Pacific radio news

Pension portability a step closer to reality

Pensioners living in the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau could soon have access to their superannuation, without having to leave their island nations.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced proposed changes to New Zealand's superannuation requirements for pensioners living in the Realm countries.

Winston Peters announced the proposed changes to the New Zealand Super eligibility in the Cook Islands. Photo/ Tagata Pasifika -Sanele Chadwick.

Under the current system, people must have lived in New Zealand for five years after turning 50 to be eligible for New Zealand Super. 

The issue was brought up by Niue Premier Toke Talagi during the Pacific Mission's trip to the Rock.

Mr. Peters says it'll help level the playing field for people living in the Realm countries.

Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni says they're optimistic the changes will be set in place by 2019.

"It's already gone through Cabinet just quietly," she says. "It's a piece of work that I've been working on with MSD and so it will be ready to go to the House I think at the end of March."

"It should be completed around October or November which means it will be introduced at the latest January 2019."

Ms. Sepuloni says the Government wants New Zealanders from the Realm countries to be able to go back home and contribute to their economies.