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Letters to Wellington

Greedy bigots make a travesty of Human Rights
Letter from Bob Newcombe (http://migrants-to-nz-beware.info/) to National's Communications Advisor Cameron Cotter before the General Election on 
20 September 2014:

Dear Cameron Cotter,

Your understanding and acceptance of the direct deduction of our pensions from our entitlement to New Zealand Super, shows your lack of knowledge or even caring about the effect of this direct deduction by outdated 1938 Section 70 of the Social Security Act has upon the quality of our lives.

The fact that two Ministry of Social Development reviews in 2004/2005 of the legislation brand it as unfair and discriminatory and which seems not to register with most MPs or most likely beyond their comprehension.

The Human Rights Commission commissioned a review of Section 70 from the Retirement Policy and Research Commission at Auckland University and which also agrees, yet with all this evidence against the government with MPs like you keep the rort going.

Even John Key in public in 2008 admitted that if we have paid for our pensions, which we have, we should keep them and then ignored the problem, but there you go, that's politics for you and especially John Key, he of convenient memory loss.

The IRD recognises that the UK state pension pension for women which is drawn by women here at age 61 as earned income, yet on entitlement to NZS, Section 70 reclassifies the pension as a benefit and therefore subject to direct deduction.

Even the most ardent supporters of this injustice can't fail to see the discrepancy and unfairness involved.

David Cunliffe is publicly on record admitting he has been approached by constituents about the unfairness and true to form ignores the complaints but has admitted that Section 70 needs revising.

The mantra that you, Paula Bennet and other bigoted MPs trot out is a travesty of our Human Rights and at a time when you MPs have your snouts in the tax payers trough to the tune of around $38,000 added to your pensions pots, money you have not earned whilst the pensions that we have are taken off us.

The evidence is overwhelming, you only have to have to dig deeper into the subject to understand the facts and they are not too difficult to understand so perhaps even you might be able to do so.

As you probably know, NZ Super is unaffected by any amount of wealth, incomes, pensions or assets yet for the 64,000 of us, it is not true.

In a nutshell, we are the only group in society that is forced to pay for our NZS out of incomes we have worked and paid for, so there you are Cameron, it is as simple as that and yet you say it is fair.

The UK government for decades ran the same kind of injustice but this time against men entitled to its State pension and other aged related benefits.

State pension age: men 65, women 60.

Free bus pass entitlement: men 65, women 60.

National Insurance contributions ends: men 65, women 60.

Prescription charges end: Men, 65. Women 60.

On the death of a husband, women a widows pension.

On the death of a wife, men on their own, no widower's pension.

Like our fight here for justice, the same fight against the injustices in the UK all failed because of the closed minds of MPs like you.

Consequently, two equal rights groups in the UK, Liberty, https://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/ and Parity http://www.parity-uk.org supported men's challenges against these injustices in the European Court of Human Rights and the British government LOST ON ALL COUNTS.

So you see Cameron, bigoted greedy governments like yours, can be beaten.

The way to do it is to drag it before a higher international Human Rights Courts and that is why a group of us have submitted a complaint against the New Zealand government to the United Nation's Human Rights Council and with all the evidence of the reviews, forced release of emails from civil servants to MPs warning them that Section 70 is outdated and wrong, we are confident we will win, so be prepared to wash egg off your face.

Nicky Hager's book shows National for what it is, a slimy, self serving, souless entity, a total stranger to equality and fairness, friend of the wealthy and corporations and we accept that justice will never come from MPs like you, but you know Cameron, life like politics it can take unexpected turns.

National may well need New Zealand First and United Future to stay in power and both these parties are against the injustice, we await the election with great interest.

And finally if as we expect, the UNHRC finds in our favour, we will push the Council to force the government to repay the billions of dollars legally but immorally stolen off us.

Have a nice day, enjoy your MP perks, goodies and ever bloated pension pot.

Kind regards,

Bob Newcombe,


Twitter: @nzpensionvictim

Letter to the Human Rights Commission (HRC)

Another letter from Bob Newcombe worth reading, sent to the Mediator of New Zealand's Human Rights Commission (HRC) on 29 November 2018. 

It was the reply to a response from the Mediator regarding Newcombe's complaint against the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) for treating Chinese pensions differently to other overseas pensions. The Mediator was happy with the Ministry answering Newcombe's letter and said that for them the case was closed because their process was "impartial dispute resolution".

"Dear XY,

Thank you for your email and your reply was as expected.

In no way did I or indeed many of us expect any resolution via the Human Rights Commission, it is just a step in the process.

I have failed previously at the Human Rights Review Tribunal for help and it was because my complaint did not fall within the bounds of the HRA [ = Human Rights Act].

Section 70 has been fought right through the courts which do not not judge a case on Human Rights, merely on the law applied as it is, and as I have said S. 70 is  applied simply if an overseas government pension is government-administered, no funding by government or self is of importance.

My complaint is different, it is based on similar funded pensions being treated differently. Chinese Social insurance pensions are exactly the same as others from around the world and especially UK state pensions. Whether they are government-administered or not by the Chinese government is really immaterial, the law is an ass, discrimination is being applied because of race.

The official document I supplied clearly states that Chinese pensions are funded by social insurance contributions from both enterprises and workers, and have been so since the mid 1900s.

