Super age doesn’t have to increase

I’m not opposed to the idea of increasing the age of eligibility for superannuation.

When it was introduced it wasn’t universal and life expectancy was quite a bit lower than it is now.

However, increasing the age of eligibility isn’t necessarily the best way to afford to maintain superannuation as it is.

Jacqui Dean: What does the report say about the costs of meeting superannuation, and how does this compare with the benefits of sound fiscal management?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: The report shows that increasing the age of eligibility from 65 to 67 for national superannuation makes a difference of around 0.7 percent of GDP by 2030. The report also shows that maintaining the Government’s fiscal strategy of returning to surplus with moderate increases in spending and investment and better public services through to 2020—just 7 years from now—will reduce net Government debt from around 50 percent of GDP to under 10 percent of GDP. So, clearly, managing Government expenditure well has a much bigger impact on our future debt loading than small adjustments to national superannuation.

This strategy isn’t without risks, however.

Jacqui Dean: What alternative strategies for fiscal management would put the Government’s progress in reducing debt at risk?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Well, of course, we get to reduce debt once we get to surplus, and once we get to surplus we need to make sure that we do not spend those surpluses on ineffective public services but that we do spend them on reducing debt. Alternative strategies that would make it harder would be those that we inherited as a Government from when Government debt was forecast to reach 50 or 60 percent of GDP simply on the basis of loose and wasteful spending by the previous Government.

If we want first world services and support we need first world incomes and that requires policies and management that foster an environment for growth.

Those disenchanted with the government like to say there’s no difference between National and Labour.

But the National-led government is doing a far better job of managing public money, while maintaining services, in difficult financial times than Labour managed when the rest of the world was booming.

A surplus is in sight and once it’s achieved we have some choices over what to do with it.

LabourGreen want to spend more, National wants to reduce debt to ensure the economy is on a much stronger foundation to weather future storms than we were for this one.

Even if Labour can sort itself out, does anyone seriously think they’d want, let alone be able, to reduce the burden of government while maintaining services as National has?

16 Responses to Super age doesn’t have to increase

  1. AngryTory says:

    We’re not a first world country – we don’t have (and can’t afford) first world services.

    You’re quite right – dropping the super age is putting out a deckchair on the titanic. What we need to do is just stop super – not just for new people but for everyone for ever!

    Then we need to get rid of the rest of the benefits, govt heath & govt education.

    Then – surprise surprise – the government will be in surplus and will be able to return that surplus to the 5% of Kiwis who created it by paying for everything for everyone else

    National super was a communist scheme from the start. It’s lasted far too long and needs to end. now.


  2. Andrei says:

    Ele – you are not seeing the wood for the trees.

    It is not about the money needed for an aging population it is about the people needed to support them.

    You can’t eat money and money will not wipe your aged bottom for you

    And while if there are a lot of younger people you can use your money to pay them to produce the food and to maintain your personal hygiene if there are not, because they haven’t been born and/or they have left for greener pastures you are in trouble.

    In days of yore, when people died younger anyway, comfortable declining years were entirely dependent upon how many children you had raised – we have broken that connection, perhaps even reversed it so that the childless are better off in later life than those who have invested families and people are not investing in their young.

    We are a dying civilization because we have not been and are still are not investing in our young on a personal level


  3. TraceyS says:

    “We are a dying civilization because we have not been and are still are not investing in our young on a personal level.”

    That statement is condemning of all the good work going on by parents, educators, grandparents, organisations, and others. And of all the progress made since I was a child which means my kids have a very bright future ahead of them.

    The biggest threat to humans is declining fertility. A problem with unknown causes.


  4. Andrei says:

    The biggest threat to humans is declining fertility. A problem with unknown causes.



  5. Andrei says:


    In the year ended December 2012:
     14,745 abortions were performed in New Zealand, the lowest number since 1995 (13,652).

     The general abortion rate was 16.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years, down from 17.3 per 1,000 in 2011.

     Women aged 20–24 years had the highest abortion rate (29 abortions per 1,000 women aged 20–24 years).


  6. TraceyS says:

    I should have said “declining male fertility”. Women making their own decisions over when they have babies is not the cause of this.

    Nor are family choices or sexual orientation the cause either.


  7. Andrei says:

    Oh Tracey even if that were true, a matter on which I’d be highly skeptical, it wouldn’t matter in terms of maintaining the population because….

    … because the reproductive bottleneck in the human species is the female.

    i.e. One male can potentially sire hundreds of thousands of children but to achieve this would need hundreds of thousands of women willing to bear his offspring. We use this property in animal breeding – no?


  8. TraceyS says:

    It’s wise to be skeptical Andrei, and so I am skeptical of your forecast gloom.


  9. Andrei says:

    and so I am skeptical of your forecast gloom


    New Zealand’s population is ageing, due to sustained low fertility and low mortality rates. Latest national population projections (series 5) indicate that the median age of the New Zealand population will be 43.5 years in 2061. At 31 March 2012, half of New Zealand’s population was over 36.9 years, compared with 34.8 years a decade earlier.
    Median age for females has increased more than for males over the last decade. The median age is now 38.1 years for females and 35.6 years for males. Median age for females has increased by 2.5 years over the last decade, while for males it has increased by 1.7 years. The lower median age for males largely reflects their lower life expectancy. On average, males can expect to live 79.1 years, compared with 82.8 years for females

    The age structure of New Zealand’s population has changed over the last decade. At 31 March 2012:
    Children (aged 0–14 years) accounted for 20 percent (892,900) of the New Zealand population, down from 22 percent in 2002.
    The younger working-age population (aged 15–39 years) remained the largest population group (1,500,700), and accounted for 34 percent of the total population, down from 36 percent in 2002.
    The older working-age population (aged 40–64 years) made up 32 percent (1,430,900) of New Zealand’s population, up from 30 percent in 2002.
    The population aged 65 years and over (aged 65+) accounted for 14 percent (605,800) of New Zealand’s population, up from 12 percent in 2002.

