The Retirement Commissioner says governments have to act now to ensure the viability of superannuation if the elderly are not to go begging in the streets in future.
Diana Crossan has been told by the Government that a response to her 2007 review of retirement policy will be delayed until next year.
Ms Crossan says by 2032 there will be twice as many people over the age of 65 as there are now.
She says decisions need to be made sooner rather than later on whether the eligibility age needs to be raised and the level of payments lowered.
But Finance Minister Bill English says the Government is not compelled to respond to the Retirement Commission report on income policy.
Mr English told Ms Crossan a response would come after her next report in 2010, to take into account fresh figures on the Government's long-term finances, due in October.
He says National Party policy is for no change to eligibility age or levels of payment, but it accepts the issue of superannuation in the coming decades is a political hot potato.
Mr English says a government would not set out to create uncertainty in the middle of a recession, when there is already so much "fearmongering" around superannuation.