22 Sep 2017

Māori views 'essentially left out' on super age hike - TPK

3:53 pm on 22 September 2017

The government's decision to raise the pension age would have "significant impacts" on Māori, and there was a lack of public consultation, Te Puni Kōkiri says.

The Retirement Commissioner is still pushing for the eligibility age to rise.

The Retirement Commissioner is still pushing for the eligibility age to rise. Photo: AFP

The National government announced in March it was raising the pension age from 65 to 67 in six-month increments from 2037 to 2040.

Documents obtained under the Official Information Act (OIA) show the Māori Development Ministry, Te Puni Kōkiri, was concerned about the lack of consultation on the proposal which it said would have "significant impacts" on Māori.

"We consider the Crown has clear obligations to consult with Māori before making final decisions about changes to superannuation eligibility.

"Given the complexity and significance of the issues in relation to the timeframe provided we consider the paper should state that Te Puni Kōkiri has been informed rather than consulted".

It also said Māori had lower life expectancy than Pākehā, persistent and intergenerational poverty, and low home-ownership rates, and a higher proportion of Māori were in physically demanding jobs that could not be done beyond age 65.

Documents also showed ACC "does not appear to have been consulted" on the proposal and that it would have "significant cost implications" for it.

In June, document's obtained under the OIA showed the Ministry for Pacific Peoples also objected to the plan because it would hit Pacific communities disproportionally hard.

Green Party MP, Marama Davidson.

Marama Davidson Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Green Party Māori development spokesperson Marama Davidson said it was unacceptable for the government not to consult properly on something that would have such a big impact on Māori.

"Māori views were essentially left out of this decision-making process.

"This is just more evidence that National doesn't take Māori views seriously and we need a new government with a commitment to put te Tiriti at the heart of all important decision making.

"Te Tiriti is not about ticking boxes, it's about sitting down and working through points of view to achieve outcomes that everyone agrees on.

In this case, National has clearly failed," Ms Davidson said.

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