24 Feb 2014

No change on super policy

9:10 pm on 24 February 2014

Finance Minister Bill English says the Government would not be lifting the pension eligibility age despite support for the measure by other nations at the weekend's G20 summit.

Bill English during the G20 meeting in Sydney.

Bill English during the G20 meeting in Sydney. Photo: AAP

At the start of the meeting of finance ministers and central bankers talks in Sydney, Australia's Treasurer Joe Hockey said Canberra was considering widespread structural reforms to improve growth, including raising the eligibility age from 65 to 70.

Mr English told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Monday that other countries are considering similar moves, but National has always said it would not lift the age at which people could claim superannuation, and that position remained.

"In Opposition we gave some very firm undertakings about not changing it and it's really a matter of trust now. If the Government was to alter its position on it then people would ask whether we believed all the other things we said."

Mr English said other countries were in much worse financial shape than New Zealand, which is why they were considering the move.

But the Labour Party's finance spokesperson, David Parker, says that is a mistake.

"I think that National's pretence that the age for eligibility for superannuation doesn't need to increase looks increasingly dishonest. You just need to see what's happening in the United Kingdom, most of Europe and now Australia to see that responsible governments give plenty of advance notice of the need to gradually increase the age of eligibility for super."

Mr Parker says Labour will go into this year's election campaigning to raise the age to 67. He says its policy will also include providing support to those people who have to retire earlier because of the physical nature of their work.

The Green Party wants to keep the current age, but says it is open to having a discussion.

G20 aspires to faster economic growth

At the summit The world's top economies embraced a goal of generating more than $US2 trillion in additional output over five years while creating tens of million of new jobs.

The final communique from the two-day meeting said they would take concrete action to increase investment and employment, among other reforms. The group accounts for around 85 percent of the global economy.

In the statement the G20 said it aimed to lift collective GDP by more than 2 percent above the trajectory implied by current policies over the coming five years.

Mr Hockey sold the plan as a new day for cooperation in the G20, Reuters reports. "We are putting a number to it for the first time - putting a real number to what we are trying to achieve," he told a news conference. "We want to add over $2 trillion more in economic activity and tens of millions of new jobs."

The targeted acceleration would boost global output by more than the world's eight largest economy Russia produces in a year.

The growth plan borrows wholesale from an IMF paper prepared for the Sydney meeting, which estimated that structural reforms would raise world economic output by about 0.5 percent per year over the next five years, boosting global output by $US2.25 trillion.

The IMF has forecast global growth of 3.75 percent for this year and 4 percent in 2015.

As yet there was no road map on how nations intend to get there or repercussions if they never arrive. The aim was to come up with the goal now, then have each country develop an action plan and a growth strategy for delivery at a November summit of G20 leaders in Brisbane.