NZ not about to remove all restrictions on Superannuation

New Zealand is not about to remove all the restrictions on people in Niue, the Cook Islands and Tokelau wanting to qualify for New Zealand Superannuation.

Toke Talagi Photo: RNZ/ Sara Vui-Talitu

This comes after the premier of Niue, Sir Toke Talagi, wrote on his Facebook page that it is discriminatory if people from the islands have to spend time on the New Zealand mainland to qualify.

He said this amounted to two classes of New Zealand citizenship.

But the Minister of Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni, said the distinction was based on where the recipient resided and paid taxes, and it is fair.

“There‘s no expectation and there‘s no consideration of this to be an expectation that any of our realm countries (Niue, the Cook Islands, Tokelau) pay taxes to New Zealand and so as it stands, the legislation states that when you pay taxes to New Zealand for that certain period of time, then you get access to the social security system which is funded by the taxpayers, and so that is where the distinction is laid,” Ms Sepuloni said.

Last week the New Zealand parliament heard the first reading of legislation that would allow people from the realm countries to qualify for superannuation without having to be in New Zealand for five years after the age of 50.

They would still be required to have lived and worked here for a minimum of ten years after the age of 20.

Ms Sepuloni was confident the legislation would be passed and put into action early next year.