Everybody can become a victim
The Government's propaganda machine, describing people who claim their fair share of NZ Super on top of their contributory overseas pensions as double-dippers at the expense of the poor New Zealander who has never resided outside of the country, is working rather well. The reluctance of the media to report on the fight of pensioners who are subjected to the Direct Deduction and Spousal Provision policies in an open and fair way, is another obstacle to spreading the truth. Uninformed, biased stories about the admittedly difficult issue do not contribute to more clarity either.
So the picture of greedy immigrants is drawn, totally ignoring the fact that more and more born and bred New Zealanders are affected by Section 70. Tomorrow it could be you, or your son, or your daughter, or your grand-children who work overseas for a good number of years and then return to New Zealand to start a family or just because they feel homesick - or they just fall in love with someone who is entitled to an overseas pension.
Then the drama unfolds for Kiwi families who yesterday talked the Government's talk, and suddenly realise how the policies really work, and that this has nothing to do with greed and envy but simply with often huge monetary contributions made overseas, contributions no New Zealander was ever forced to make back home.
You are never too old to be hit by Section 70
Oh, and let's not forget happy Kiwi retirees who are on full New Zealand Superannuation. Love does not stop when you retire from work. What about a divorced or widowed Kiwi pensioner who decides to see the world after age 65, and meets his or her soulmate in the USA, in Canada, in France or in Germany? Or he or she meets a foreign tourist holidaying alone in New Zealand, and they fall in love?
You can bet that no such New Zealander has an idea of the existence of Section 70 of the Social Security Act.
The two retirees move in together in New Zealand or even marry. It's not long before they get the shock of their lives: if the new partner has a nice overseas pension, WINZ stops the Kiwi's payment of NZ Super from one day to the next, or only pays a fraction of the full rate. Suddenly this New Zealander understands what Direct Deduction and Spousal Provision mean. It can hit any New Zealander, and he or she will not be treated any better than an immigrant. And it has nothing to do with the contributions to the New Zealand tax base and society either. Suddenly all this does not count anymore.
Therefore the first step of our fight is to share all the information we have collected over the years, and to tell people who are willing to look into the issue how it really is. We show you the other side, the true facts behind the Government's polemic approach, giving uninformed Kiwis the impression all we want is to ruin the state.
New Zealand should live up to its image
It is important to us to give you the unbiased views of the retirement experts of the University of Auckland who are above any doubt of being biased towards one or the other side. They have done an incredible lot of research over many years and urge the Government to review and reform the pension system. Even they say that the Government's policy is inconclusive, unfair, and applied at random, and that changes are required to restore New Zealand's international credibility and reputation.
Launching this website is only a start. More action is needed. If you feel strongly about the issue, have a look at our Support Pension Protest page to find out what you can do. Our goal is to create a unified front against the injustice that is Section 70, and fight it more efficiently. Start by writing letters and emails to editors and parliamentarians, make your protest being noticed and heard. Tell people that not everything in New Zealand is green and clean or paradise-like, and that not all people are nice and friendly, especially if they are parliamentarians or the chief executive at the Ministry of Social Development.
New Zealand should have higher ambitions than only to pretend to be a country of fairness and justice. It has to live up to the image it presents to the world.
Not every fight in the capital is against the Government...