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Act, Greens Back Call To Suspend Superfund

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Feb 25 NZPA - ACT and the Green Party are backing calls for the Government to consider suspending payments into the Superannuation Fund.

The fund, started by former finance minister Michael Cullen to offset the cost of pensions from 2020, stands at $12 billion and the Government puts in $2 billion a year.

But its investments lost money last year and the Government's books are in the red. It would have to borrow to maintain its contributions.

Superannuation expert Michael Littlewood was the first to suggest the Government should suspend payments.

Prime Minister John Key reacted on Monday when he said the cabinet had not discussed the fund and the Government was committed to maintaining its contributions, but he did not guarantee that would continue beyond the next budget.

ACT leader Rodney Hide, whose party has a support agreement with National, said today it was silly to borrow money and load future generations with debt for a fund that was going to end up with a net loss.

And Greens co-leader Russel Norman said any responsible government would reconsider contributions.

"I think people will understand we're in a very difficult position," he said on Radio New Zealand.

Labour opposes suspending payments and party leader Phil Goff yesterday called on the Government to make its position clear.

He said people in their 30s, 40s and 50s could be put at extreme risk of being left short in their retirement if there was any tinkering with the fund.

United Future leader Peter Dunne also said it would be a bad move to suspend payments.

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