22 Jun 2015

Cook Islands wants NZ to go further on Super

7:52 pm on 22 June 2015

The Cook Islands has reacted negatively to the passing of the Social Assistance Bill in the New Zealand Parliament.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna

Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna Photo: Phillipa Webb / Cook Islands News

The law now allows people wanting to return home to the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau to apply for New Zealand Superannuation from those places, instead of just from New Zealand.

However, they will still have to abide by the usual superannuation eligibility rules, that is, people must have lived in New Zealand for at least 10 years after turning 20, five of which must be over the age of 50.

The Prime Minister, Henry Puna, says the rule requiring people to live in New Zealand for five years over the age of 50 should be dropped.

New Zealand's Social Development Minister, Anne Tolley, says people previously had to be 'resident and present' in New Zealand when they applied for Kiwi superannuation, but now they can return home at 55 and work in the islands before applying for the pension at 65.

But Mr Puna says the rules do not encourage younger Cook Islanders to return home to contribute to nation-building, and the arrangement penalises those who have contributed to New Zealand's economy.

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