Inter-Generation Collaboration, Not Age-Based Warfare Needed To Defeat Neoliberal Scourge

By   /   March 9, 2017  /   60 Comments

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Earlier this week, several minorly amazing things happened. National decided to breach its nine-year commitment to leave the retirement age untampered with; Labour found itself with an MP in a leadership position whom the public actually seem to like; and I caught myself red-handed agreeing with David Seymour.

Earlier this week, several minorly amazing things happened. National decided to breach its nine-year commitment to leave the retirement age untampered with; Labour found itself with an MP in a leadership position whom the public actually seem to like; and I caught myself red-handed agreeing with David Seymour.

Having done a quick spot-check just to ensure that his (and my) home electorate of Epsom hadn’t frozen over, I then moseyed my way over to social media to see what everybody else thought of the week’s startling events – and in particular, the proposed increase to the pension age. 

The reaction was sadly, somewhat predictable. And by this, I don’t mean that a clear majority of the people I interact with were opposed to the age going up (because that vocal disapproval is anything BUT sad!).

Instead, I refer to this regrettable new trend of boldly declaring that any policy-set perceived to favour the older (‘Boomer’ and ‘Greatest’) generations in our society is somehow a manifestation of “Intergenerational Warfare”. Forget “Class Struggle” … this is now the apparent Dialectic Du Jour of the modern, trendy lefty.

Now this is not to say that English’s recently announced pension policy is fair or equitable. By allowing the (presumably more National-voting) older generations of today to retire at 65, yet ripping the rug out from under the Gen-Xers, Ys, and Millenials who’ll be looking to retire at or after the decade in which the policy actually comes into effect, National is cynically stating that they’re quite prepared to engage in some SERIOUSLY unrighteous policy-making. Particularly given they effectively intend on making us pay for the costs of a 65 retirement age which we younger folk will never, most likely, benefit from. [That’s the part I agree with David Seymour on, in case you were wondering]

But is this “Intergenerational Warfare”, as some have suggested? I think not. That would imply that there is a broad mass of ‘Boomer’ and ‘Greatest Generation’ members out there enthusiastically cheering on the idea that they’re somehow “winning” by continually impoverishing and short-changing their children and grandchildren.

Instead, what’s happened is the neoliberal ideologues who actually run our economy are making bad decisions. Bad decisions, to be sure, which fairly deliberately mainly negatively effect those whom they perceive as least likely to be able to effectively fight back against them.

And yes, it’s certainly true that a goodly number of the National Party Caucus who are presently pushing this change are, themselves, Baby Boomers. Just as was a fairly large proportion of the 2014 Labour Caucus who did likewise at the last Election. But this is tempered by the number of out-and-out Quisling young people (predominantly Young Nats), who seem to be looking forward with licking lips to being amongst the first New Zealanders to have to compulsorily work into their late-60s. It simply doesn’t seem to be adequate to state that all those in favour of this present policy are older New Zealanders – still less, that all those opposed are young people. Indeed, with New Zealand First leading the charge against the policy, to attempt to assert so would be blatantly counterfactual.

Let’s be clear about this. There IS a fault-line within New Zealand Politics that is presently screwing over young people. But it’s NOT a consciously Older-Versus-Younger one. After all, the trends I’m talking about seriously deleterious affect older New Zealanders, too! If they’re not already well up the property ladder, pensioners on fixed incomes do only marginally better than beneficiaries and probably worse than minimum-wage earning young people when it comes to navigating our new, dilapidated extra-neoliberal public services; and they’re much less employable, in some respects, than either of these other demographics.

Instead, the ‘fault-line’ is between those in a position to effect policy, and those locked outside of the system. Between those who’re able to benefit from the way our economy is structured, and those whose ongoing prosperity or survival seems continually undermined by same.

And that suggests that this calculated insistence upon casting X governmental policy decision as yet another battle in a war of Old against Young is classic “Divide And Rule” tactics from those in power. Because if we’re really busy exerting all of our energy into blaming each other (on EITHER side of the age-divide), then we far more easily lose sight of the REAL forces and factions ACTUALLY to blame.

It probably feels good for the disenfranchised of all ages to lob insults and sketch stereotypes of people a few decades apart from them chronologically. To blame parts of the housing crisis on smashed avocado toast or gerontocratic greed, for instance. This does not make it accurate. It also doesn’t actually help us to solve the problems being talked about.

What is needed is co-operation rather than conflict between generations with a view to stopping this monstrous neoliberal ideology once and for all. This does not mean ignoring the fact that particular manifestations of pernicious policy such as the proposed pension package are more unequal for some age-groups than others. But it does involve setting aside some differences of opinion – and the inevitable associated recriminations – in favour of pursuing shared advocacy for genuine solutions.

Once upon a time, as a much younger man at university, I was introduced to the idea of “cross-class co-operation” in a Marxist context. The idea there was that the challenges inherent in attempting to overthrow (or, at the very least, reform) the excesses of capitalism were of such magnitude that the working class by itself was unlikely to be able to achieve this. Which would thus necessitate the strategic co-operation with other classes in society in order to attempt to bring about meaningful change.

I am not making the case for some sort of Marxian insurrection here in New Zealand by drawing upon that point of theory.

But it does seem, when so much energy is taken up by young activists objectifying our older forebears into The Enemy, that there is something productive to be had in remembering that working WITH our parents and grandparents may, in fact, be the superior way to go about making our situation better.

For all of us.

