Editorial: Age the only measure?

Last updated 05:00 13/06/2012

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On the prospect of raising the retirement age, John Key in 2008 said: "I'd rather resign as prime minister."

And the prime minister is sticking to his guns. He's not going to raise the eligibility age.

This despite mounting evidence this week that an increase is needed, and, surprise, surprise, there is a public mood to do so. Who would have thought?

But Mr Key believes the pension is still affordable; that the cost of it here is still quite low compared with other countries.

Besides, another backdown right now wouldn't look too good, but he didn't say that.

We could debate the timing, but at some stage there are going to be too many retired people compared with the number working. Of all the stats bandied about in the last week, the standout was the one that said half the people born now would live to be 100.

Wow. That's a long time retired. The new 40 for them will be 60.

When will they have their mid-life crisis?

Before raising the retirement age, though, there are a couple of things to consider.

Like, does it really make sense for people to work beyond 65?

It's a trickle-down effect, but the longer people work the fewer new jobs there are on the market.

A person forced to work two more years could deprive their grandchild of their first job for the same length of time.

Fair enough if you want to work longer, that's your right, but is it really in the country's overall interest to force people to work longer?

Disillusioned young people are likely to emigrate, and while they are unemployed they are not only receiving a benefit, they're also not paying back their student loan.

Point two: Should you choose to work beyond the retirement age, whatever it is, why should you also be entitled to superannuation?

Sure, there's a fairness in everyone being entitled to it at the same time, but shouldn't it be considered a safety net rather than an automatic right? Especially as funds get tighter. Especially if you're in a well-paid job.

Working millionaires getting $270 (married rate) or $350 (single) a week somehow lacks a little grace.

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- The Timaru Herald

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