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From United Future

The Great Pretender unmasked himself - and left
Update 14.09.2017

United Future is no more. After miserable polling results its leader and one-man band Peter Dunne stepped down four and half weeks before the General Election on 23 September 2017 and quit politics altogether. He was the Minister for Internal Affairs in the National-led New Zealand government.

Dunne who had been the MP for Ohariu in various forms since 1984 and was the longest serving continuous MP in Parliament said:

"The current political environment is extremely volatile and unpredictable. However, I have concluded, based on recent polling, and other soundings I have been taking over the last few weeks, that, the volatility and uncertainty notwithstanding, there is now a mood amongst Ohariu voters for a change of MP, which is unlikely to alter." 

His opponent in the Ohariu seat was Labour candidate Greg O'Connor. A Colmar Brunton poll in the week before his retirement showed O'Connor leading on 48 per cent support, compared to Dunne's 34 per cent.

The man who shut up to stay in power

In the text below you will see what Peter Dunne, United Future's one-man band, told us for years and years: that employer/employee-funded overseas pensions should not be touched by the New Zealand government.

He held speeches in support of retirees with such overseas pensions, written letters of the same content and, in 2011, even re-iterated his stance at the launch of his party's superannuation policy (see right margin).

However, over time he evaded straight answers in order to keep his ministerial post in Prime Minister John Key's, then Bill English's cabinet. In blunt words: he shut up to keep smelling the scent of being in power. 

Finally, on 16 September 2015, he unmasked himself as The Great Pretender. Together with National and Act showman David Seymour, he voted down the first reading of the "New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income (Pro Rata Entitlement) Amendment Bill" because it was tabled by NZ First member Denis O'Rourke.

This voting down meant that the discussion about NZ Super and the Direct Deduction Policy (Section 70) ended before it even started. The discussions in Select Committee could have addressed inadequacies. Peter Dunne even blocked this. 

We do not need MPs like him. High time United Future disappears from New Zealand's political landscape. Nearly no-one wants him and his party, they hover between 0 and 0.1% support, and still he holds so much power. This is just wrong. And it is even worse that such a guy has been swimming in the tide forever. (Update September 2017: wish fulfilled ...)

More about the despicable 2015 NZ Super debate, follow the link to the Fight page.

More about Peter Dunne and United Future

For those who do not know a lot about New Zealand politics, United Future was a kind of one-man party that was represented in Parliament because its leader, Peter Dunne, won his electorate seat (Ohariu-Belmont).
 
Originally a National MP, then a Cabinet minister in the Labour Government, Dunne switched allegiance from Labour to National after the 2008 election.
 
In a letter he wrote in August 2008, forwarded to us by a pensioner, Peter Dunne supported our cause:
 
"United Future has been following the debate over the provisions of Section 70 regarding the treatment of overseas pensions with considerable interest.
 
We think that the provisions of Section 70 should only apply where the overseas pension in question has been fully funded from general tax revenues.
 
Overseas pensions that are based on either a compulsory individual contribution or are in the form of a national insurance scheme, or which may be a combination of both, and are deemed to be equivalent to a national pension should be exempted from the requirements of Section 70 and should therefore be paid in full to the recipient without impacting on the entitlement to New Zealand Superannuation.
 
This would mean that the only pension arrangements to be captured by the provision of Section 70 would be national taxpayer-funded pension schemes in other countries. Contributory pensions, regardless of whether they are on a compulsory national basis or not, and private pensions, in our view, should be exempted from the provisions of Section 70."
 

 
The Portability of Overseas Pensions
 
In the December 2010 newsletter the Western Bay of Plenty Grey Power group published a speech of United Future's leader Peter Dunne in which he outlined his stance on Section 70 of the Social Security Act:
 
"Whenever I speak at Grey Power meetings I am inevitably asked about what can be done to ensure those who contributed to pension schemes while living and working overseas, can access that money in retirement, while still getting their full entitlement from the NZ Superannuation scheme.
 
I would like to make clear my position on this important issue. The problem is a bit complex as there are two types of retirement funds.
 
There are government-funded universal superannuation schemes (like the NZ scheme), where the government puts aside money to cover the future needs of all those who will reach the age of retirement, whether they work or not. 
 
There are funds that are built by private contributions, deducted from the income of wage-earning individuals.
 
It is important to note that in New Zealand, some folk are covered by both approaches. They choose to contribute privately to some sort of managed fund with the intention of enhancing their income from the government scheme.
 
Currently, Section 70 of the Social Security Act limits recipients of any national pension from overseas sources in what they are entitled to from the NZ Super scheme. The problem is that some overseas pension schemes are taxpayer-funded - like the NZ Superannuation - and others are funded by private contributions.
 
In United Future's view, the provisions of Section 70 should apply only where the overseas pension in question has been fully funded by general tax revenues.
 
Overseas pensions that are based on either a compulsory insurance scheme, or which may be a combination of both and are deemed to be equivalent to a national pension, should be exempted from the requirements of Section 70 and therefore should be paid in full to the recipient without impacting on the entitlement to New Zealand Superannuation.
 
This would mean that the only pension arrangements to be captured by the provisions of Section 70 would be national taxpayer-funded pension schemes in other countries. Contributory pensions, regardless of whether they are on a compulsory national basis or not, and private pensions should, in our view, be exempted from the provisions of Section 70."
 
 
 
 
 
On 21 July 2011 United Future's leader Peter Dunne re-iterated at the launch of his party's superannuation policy that contributory overseas pensions must be exempted from the Direct Deduction policy. He states that people who have paid into such overseas schemes should be rewarded for the responsible planning of their retirement.
 
Here is the full wording:
"Exempting those who have themselves contributed to overseas pension schemes from the provisions of Section 70 of the Social Security Act, which currently deducts the amount of their overseas pension from their NZ Superannuation entitlement, thereby penalising them for having provided for their own retirement. Section 70 should only apply where an overseas pension has been fully funded from general tax revenues. (This policy change would currently allow about 52,000 superannuitants to reap the benefit of responsible planning for their retirement.)"
 
Dunne also suggests to make KiwiSaver compulsory and give people the choice to retire between age 60 and 70, paying less to those who retire early and more to those who retire after age 65.
 
For more information click on the headline link.
 
 
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