Also the fact that the Ministry of Social Development applies its own outdated and discriminatory legislation is a cause for concern for it is indeed mistreatment of so many of us elderly, something the Commission has also ignored.

As for the Human Rights Review Tribunal, it is a joke, an appalling one at that. Here we have 3 panelists chosen by the Minister for Injustice, in our case, having to make a decision about an obvious case of Human Rights abuse by the government, no independence here either.

For a decision like this to take at least getting on for a year shows how pathetically inadequate and cruel our so called Human Rights appeal procedures are.

Coupled with the fact that the Bill of Rights has no teeth and is totally disregarded by politicians who care not a jot for us victims of this state crime as now shown by the continuing of the rort by Prime Minister Ardern and Foreign Secretary Peters who both promised change.

I thank you for your time ineffective as expected but one day you may realise as you and society become more aware of how cruelly we elderly are treated, that the Commission is as guilty by inaction as are the politicians by their inaction, too.

I will attempt the next step, the HRRT and then beyond until hopefully the discrimination practised in favour of Chinese pensioners over New Zealand-born and immigrated citizens comes to an end.

My answer has been delayed because as a British State pensioner, one of nearly 65,000 impoverished by the law, and when I say UK state pensioner that does not require British citizenship to be one, many NZ-born who have worked in the UK and like, anyone else is entitled to its pension by way of contributions, the pension is recognised as property under international and UN law.

For that reason I wrote to the Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights as to whether I can take a case against the UK because the NZ/UK Social Security Agreement 1985 Article 15 gives New Zealand the right as it has under Section 70 applied to all other overseas govt pensions to means-test UK State pensions against NZ Super, we victims of Section 70 are the only group in society to be means-tested for NZ Super. The super-rich themselves with with billions of dollars in assets and millions in income retain NZ Super at the full amount, such is the discriminatory nature of the law.

I duly received application papers from the Registrar giving the go-ahead with a nominated case number.

The fact that this agreement predates the MSD/RPRC reviews condemning Section 70 as unfair and discriminatory brings New Zealand into the case as well. It is not well known that NZ and the EU have an agreement too, in it it is written that both entities uphold the the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

This New Zealand certainly does not because 15 of us, as you know, took New Zealand to the United Nations Human Rights Council whereby the government had to lie through its teeth to defeat us.

Whilst the ECHR [European Court of Human Rights] may not be able to judge NZ's abuse of our Human Rights, I have also made the Court aware by sending all the government reviews and evidence to prove indeed NZ knowingly applies unfair law; 25 documents in total.

As New Zealand is pushing for a free trade agreement, I found it important that the EU knows just how New Zealand treats EU pensions unfairly as well, the Human Rights Review Tribunal hearing you mentioned was about German and Norwegian pensions, I do not know what the 4th was. [Editor: It was about German, Norwegian and US pensions.]

My complaint regarding my UK State pension (yes there are three state pensions) was not made as a UK immigrant but as a New Zealand citizen since 1974.

This will be an interesting case if taken up, who knows it might not be so but I have great faith in the Court having witnessed its dealings with the UK over its also discriminatory pension law which gave women the pension at age 60 with all the associated social benefits whilst making men wait until 65, an obviously - even to the totally blind - case of gender discrimination.

Like NZ's intransigent Section 70 scam, the UK government fought tooth and nail to keep it going but signed up to the EU Convention of Human Rights where upon the equal rights group of Parity, of which I was a member, and Liberty supported mens' challenges against the law and in every case the UK was defeated. That is why men got the same social benefits at 60 and now the women's pension age has risen to 65.

From that lesson, I believe, NZ will only come into the 21st century of Human Rights when Section 70 is defeated offshore, that is why I organised the UNHRC challenge only to be defeated by an inadequate Council of 58, many of whom are representatives of Human Rights abuse countries themselves.

It may be an empty effort on my part but nothing ventured, nothing gained, I may be pushing up daisies like the many tens of thousands of Section 70 victims before me and who over the decades have been robbed of tens of billions of dollars worth of pensions they should have received. But hey, who knows, in my limited time left on this earth I may yet see justice.

I have no further interest in the Commission

Kind regards,

Robert Newcombe"

This is the letter a pensioner received from Cameron Cotter and Bob Newcombe refers to:

"Seniors have worked hard and deserve to enjoy their retirement. That’s why, in the past six years, National has supported seniors by increasing all rates of Super by 28 per cent. This is significantly higher than inflation of 15 per cent, and for a married couple, means an extra $249 a fortnight.

National is committed to maintaining support for Seniors by keeping Superannuation linked with 66 per cent of the average wage and keeping the eligibility age at 65. This is a promise Prime Minister John Key has made to New Zealanders.

Regarding the specific issue of the direct deduction policy, the Government is committed to supporting superannuitants including those who live in New Zealand but may be eligible for an overseas pension.

The direct deduction policy ensures equity between the rate of superannuation paid to New Zealanders who’ve lived here their whole lives, and to migrants who are eligible for both an overseas pension and New Zealand Superannuation."

Cameron Cotter is even wrong by claiming NZ Super is at 66% of the average wage. It is at 66% for a couple, meaning for a single pensioner it is at 33%.

This standard letter is proof that things are not getting fair only by repeating the same rubbish over and over again. And it would be even worse if this man believed what he wrote.