Peters calls out Shipley for showdown
Winston Peters has called out Dame Jenny Shipley over the superannuation debate but said she'll never do it because he will make a mockery of her.
The veteran New Zealand First leader had immigration and the super scheme high on his agenda at a Grey Power meeting in Hamilton, where he promised members free GP visits and discounted power bills for SuperGold card holders.
More than 100 over-50s packed the Age Concern headquarters in Hamilton yesterday to hear Peters go on the attack against "so-called retirement experts" who wanted to lift the age of entitlement, reduce pensions and cut back health and home help.
He said Dame Jenny, chair of the Financial Services Council, wanted to privatise the retirement system and issued her with the challenge.
"Get Jenny Shipley from the head of the Financial Services Council to turn up and have a debate about it," he said.
"She'd get demolished because she hasn't got any facts behind her."
He told Grey Power members more than $22 billion in fees would be siphoned off Kiwisaver over the next 30 years to many offshore accounts and said he would start a "Kiwifund" after the election.
"It will be a state-owned and run alternative but run by you and owned by you because those people in your age will be saving in that plan."
He said superannuation was set at 4.1 per cent of GDP and was "highly affordable" but "opportunists" who wanted to control the superannuation industry pushed for higher rates of immigration.
"All manner of threats are coming against superannuation, claiming it's unaffordable," he said. "I've got figures here saying that's bunkum."
He said 68,000 immigrants aged 55 were entitled to super after 10 years' residence in New Zealand, on top of health and welfare benefits, he said. "They get the same as anyone who has paid taxes for 40 or 50 years in this country but if anybody raises that or when I raise it we are called racist and xenophobic."
He said New Zealand First would give all SuperGold card holders three free GP visits each year and a 10 per cent discount on their power bills through the winter months and he turned the screws on political parties using the coat-tailing provisions.
He said Mana Party leader Hone Harawira's "$3 million pre-nuptial" with the Internet Party was obscene and the political right were no better with five parties looking to use the same provision.
"These two sides so despise each other or have their own serious political agendas, [they] seek to abandon any principle to defeat their political enemies."
Grey Power president Roger Hennebry said Peters was always a "friend" of the apolitical movement and the only one to get any benefits for over-50s.
"If the public can get him back on we would be interested in more of these things that Grey Power see as essential," he said.