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The Government will progressively lift the age of eligibility for NZ Superannuation from 65 to 67, starting in 20 years’ time, Prime Minister Bill English announced today.

“New Zealanders are healthier and living longer so adjusting the long-term settings of NZ Super while there is time for people to adapt is the right thing to do,” Mr English says.

The changes will be phased in from 1 July 2037 and will not affect anyone born on or before 30 June 1972.

Even after the change, someone who retires at age 67 in 2040 is likely to receive NZ Super for longer than someone who retires at age 65 today. That is because average life expectancy is increasing by about 1.3 years each decade.

The change will be legislated for next year.

“This Government has a strong track record of supporting older New Zealanders. Since 2008 weekly payments to superannuitants have increased by 35 per cent after tax while inflation has increased by 14 per cent.

“Gradually increasing the retirement age from 2037 will more fairly spread the costs and benefits of NZ Super between generations, ensure the scheme remains affordable into the future and give people time to adjust,” Mr English says.

“It will also bring New Zealand into line with other countries like Australia, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany and the United States which are all moving to a retirement age of 67.”

There will be no change to the universality or indexation of NZ Super.

Mr English says the Government is announcing the change now so that political parties can debate superannuation transparently in the lead-up to the election.

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