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NEWS: Things are moving

The Swiss take on the fight - the EU awakens
  • December 2017: New page in the Fight section of this website

It is high time to update you on a few issues surrounding the fight against the confiscation of employer/employee-funded overseas superannuations in New Zealand.

As we have a new government under the new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand, there is a shimmer of hope that there will be changes to Section 70.

Time to remind Jacinda Ardern of her promises of 2012 and 2015 to review the unfair treatment of pensioners with employer/employee-funded overseas superannuations, and NZ First and the Greens of their policies which clearly state that the deduction of contributory overseas pensions should stop.

  • The EU talks about New Zealand
We are delighted to report that at the International Forum in Brussels on 05 October 2017 the German representative of the Ministry of Work and Social Affairs (Ministerium für Arbeit und Soziales) told the EU member states that it would be a good opportunity to revisit the issue of Section 70 with New Zealand and demand change.

  • The Swiss give a shining example
We have been in touch with the Swiss Embassy in Wellington and have been assured that they are working hard on the issue and don't tire to discuss it at the highest political level.

Due to deduction of contributory Swiss superannuations from NZ Super, the first chamber of the Swiss Parliament (Nationalrat) rejected an agreement about the automatic information exchange about bank accounts (AIA) with New Zealand last year (2017). During the debate in September New Zealand's attitude of funding NZ Super by abusing Swiss pensions was discussed prominently. Bravo Switzerland!

But, unfortunately, the last obstacle was not taken in December when the second chamber (Ständerat) voted on the exchange of information. Had they rejected it, too, the Bundesrat would have been forced to start negotiations with New Zealand on a Social Security Agreement. A missed chance. An article about the decision (in German): https://www.srf.ch/news/schweiz/austausch-von-finanzdaten-aia-mit-neuseeland-und-40-weiteren-staaten-besiegelt

This will, however, not change the attitude of the Swiss ambassador and embassy in Wellington.

We should encourage more foreign embassies, high commissions and consulates in New Zealand to follow suit and take Switzerland as a shining example.

  • Update January 2018 and June 2019: More countries are becoming active
In the meantime (January 2018) we have been contacting a lot of foreign embassies, high commissions and consulates in New Zealand, and we can report that now more countries are working on the pension issue. 

The problem with foreign representation in New Zealand is that ambassadors and important staff change every few years and they don't know what's really going on in New Zealand. What we can do is tell them the truth about pensions and demonstrate to the New Zealand government that it is not an internal affair if they abuse foreign retirement schemes, migrants and returning Kiwis to fund NZ Super.

In early 2019, we met with the ambassador and one of the consuls of another European country who has taken up the fight against Section 70.

  • Deceiving the UN
On a separate page you'll find the dissection of Crown Law's response to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations (UN), which followed a complaint of a group of pensioners to the UN about the discriminatory deduction of contributory overseas superannuations by the New Zealand government.

The UN had rejected the complaint, lodged in 2014, after receiving this document full of misrepresentations and omissions without going into any detail. We wonder if they have even had a close look at the content of the complaints.

The New Zealand government's response, written by Crown Law, had been signed by then Social Development Minister Anne Tolley who probably didn't know or suspect that the document was such a compilation of dishonesty.

One of our community of anti-Section-70 fighters took on the huge task of dissecting Crown Law's response, and sent an appeal to the UN - which never even acknowledged that it had received the couriered letter. We wonder if this is the way the UN works in other fields, too.

Find the documentation here (click link).

  • Fight against Spousal Provision at the Human Rights Review Tribunal
There is an ongoing fight against the policy of Spousal Provision. New Zealand's Human Rights Commission has accepted the complaints of a group of pensioners who have sued the Ministry of Social Development - which used their usual delaying tactics to hold up the process. But the Human Rights Review Tribunal rejected further delays. 

After endless exchanges of documents the case went to court (Human Rights Review Tribunal) in early March 2018. Now we need to wait a few months for a verdict - or up to two years... 

The hearing started on Monday, 5 March, in Wellington and went until Wednesday, 14 March. The three plaintiffs and another affected pensioner gave evidence at the Tribunal at 86 Customhouse Quay (Level 1), Wellington. The Crown had two MSD officials giving evidence.

Find the three plaintiffs' statements in the Victims section of this website:
Malcolm Larsen: A much-diminished Man
Donna LaFauci: Lost Independence

  • Revelation about Chinese pensions
One pensioner has made the effort to read up the history of Chinese pensions which are not deducted from NZ Super. He has found out that, despite being called enterprise pensions, the Chinese pensions are - despite MSD's claims of the contrary - social security pensions and administered by or behalf of the government. In economically poor rural areas the Chinese government even tops up these enterprise pensions. More details about this topic soon.

Anyway, this pensioner now has an even better case in claiming that he is discriminated, as he is not treated the same as Chinese pensioners, and even more so as no Social Security Agreement between New Zealand and China exists which would exclude the Chinese pensions from the application of Section 70. Good luck!

Read more about the nature and history of Chinese pensions on this page:



The report on the Spousal Provision hearing in front of the Human Rights Review Tribunal (HRRT) is now available:
(click link)

Spousal Provision to go
from 1 July 2020
As part of the 2019 Budget the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has made contradictory announcements about ending the Spousal Provision from 1 July 2020. However, in a statement to the NZ Herald Minister Carmel Sepuloni confirmed that this part of Section 70 will be discontinued under the condition that the law change passes Parliament. 

The confusion started because only the WINZ website clearly stated that a persons's overseas pension won't affect their partner's NZ Super any longer, suggesting that the Spousal Provision will be discontinued. The statements on the MSD website could be interpreted in the way that the deductions only stops for pensioners whose partner is not qualified for NZ Super in their own right. So far we have not received any explanation for the numbers mentioned on the MSD website.

Another change - which we consider fair - is that non-qualified partners cannot be included in NZ Super payments any longer after 1 July 2020. However, those who are already receiving payments for their non-qualified partner will continue to receive these payments until their circumstances change (e.g. separation and new non-qualified partner).

Detailed information on the WINZ website:
The information on the MSD website: