Immigrants' rights to super queried
Elderly migrants who have moved to New Zealand through a "parental reunion" category should not be eligible for superannuation, NZ First Leader Winston Peters says.
He told a public meeting in Blenheim yesterday that New Zealand Super was sustainable as long as there were safeguards. He proposed stopping superannuation to the 68,000 parental reunion migrants who were eligible with only 10 years' residence.
Rather, they should get only a quarter of it if they had been here 10 years, he said. They could keep their overseas pension payments, which go to the Government.
"This "free ride" for elderly migrants coming into New Zealand is incredibly generous and in our view grossly unfair to New Zealanders. Our policy is to cut back that entitlement to reflect the time elderly migrants have actually been in New Zealand. A fair and reasonable solution."
People are eligible for NZ superannuation if they are 65 or older, are a citizen or permanent resident, live in New Zealand when they apply, and have lived in New Zealand for at least 10 years since they turned 20, with five of those years since they turned 50.
In a speech clearly targeted to the mainly grey-haired audience of 70 people at the Clubs of Marlborough's main hall, Peters hearkened back to a better time, when the "papershufflers and moneymen of Queen St" did not have the influence they have today and when the Government knew the names of all 29 unemployed people.
He exhorted the audience to vote for the electorate candidate they wanted, and use their second vote for NZ First as "insurance".
At least five people in the audience thanked him for setting up the SuperGold card scheme.
Peters promised them more if elected to Government, with plans to give SuperGold cardholders three free doctors' visits a year.
Other topics included foreign ownership, with Peters expressing surprise at the amount of foreign ownership of wineries in Marlborough, and economic mismanagement by the Government.
He asked the crowd how much they paid in mortgage and credit card interest rates, and queried why Marlborough people were paying about 6 per cent on mortgages and 21 per cent on credit cards, when other countries paid 2 per cent on mortgages, and in Papua New Guinea, "where they have a bone in their nose", 4 per cent on credit cards.
The Reserve Bank Act, which kept interest rates and the dollar's value high, needed to be dramatically changed to serve the interests of exporting regions like Marlborough, he said.
The Marlborough Express