January 08, 2018
Pension plan to boost island development
Foreign Minister Winston Peters says fixing pensions for Cook Islanders and other people from New Zealand’s realm is a priority.
Mr Peters, who was in the Cook Islands to attend the wedding of fellow New Zealand First MP Shane Jones and Dorothy Pumipi, and to a Chamber of Commerce luncheon says changing New Zealand’s superannuation rules could help to address the population decline in the islands.
“The islands can handle more population but they need more jobs,” he said.
Current national superannuation rules have been a issue with realm countries, as their people working in New Zealand lose their entitlement if they return home before they are 65.
That denies those countries a great deal of capital and expertise .
Mr Peters said all New Zealand citizens should be treated the same whether they lived in New Zealand or the Cook Islands.
He intends to put a proposal for this year’s Budget.
He also promised to look into tertiary student fees, so students who returned home to work in a lower-wage economy would not have to meet the same repayment levels as those who stay in Aotearoa.
While the Cooks GDP is growing to the extent it may be taken out of the ranks of developing countries, Mr Peters said “it is the New Zealand government’s responsibility to give aid to the Cook Islands regardless of their economic success.”
Such aid was a way to discourage the involvement of “less desirable” countries.
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