Older New Zealanders are losing their patience with the new Government as no signs emerge of any action on pre-election promises about overseas pensions.
The New Zealand Seniors Party chairperson Paul Rea says New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has been silent on many of the promises he made to get elected.
Among those promises was that he would abolish Section 70 of the Social Security Act 1964 ensuring all New Zealand Super applicants will retain their overseas pensions without any deduction. He also said he would end the unfairness caused by reciprocal pension agreements with other countries.
However Minister for Seniors Tracey Martin says they are not ignoring the issue, and has asked Rea and the New Zealand Seniors Party to exercise some patience.
“Mr Rea has been rather unhelpfully suggesting to whoever will listen that New Zealand First has reneged on a commitment to look at the rules around Section 70.
“I know this is a highly charged issue for a group of retired people and Mr Rea has been campaigning about this for some time. But it’s not something I can change overnight as Minister for Seniors.
“We were sworn in as a Coalition government just under seven weeks ago, and our focus has been on the very large issues, such as lifting incomes for families with children and putting in place the winter energy payments, that we are dealing with through the 100-Day programme.
“That doesn’t mean we are ignoring the section 70 rules, simply that there are a vast number of issues that individuals and groups can feel very passionately about that the government has to consider.”
Martin says she has spoken with the Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni, who has responsibility for this area.
“I know that the Minister for Social Development has asked officials to look at particular aspects of the direct deduction policy and report back to her in the New Year.”