    The writing is on the wall Tracey – and bear in mind people such as myself who have raised and educated children loose them overseas and why not.


  10. TraceyS says:

    That’s wise of you Andrei, but I made no forecast, only saying that it was a threat. Whereas you wrote:

    “We are a dying civilization…”

    Really? We have an aging population and every knows that and we are all dying from the minute we’re born, but a dying civilisation? Why don’t you try looking for hope instead.

    And I’d like to hear your solutions sometime. On second thoughts, maybe not.


  11. Andrei says:

    I made no forecast, only saying that it was a threat.

    Correction: you said “The biggest threat to humans is declining fertility.

    and then you went on to utterly ridiculous claim it was males loosing their fertility that was behind this decline.

    Humanity are not going to go extinct from declining fertility but civilizations and cultures will die as a result of it – to be replaced by more fecund ones. That is Darwinism in the raw

    See Tracey there are 892,900 kids under 14 who will have enter the work force in the next 20 years, the ones that aren’t deadbeats that is – and some will leave for greener pastures and some will die before then. That is life

    But there are currently 1,430,900 who will be leaving the work force in that time – some of them wont live that long but most will

    Rough and ready but the relative size of those two cohorts demonstrates what your kids are facing as they embark on Adulthood. That is the problem that our generation has bequeathed to them.


  12. TraceyS says:

    “As shown In Fig 1C, average sperm counts reported in large numbers of men in 101 studies across the world have shown a progressive decline since the 1930s–1940s”.

    This does not support your unsubstantiated criticism of my comment, Andrei.

    “There will also be the social impact of an ageing population, and an existential impact of whether future generations will come into being at all.” (Sharpe, 2012)

    The article cites 29 references. Why don’t you read it.

    Click to access Sharpe12-EMBO-Reports.pdf

    If you are worried that children are not valued in the present, that is certainly set to change if these reported trends continue.


  13. Andrei says:

    Tracey – I’ve looked thru that article and cannot find the methodology used to reach their conclusion. I’ll read it more deeply later

    But on cursory reading it seems that the reason they believe this is couples presenting at infertility clinics and certainly I have never had my sperm count measured and whatever it might be now don’t matter because it was clearly adequate for the purpose when it was needed.

    Be that as it may both my grandmothers married at 17 my grandfathers were 19 and 22. My parents were 20 and 26 a little older than their parents. Now here’s a surprise – none of them had fertility problems – OBVIOUSLY because I am here along with my siblings who have produced 17 grandchildren for our parents between us – our youngest brother is childless by choice – that’s ok the rest of us are fecund enough to cover for him

    Now here’s the thing the average age of “first marriage” in NZ is 29,2 for men and 27.3 for women that’s a whole decade and multiple sexual partners (or so we are gleefully told) later. And if it is true about the multiple sexual partners it is also true that implies multiple chances of exposure to STIs which have implications for – wait for it – fertility in both men and women.

    Fertility declines with age, that’s no secret, the longer you delay starting your family the more likely you are to hit a fertility snag, this isn’t rocket science.

    I actually find it curious that you are focusing on a supposed decline in male sperm counts when we live in a time where women are deliberately inducing infertility during their prime reproductive years with hormones and then trying to conceive after their fertility has started to decline naturally – sometimes long after and with men whose fertility is also likely in decline from age and/or disease.


  14. TraceyS says:

    Look at Chart C on Page 2 and tell me that the trend isn’t worrying. The author also suggests that decline sperm count is a negative overall marker for men’s health.

    The study acknowledges the impact of couples (not just women) leaving it longer to conceive. This does compound problems. I have often considered what advice I will give my children as they approach adulthood and there will be some encouragement not leave things too long.

    Be curious all you like, but this is not a matter of blaming one sex over the other. The article is very balanced and careful not to make frightening predictions.


  15. Andrei says:

    Look at Chart C on Page 2 and tell me that the trend isn’t worrying.

    Done as you have asked Tracey

    The trend isn’t worrying…..

    ….. because the chart is JUNK

    Its data source is a paper published in 1992 whose data source was any papers the authors of that 1992 paper could find that had collected sperm samples and had done sperm counts. Who knows why the original samples in each case were made or from whom they were drawn, at what time of year and in what country.

    In reality the vast majority of young men are perfectly capable of siring children and the vast majority of young women of carrying the conceived children their in their wombs.

    If you are really worried about the demographic crisis we are facing, which is not a result of declining sperm counts, then why do you support so called same sex marriages which by their very nature are infertile instead of encouraging fertile marriages between men and women and child raising in that set up – which is why we have marriage in the first place – that is TO RAISE OUR REPLACEMENTS


  16. TraceyS says:

    I’ve not looked closely at their methodology Andrei and never actually meant to provide a conclusion, rather a perspective to be considered. The article is careful not to make predictions but rather presents the observations of other researchers. You can get all hot under the collar if you like, but these processes can’t be perfect and it would be unrealistic to expect research to be entirely pure.

    And when did I ever say “I support same-sex marriages?”. I don’t care if same sex couples get married or not – that’s their business just as it is a couple’s business when, if ever, they decide to have kids, where, how, etc etc.

    The demographics are a concern and they will mean changes in the ways people live, eventually. I know the current demographics are not a result of declining male fertility and I never said they were. But this could be a serious compounding factor in the future. That’s all.


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