11. and 14.09.2017
Reminding politicians of promises and policies
This time I write to you because of the upcoming General Election in New Zealand and Winston Peters’ call by email to sign a petition regarding the “Abolish Section 70 campaign”.
It has come to my attention that some pensioners have involuntarily donated to NZ First, or at least more than they wanted, because of the confusing setup of the petition website. Therefore just let me say that I find it more than strange that signing a petition can lead to such confusion that some people think they have to donate to make their vote count. This would be a reverse election bribe: bribing a politician to represent us. The more we donate, the more we will be represented in Parliament.
I have contacted NZ First on the issue and have been told that no-one has to donate to NZ First in order to make their voice count and that “Winston Peters just wants as many signatures as possible”.
Still the question remains why no confirmation is received when someone just signs the petition, either directly on the site or by email, as is the case with any other petition site, e.g. www.change.org.
If you think NZ First and Winston Peters deserve your donation, you can BTW also donate less than NZ$ 25 by putting a lower amount into the individual donation box under the suggested amounts (which start at NZ$ 25).
The other question is why Winston Peters suddenly needs a petition signed to find out how many people are affected and/or how many are annoyed by Section 70 (about 89,000), and if he intends to only find the issue unfair and worth fighting for justice if enough people forward their email addresses for “communication” from NZ First.
It is also quite amusing that NZ First has only remembered last minute that people whose overseas pensions are confiscated by the New Zealand government are voters in the General Election, too. I wonder if Winston Peters is panicking after his own superannuation debacle.
We are, however, not clear about the details of NZ First’s policy on Section 70. It is clear that they propose to abolish Section 70 – which is what we all want. However, at the same time they suggest to raise the residency requirement for NZ Super from 10 to 25 years.
Here you find the devil in the detail because there is no hint if someone who has resided (and usually worked and paid taxes) in New Zealand for 24 years will receive any NZ Super at all or – as it works with Portability if you move overseas – a proportional amount of NZ Super, reflecting the years of residence in New Zealand.
Leaving someone who has contributed to New Zealand’s economy for e.g. 20 years and not pay them a cent of NZ Super would just raise the injustice to a higher level instead of alleviating the unfairness of Section 70 that rips off immigrants and returning Kiwis who are abused by the New Zealand government for funding their own NZ Super while any Kiwi lazybone can cash in full NZ Super.
If you have not lived in New Zealand for more than 25 years, ask yourselves: would you be better or worse off if you had to live on your overseas pension and would not receive a cent of NZ Super? Would there be a safety net for immigrants and returning Kiwis who have lived here for e.g. 20 years and whose overseas pension is lower than NZ Super? These are questions NZ First have refused to answer. When I asked the questions I was insulted by Denis O’Rourke:
We are not clear on the effort the Labour Party would put into the issue if elected into Government. Interestingly enough, pensioners have been left out of all parties’ election promises and bribes, as if they didn’t exist.
Therefore I urge you to write to Jacinda Ardern, as she was the voice of us a few years back when she was Labour’s spokesperson for Social Development. We need to know if she still wants to fight this injustice which has been going on far too long. Personally I am not very optimistic that a Labour government would make changes anytime soon, as they have already allocated their entire budget on other neglected areas in this country. If elected into government, they might work on changes but they will not find the money in their first term, as NZ$ 350 billion a year would be needed to stop the direct deductions. We cannot expect more than compassion right now.
This is the link to Jacinda Ardern’s initiative in 2012 and more articles and opinion pieces on our website:
What is clear that under a National government nothing will ever change, and the worst about them is that they don’t even care. Just remember the nasty debate in Parliament:
While we have been in touch with the Green Party about their stance on Section 70 several years ago, and they fully supported the end of the direct deductions, I have no idea if their views have changed or not. On their website we can read their policies on cannabis, housing, same-sex and gender equality etc but under “Social Policies” there is no word on superannuation.
I see this as a sign that we are not loud enough, don’t complain enough, maybe a sign of resignation. We cannot allow the political parties to treat pensioners as if they didn’t exist, and surely not allow them to abuse immigrants and returning Kiwis as the cash cows of the domestic superannuation system.
United Future is gone, ACT is a one-man band and a lost party vote, the Maori Party has indicated that it finds Section 70 unfair … There is not a big choice to get our message through.
Unfortunately the NZ Seniors Party has not taken off, so we depend on other parties to fight for our cause. Look up their policies and make up your mind. Contact them, visit your local candidates, ask questions, make yourselves heard.
With that I leave you to make up your minds and hope that at least the Spousal Provision Part of Section 70 will be abolished soon (when the Human Rights Review Tribunal gets into gear), as it does not cost a fortune to stop it immediately.
This is an update to the www.nzpensionprotest.com newsletter I sent out a few days ago.
I got feedback from the Labour and the Green Party and have updated the Pension Protest website with all the information. You find it on the Homepage www.nzpensionprotest.com (right margin) and in the Section:
“Letters from Wellington” [Update Feb. 2018] in the meantime renamed into: The Actors in Wellington] under the respective parties.
While Labour has been very vague and were not even able to distinguish between portability and the Direct Deduction Policy, the Greens were crystal-clear that the theft of overseas pensions has to stop.
Labour: http://www.nzpensionprotest.com/Home/letters-from-wellington/from-the-labour-minister (Don’t be irritated by the name, it is from the Labour Party and Jacinda Ardern’s office)
We also got the news that NZ First has refunded donations to donors who went through the process several times because they didn’t get a confirmation after donating, and repeated it because they thought it had not worked.
After the complaints, the website has been adjusted. After signing the petition (Abolish Section 70) you are led straight to the donation page but it now says at the top: “Thanks for signing. Now, consider a donation.”
I think this is clear enough to not mislead people who have signed the petition into believing they have to make a donation in order for being represented.
I also wrote about the demise of Peter Dunne:
Now let’s wait for the result of the General Election and then see which next steps have to be taken.
(11 and 14.09.2017)
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