New Zealand's Retirement Framework: trends, continuity, change

New Zealand's Retirement Framework: trends, contin…
12 Dec 2012

The New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001 requires the Retirement Commissioner to review the retirement income policies being implemented by the Government at three yearly intervals (s.83). The next review is to take place in 2013.

The Commission believes that the review will be more effective if participants have a good sense of the history of retirement income policy: understanding the history will inform the debate about future directions. The history in this report is not intended to be overly academic or descriptive. It looks at the policy objectives, principles and operational characteristics that have evolved over time, to provide some policy context for those who want to participate in the review.

The history of New Zealand’s retirement income framework, or parts of it, have been analysed by many erudite scholars. There is an unavoidable level of repetition in a report that goes over old ground. This report tries to synthesise existing documentation and stand back to focus as much on the durability of retirement income policy settings as the detail of who did what and when to tinker with it.

The paper:

  • describes the history of the main structural changes in New Zealand’s retirement income framework
  • reviews the policy principles that have guided debate on it and
  • canvasses initiatives to change it that have not endured

It is possible to look at the retirement income framework through (at least) three different "lenses"

  • what it is designed to achieve
  • the instruments through which objectives can be pursued
  • the criteria against which it is evaluated


Page last modified: 15 Mar 2018