Retirement Commissioner pleased a fix found to help stranded superannuitants

The Retirement Commissioner is pleased a temporary solution has been found to help superannuitants stranded overseas facing a threat to their New Zealand Super payments.


Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commissioner Jane Wrightson has been advised by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) that superannuitants can now apply under section 27 of the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001 (NZSRIA) to not have their pensions stopped nor repayment demand issued.

“Last week I asked MSD to give special consideration to superannuitants overseas who could not return to New Zealand because of the closed border.

“I support New Zealand’s longstanding policy regarding restrictions on pension payments when pensioners are overseas for long periods. It is a policy that is fair in ordinary times, but one that does not envisage the extraordinary cards Delta has dealt.

“This is not a simple matter, and I was hoping MSD would use its discretionary power to manage this urgently. I am very grateful to hear MSD has taken a pragmatic approach to this complex issue.

“Many people have contacted me over the past few weeks with their stories, and others who have also been advocating on their behalf. Together we all made a principled case for change.”

MSD will proactively reach out to people who have already sought advice on their situation to let them know about the Ministry’s reconsideration of people who went to Australia during the travel bubble.

The Ministry is encouraging superannuitants who travelled to Australia between 19 April 2021 and 24 July 2021 and who have been unable to return home to apply for portable payments under section 27 of the NZSRIA.