Manna from heaven. Winston Peters gets to pick on immigrants and superannuation ... at the same time.
He told party faithful at the weekend that a young Chinese couple can bring into the country four parents aged around 55, who don't work for a decade and then who, at 65, are entitled to full super and healthcare.
Which most Kiwis would think unfair, especially when we don't have the same rights in China.
Which Mr Peters says we don't.
What's more, he reckons there are 22,000 elderly immigrants here from countries with which we do not have reciprocal superannuation arrangements.
Outlandish indeed. So outlandish it just doesn't sound right.
I know we're perceived as being a soft touch, but we're not that soft, surely.
But technically, Mr Peters could be right.
When questioned on the NZ First leader's comments, Prime Minister John Key said the 22,000 number could be correct.
And the rules of entitlement support Mr Peters. To get super you have to be 65, be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, and have lived in the country for 10 years.
As in his Chinese example.
But, Mr Key counters: "If you look at the taxes they (immigrants) pay when they come to New Zealand vis-a-vis what they receive from superannuation or benefits and the like, it's billions more that we get paid than they receive."
Which may well be right, but is not Mr Peters' point.
Mr Peters is talking about elderly immigrants who haven't worked. Mr Key is talking about immigrants who are working and who are paying tax.
So yes, technically we could be paying super to people who have never worked here, but it would be surprising if there were anywhere near 22,000 of them.
For example, do you know any Chinese immigrants who came here at the age of 55 who didn't work?
But even if Mr Peters is playing with the picture a little, he does raise a valid question.
How many immigrants from countries with non-reciprocal rights have never worked here yet are collecting Super?
We're too small a country to support thousands of such people. We need to put a number on it.
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