March 09, 2017
Identity risk in superannuation debate
A Maori demographer says the Government's plan to raise the eligibility age of superannuation by 2040 ignores the existing gap between Maori and non-Maori life expectancy.
Professor Tahu Kukutai from Waikato University's National Institute for Demographic and Economic Analysis says Maori and especially Maori men are less likely to reach the age of 65, let alone 67, and they can expect to collect super for four years less than their Pakeha contemporaries.
But she says a two tier system, as suggested in some quarters, would be difficult to implement and unfair.
"We've got a significant amount of diversity within te ao Maori so there are issues of equity there as well, and probably once you start targeting on the basis of say ethnicity or identity, the state will try to police those boundaries around identity. Who is Maori and who can qualify for early retirement becomes a very tricky issue," Professor Kukutai says.
What would make the biggest impact on Maori superannuation would be an aggressive focus on reducing the preventable mortality of middle aged Maori and especially Maori men.
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