts were of the opinion that by raising the residency requirement of 10 years to 20 years, New Zealand was positioning it similar to European countries, and moving away from the countries like Australia and Canada.
Notably, countries like Australia and Canada are the primary competitor of New Zealand for attracting skilled-migrants.
Meanwhile, speaking to the Indian Weekender, the Kiwi-Indian MPs of the National caucus allayed any such concerns around immigration.
Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi said, “We’ve done this because 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.
“We think it’s fair that new residents pay their way before they are entitled to what could be decades of superannuation payments,” Mr Bakshi said.
Dr Parmjeet Parmar suggested that nothing was yet firm (the residency requirement) at this stage as it was a discussion document and not a fully prepared policy.
“We encourage members of the community to share their feedback if any on the economic discussion document,” Dr Parmar said.