In October 2008 Green Party spokeswoman Sue Kedgley wrote her party's stance on Section 70 in a letter a pensioner forwarded to us.
"... we needed to finalise our policy on this issue. I am replying on behalf of the Green Party as Superannuation Spokesperson.
The Green Party policy is:
'To restrict the dollar for dollar abatement regime on overseas pensions to apply only if the overseas pension is paid from overseas government schemes funded through taxation (similar to New Zealand benefits); and treat income from contributory overseas pension, superannuation and savings schemes no differently from other income for benefit abatement purposes.'
The Green Party agrees with you that it is unfair the money you contributed from your wages into a pension scheme overseas is being taken from you because the New Zealand Government cannot differentiate between contributory or government pension schemes.
Let me assure you we will continue to lobby the Government on this issue on your behalf."
Keeping on the issue
You can trust that the Green Party's view has not changed a jot. In a speech at Parliament in May 2009, Sue Bradford confirmed that the Greens will keep on the issue and demand justice for New Zealanders with overseas pensions.
Here are some excerpts from the speech:
"This matter has been raised time and time again by people aggrieved by the fundamental unfairness of arbitrarily missing out on the benefits of contributory pension funds that they have been part of, often for a substantial part of their working lives, because of the unfair provisions imposed by Section 70 of the Social Security Act.
The issue is really quite simple. If overseas pensions are paid from taxation revenue gathered by overseas governments, as New Zealand Superannuation and benefits paid under the Social Security Act are, then a dollar for dollar deduction is quite appropriate. But if a portion of the revenue for such overseas pension schemes is from contributions by employees, then the dollar for dollar deduction is simply unfair. Whether an overseas government, or a private fund, administers the scheme should be an irrelevant consideration.
The previous Government promised for most of its tenure to address this issue. Legislation was promised to be introduced in the last Parliamentary term. When this Bill (note: the 2009 Amendment Act about Portability) was introduced, I expected the Bill to address the issue. It does not, and both New Zealanders living overseas and contributing to pension schemes administered by overseas governments and immigrants to New Zealand who have contributed to such schemes for many years before coming here will continue to be unfairly penalised unless urgent action is taken.
I have heard National members talking about this in a most sympathetic and understanding manner in years gone by when they were in Opposition. I hope that in this new Parliament we might see some progress made on this broader and more significant problem.
I invite the Minister (note: Paula Bennett) to consider amending this Bill to address this issue as an option, and invite her to meet with me to discuss ways in which the gross unfairness of section 70 of the Social Security Act can be most readily addressed. If the National Party remains true to the statements of its spokespeople when in Opposition, this is an issue we can work together on."