National Party shadow treasurer Andrew Bayly is now shepherding the bill through Parliament. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Stricter residency rules for entitlement to New Zealand Superannuation will be a step closer when Parliament votes to change a member’s bill on Wednesday.
The bill will require people to have been in New Zealand for a minimum of 20 years since the age of 20, instead of the current 10-year minimum (including five years since the age of 50).
But instead of a sudden change from requiring people to spend 20 years instead of 10 years, the Finance and Expenditure Committee has proposed a phased approach to the residency rules, according to birth date.
It means that all people who turn 65 on or after July 1, 2022, will face a residence test longer than the current 10 years. But only those who turn 65 on or after July 1, 2040, will face the full 20-year requirement.
The changes are set to be passed in committee stage on Wednesday, and passed into law later this month.
The universal state-funded pension, or the Veteran’s Pension, is paid to people aged 65 and over.
The committee is also proposing changes to ensure that recent changes relaxing rules for the payment of superannuation to people returning to realm countries (Niue, Cook Islands and Tokelau) are not disadvantaged. It has proposed that residence in the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau count towards the increased time requirement.
The bill, the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income (Fair Residency) Amendment Bill, has the support of all parliamentary parties, except for the Greens.
It is in the name of National MP Andrew Bayly. It was New Zealand First policy originally announced by leader Winston Peters and then promoted in a bill by former New Zealand First MP Mark Patterson. With New Zealand First out of Parliament, it was picked up by National.
The phased-in proposals set to be passed are as follows:
Age as at June 30, 2021, and Residence requirement (after age 20)
64 and over … 10 years
62–63 … 11 years
60–61 … 12 years
58–59 … 13 years
56–57 … 14 years
54–55 … 15 years
52–53 … 16 years
50–51 … 17 years
48–49 … 18 years
46–47 … 19 years
45 and under … 20 years
The committee is also proposing that the stricter rules not apply to older refugees who have no control over when they are accepted into the refugee quota programme.
It says the current 10-year residence requirement should remain in place for a person who become a resident at age 55 or older; and it is proposing for refugees who start living in New Zealand between 45 and 55 there would be a middle ground between 10 and 20 years.
The Green Party believes that extending the time that people have to live in New Zealand before receiving superannuation is likely to increase poverty among senior citizens.