4 May 2012

Labour changes policy on Super Fund

9:04 pm on 4 May 2012

Labour Party leader David Shearer has announced a Labour-led government would not restart contributions to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund until it could afford to do so.

The party's policy at the 2011 election was to restart contributions immediately but Mr Shearer says New Zealanders made it clear they were uncomfortable about Labour's proposed rate of borrowing.

Mr Shearer said three-quarters of that borrowing would be for the Superannuation Fund.

"Our feeling was that as we go forward and reposition ourselves in our economy what we needed to do was to make sure that we had the confidence of New Zealanders, but also that we were able to show that we are managing the economy thriftily."

Mr Shearer says the party is sticking with its policy of raising the age of superannuation eligibility to 67.

He said Labour has decided that until the books are back in surplus, any new spending would have to be paid for out of existing budget provisions, new revenue or by re-prioritising.

Sensible decision - Greens

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says Labour's decision go back on its policy of restarting contributions to the Superfund is a sensible move.

Mr Norman says the National Government was right to stop contributions to the Superfund while it was running a deficit, and he is pleased that Labour has changed its position.

"I think it's a sensible move by Labour, it was always very strange that they wanted to borrow money to put it into the Cullen Fund, and I'm glad that they've seen common sense on it."

Three years to figure out - Key

Prime Minister John Key says it has taken Labour three years to figure out what the rest of New Zealand knew a long time ago.

"It makes no sense to borrow billions of dollars from overseas to put into a savings bank. What we have to do is get the country back in to surplus, when we do that, we can start saving for rainy day."