The Government ignored advice from the Ministry of Pacific Peoples that raising the Superannuation age of eligibility would have a ‘disproportionately high impact’ on Pacific people, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Aupito William Sio.
“The Ministry for Pacific Peoples warned Treasury in February that changing the age of eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation would be detrimental for Pacific people and that they did not support the change.
“The Government ignored that advice, and pushed ahead with an announcement in March that it would raise the age of eligibility from 65 to 67.
“This is, of course, at odds with Labour’s principled position that the impact on Pasifika and Maori populations was a key factor that Labour had taken into account when we opposed raising the age beyond 65 years-old.
“The advice from the Ministry is that ‘basic living standards for Pacific are very different to non-Pacific populations’. Pacific people in their later years simply don’t have, in general, the same quality of life as non-Pacific people.
“The Government has shown callous disregard for the quality of life of Pacific people by ignoring this important advice. They talk up caring about the Pacific and its people but the reality is very different.
“When Bill English announced he had reversed the Government’s position on raising the age, Labour voiced concerns that it would unfairly impact people who work in more physically-demanding jobs.
“Raising the superannuation age will be unfair on Pacific communities, unfair on Maori, unfair on people in physically-demanding jobs, and unfair on the younger generation who are saddled with huge student debt and can’t afford their own homes because of the housing crisis.