Retirement Life
29 November 2022

Keep superannuation entitlements unchanged

The age of eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation (NZ Super) must remain unchanged at 65, according to the Retirement Commissioner Jane Wrightson.

And the threshold for getting the Accommodation Supplement should be amended to make more elderly people eligible for it. 


These are two key recommendations put forward in Wrightson's 2022 Review of Retirement Income Policies, which was unveiled this week. 


Raising the age of entitlement for NZ Super has often been politicised, Sir John Key said not on my watch, followed closely by Jacinda Arden, who said again, not on my watch. Historically, National Party has twice campaigned to gradually raise it to ease its long-term costs. And just this morning Leader of the National Party, Christopher Luxon, has committed to raising the age from 65 to 67.


One thing we are clear on, Wrightson believes the age of eligibility to access NZ Super should remain the same. Alternatively, if the age is raised then a more complicated system will need to be considered to reduce the inequity that a change to the qualifying age would bring. 


“Any increase to the age of people accessing NZ Super will only further disadvantage women, Māori, and Pacific People,” she said. 

Project your fortnightly, tax-paid, retirement income

In her report, Wrightson cited lower life expectancy for Māori than average, meaning many did not collect the pension for nearly as long as Pakeha and other New Zealanders.  Increasing the age of entitlement would make that disadvantage worse. 


In her report, Wrightson said 40% of people aged 65 and over had virtually no other income besides NZ Super and another 20% had just a small amount more. 


That was a problem even for people who own their own home, but was even worse with a projected increase of elderly renters. 


To deal with this problem the report recommends, the Accommodation Supplement should be made easier for retired people to get. At present, the Accommodation Supplement is means tested to people with cash assets below $8,100. Wrightson said this had not been raised for almost 30 years. 


“We recommend that the Government increase the cash asset test for the Accommodation Supplement to at least $42,700 per person and consider whether annual inflation adjustments are appropriate,” she wrote. 

This review was aided by 16 pieces of research by academics and analysts.  It has come up with a series of other recommendations. Including spending in retirement, which is what Lifetime Retirement Income is all about, helping retirees spend with confidence in the knowledge they know their retirement income will last there lifetime.


Getting to retirement with a nest egg that can help supplement your income requirements, is only the first step. Drawing down the capital safely through retirement life is the next step.


As the leading provider in retirement income solutions, Lifetime knows the struggles those in retirement face when it comes to generating income from their retirement savings (also known as decumulation).

Take control of your retirement income

How do I invest? How much do I draw? How long will I live? And if you have access to an actuary and an excellent investment manager, who will both review your situation each year. Then congratulations, you are good, but we would suggest 99% of the New Zealand population does not have access to these resources.


All New Zealanders, have access to Lifetime Retirement Income’s Online Retirement Income Projector – free of charge. Developed with the support of both expert actuaries and investment managers, its free to us and updated regularly.

Photo of Eric Frykberg
Written by:

Eric Frykberg

Semi-Retired, Eric worked in journalism for 45 years across print, radio and television, in New Zealand, Australia and Britain. He has specialised in business, finance, energy, mining, transport and agriculture. He was also foreign correspondent for RNZ for many years. He can be reached on

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