In the 1970’s under Norman Kirk’s government New Zealand had a chance to set up a fund that could have played a major part in keeping New Zealand at the forefront re caring for its citizens. I am talking about the Superannuation scheme that would have by some estimates had nearly NZ$300 billion in the ‘kitty.’ What happened?---why politics intervened of course and we all remember (Those of us old enough, that is) the dancing Cossacks and other shenanigans, put up by those opposed to the scheme and the subsequent rejection by the ‘voters,’ all in the name of political greed and survival. NZ’s long term future did not come into the debate, that which emanated from the then opposition National Party. Muldoon successfully played into the selfish part of the NZ psyche; the one that hates ‘Nanny State,’ and ‘being told what to do’, even if it is for the benefit of future generations.
Now, we face the possibility of not being able to fund the ‘retirement expenses for many NZers, as the cost of housing, particularly in Auckland and other big cities, is fast approaching a point whereby owning one’s home is just a pipe-dream. Many would say that we have already reached that stage. Forget about a comfortable retirement, unless you have invested in the Kiwi Saver programme at a rate above the minimum level. So we have two major factors, housing affordability and retirement needs that are falling short of the mark. What are politicians doing; you know, those people we put into power to come up with policy that helps to meet our needs and provide for us when we ‘can’t?’ Oh, I forget; there is a groundswell coming from the ‘Right’ that says the Government has no part to play in how people make decisions about their futures.’ Politicians of all hues have an underlying tendency to put their short term survival above the needs of New Zealand as a whole, despite their protestations and verbal espousals to the contrary. Can’t you hear them wiggling in indignant ‘self-love,’ and denial of my words?
While politicians ‘do their thing,’ especially in this important election year, ‘WE,’ the public need to hear real plans that propose to come somewhere near (in proportion, that is) the level of investment our Aussie cousins across the ‘ditch,’ have manage, re the fund they have achieved by having a robust scheme that has gone a long way to meeting the needs of their citizens. I do not think that our politicians are any less as human beings, but what is it that has put us in the position we find ourselves now----facing a future for our elderly, that means we are going to look like we DO NOT CARE about the future?
It is time to stop pussy-footing around re this extremely important issue. The debate needs to happen fast and be taken to the wider community, because we cannot trust our politicians to think in terms, other than that of their own political survival. We do not want to listen to—‘but we have tried to get a scheme in for games, but ‘they’ won’t join with us.’ It is time that ordinary citizens took responsibility to put aside our own selfish ‘I want money now,’ idea and bit the bullet, suffer a little short term ‘adjustment pain,’ and got on with preparing for a better and more prosperous retirement. That message must be rammed through to our politicians. Will we do that, or do politicians mirror a ‘here and now’ mentality that has pervaded NZ for quite some time? This year, 2014 is our chance to get the balance back.