The 2013 Review
Focusing on the Future was the title of the Retirement Commission's 2013 Review of Retirement Income Policies.
It drew on a mix of background papers, submissions, analysis and other research, and aimed to raise public awareness of retirement income policy issues.
The final report to Government was tabled in December 2013.
History and trends
New Zealand's first age pension was introduced in 1898. Since then, our system of retirement income has evolved and adapted as times have changed. The papers below describe the broad global, national, financial and historical context for today's retirement income policies.
New Zealand is not alone in addressing issues related to retirement income policies. Other countries have responded in different ways but there are also similarities. These papers offer some international comparisons, with a particular focus on Australia and New Zealand.
This section describes New Zealand's current system of retirement income, including the contribution of wider policies and programmes, and outlines the key outcomes achieved by the system.
Note: The above paper received just one peer review.
This paper analyses the consequences of expanding New Zealand's retirement income framework on a save-as-you-go basis rather than on a pay-as-you-go basis.
KiwiSaver is now over seven years old, and as time goes on the scheme will assume greater importance in the retirement income framework. This paper gives an update on how things are progressing with KiwiSaver.
New Zealand Superannuation Fund
Financial literacy in retirement income
Housing is a crucial pillar of New Zealand's retirement income policies. This paper discusses a number of issues which will need to be addressed if New Zealand Superannuation is to continue to provide a broadly adequate income for older New Zealanders.
Note: The above paper received just one peer review.
Working longer to boost retirement income is an option taken by many older New Zealanders, and our workforce participation rate for over 65s is very high by international standards. This paper describes how employment is an important element of New Zealand's retirement income framework.
Women’s retirement income prospects
We commissioned research into women’s retirement income prospects to feed into the 2013 Review.
Women’s financial wellbeing and net worth in retirement are influenced by a variety of contextual factors and by decisions that women make during their life spans. Women tend to face more constraints than men in accumulating adequate wealth for retirement and on average, women’s net worth is lower than men’s.
Looking forward there is a risk that inequality of outcomes could be exacerbated with the increasing significance of KiwiSaver – a workplace-based savings scheme – for New Zealanders’ retirement income.
Factors likely to impact on women’s financial wellbeing in retirement
Based on preliminary research, the Commission has hypothesised ten factors thought most likely to carry risks of negative impact on women’s financial wellbeing in retirement, and is working with the Treasury and Ministry of Women’s Affairs to test these hypotheses.
The ten factors thought most likely to carry risks of negative impact on women’s financial wellbeing in retirement are:
The family, neighbourhood and community the woman was born into
Education including subjects studied, specific training, paid work experience while studying and level of access to on-going training and professional development while in the workforce
Visible and invisible structural factors in the workplace including pay structures and lack of flexibility that inhibit the promotion of women
Paid work response to breaks in earning including attitudes to health conditions, timing of family formation, child bearing, elder care and other life-cycle choices
The ages at which women are most available to focus on paid employment and the nature of paid employment opportunities and earnings level, i.e. the ease and timing of entering and leaving the workforce (e.g. in specialist professions)
The nature of the household unit (e.g. solo parent households, the majority of which are headed by women) family formation, career development, support from marriage/partnership, other family, friends, whānau and the community
The endowment a women may have been provided with or may take away from a relationship breakup
The extent to which savings schemes address life cycle changes in a fully gender neutral manner
Level of home ownership and other asset accumulation, levels of debt and skills at debt management, net worth and retirement prospects taking into account greater average longevity for women
A variety of cultural and ethnic factors that may exacerbate disadvantages for women
Key issues: an updated literature review
A summary of key issues from the literature on women’s retirement income (Heathrose Ltd).
Four women’s stories: a comparative analysis
A comparative analysis of women’s retirement income using the stories of four women in the workplace (Heathrose Ltd)
How gender-neutral are New Zealand superannuation schemes?
To what extent do individual superannuation schemes in New Zealand address needs for retirement income in a gender-neutral manner? (M. Dwyer)
Property (Relationships) Amendment Act 2011: Are separated women more disadvantaged than men?
Research into whether separated women are more disadvantaged than men by the provisions of the Property (Relationships) Amendment Act 2011 was carried out by members of the Faculty of Law the University of Otago. A key finding is that the law on division on relationship property seems to be working well and that social reform, rather than legal reform, is required.
The impact of cultural factors on women's retirement income
Many of the factors thought to disadvantage a woman’s ability to accumulate net worth are universal. Issues such as pay structures, breaks in earning and single parenting are not the preserve of any culture. However, the financial wellbeing of ethnic women in New Zealand can also be affected by traditional values, roles and expectations. There is often a tension between these and “Western” ways of doing things, particularly in respect of retirement savings.
Income and expenditure in retirement
Many New Zealanders will accumulate financial resources to help sustain them when they retire from paid employment. However, there is debate on exactly how much is needed for an adequate retirement. Links below show three different scenarios on levels of spending in retirement.
Less attention is given to how those resources are actually managed in retirement. Click on the links below for discussion on issues surrounding decumulation and managing income in retirement.
The Retirement Policy and Research Centre has also published a paper:
2013 Review submissions
Submissions and opinions
The 2013 review of retirement income policies discussion document was published in October 2013.
The recommendations were debated publicly and we sought feedback in preparation for submitting the final review to Government on 12 December 2013.
Responses to Focusing on the Future
Below are some of the comments received.
The closing date for initial submissions to the 2013 review of retirement income policies was 31 May 2013. Below are some of the submissions received.