Certainly, if we wish to be cynical about this, the National Government have already resoundingly demonstrated that they have precious little interest in actually engaging with the perspectives or the votes of younger New Zealanders. Yet they’re evidently potently paranoid about the possibility of losing support from the Older Generations (hence, presumably, their decision to defer raising the Age of Entitlement until persons thinking about retirement today are already WELL on their way to dotage).

Part of the answer to our present circumstance, therefore, does obviously lie with attempting to turn younger New Zealanders into the sort of high-turnout voting demographic which can make or break elections. But this is longer term thinking. In the short and medium term, the way to start the beat-back upon Neoliberalism is to foster inter-generational co-operation against it. Rather than, as some are wont to do, give in to the temptation to blame our forebears for policy-sets and governments which they may very well have played very little role in empowering. (It’s worthwhile to remember that our parents’ generation are also the ones responsible for the MMP system which we enjoy today, delivered as the fairly direct result of their cohort’s attempted fightback against the disempowering and ultimately unrepresentative FPP system which gave us first Rogernomics, and then Ruthanasia)

In any case, as noted above – much of the present Parliamentary-Political opposition to this raise in the retirement age for younger people is being driven by older New Zealanders (supplemented and assisted by many of the younger Parliamentarians). This represents a great example of the interests and advocacy of the two generational groups coming together in order to oppose Neoliberalism.

Long may it continue.

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"Part Apache; Part Swede. Part Attack Helicopter; Part Kitset Furniture."


  1. saveNZ says:

    In the short and medium term, the way to start the beat-back upon Neoliberalism is to foster inter-generational co-operation against it.

    Hear hear!

  2. frank says:

    nice to hear some common sense…sadly though for many of the (hopeful) players reasons of self interest, both personally financial and political (and I don’t mean “boomer” self interest) this line of thought is likely to be lost in the noise as that “intergenerational warfare” line gathers pace…..classic divide and rule.

  3. WILD KATIPO says:

    So many wise words there , Curwen,… time and again you drove the nail home.

    It is the exact antithesis to neo liberalism – unity – that will defeat it.

    I get a bit frustrated when I see commentators advocating yet more division. Especially those from the center left. It plays straight into the ugly ideology of the neo liberal . They thrive on division , in fact ,- their agenda rely’s on it to succeed.

    To rebuild this society , and to reject neo liberalism wholesale , – we need a govt by created by the overwhelming unanimous vote.

    And to do that ?… we need in tandem with vigorous cross party united front campaigning – a reeducating of just what neo liberalism is , its negative effects on a society and the destructive effects it has had on New Zealand society in particular.

    We also need a viable alternative.

    And I cannot think of a more viable working system than such as the Scandinavian country’s use currently.

    Social Democracy and a Keynesian based economy.


    And I can tell you right now – there are far more wealthy Scandinavians than there are New Zealanders per head of population… and that DESPITE a workable welfare state.

    In fact they currently have many of the things this country had prior to the 1984 Roger Douglas years of Treason.

    Therefore now more than ever before ,… we need unity and cross generational cooperation to dethrone the neo liberal liars and wretches. And if this general election ousts this current pack of anti sovereignty globalists… the importance of unity will become even much MORE important post election than pre election as massive undertakings will be needed to be done to restore this nation to its true and rightful heritage – that being of the public of New Zealand.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      100% WILD KATIPO.

      We see a emerging strategy between Labour and the opposition parties so we want to see NZ First in there as NZ First has many good policies that support us kiwi’s.


  4. Tom Gardner says:

    A nuanced piece, thank you. But I still have concern about the bottom-line, and knowing that several other countries that have age pensions have moved, or incrementally will be moving, to age 67; and of course, people are, and will be, living so much longer. It will have to be paid for; NZ is no different. Although the idea of a 2% tax on everyone, to fund super, is not a bad idea.

  5. Phil Toms says:

    Thank you Curwen. It is of course the globalists who are pushing this agenda, regardless of the fact that jobs are disappearing to the 3rd world or are being done by machines. It is an assault on humanity.

  6. ALH84001 says:

    So once again the baby boomers get full super at 65, while the millenials wait an extra 2 years? Gosh, what’s wrong with that picture??

    By the way, how much did Bill English pay for his university tuition? Near-fucking-zero, that’s how much.

    • Patrick says:

      Play fair Alh and some numbers.
      Your comments are silly as they don’t match the facts.
      When NZ super started in 1977 the starting age was 60, so in my working life the entitlement age changed by 5 years – two and a half times the number you complain about.
      What you obviously also don’t understand is that for the first 30 years of my working life tax rates were very much higher than they are today. That’s how free university education was funded combined with the fact that as a % of population university attendance was much smaller than today. We also had to contend with high rates of interest on borrowings.
      When you people get to 67 you will be living years longer than we are now, but the costs of prolonging your lives will be horrendous.
      Spare a thought to how this will be funded.

      • What you obviously also don’t understand is that for the first 30 years of my working life tax rates were very much higher than they are today.

        Actually, ALH48001 makes a valid point and you have countered with a half-truth. The top marginal tax rates were initially high, but were dropped through seven successive tax cuts. The last five of those cuts were made after student fees/loans were introduced in 1992.

        So the Millenials are being saddled with high student debt; unaffordable housing prices; and now having to work two years longer than baby boomers. It’s like having two classes of citizens in this country.

        So you can spin it any way you like, Patrick, but facts are facts.

        • WILD KATIPO says:

          Salvo !

          Didn’t like the tone of what Patrick said… esp this bit :


          ”When you people get to 67 you will be living years longer than we are now, but the costs of prolonging your lives will be horrendous.
          Spare a thought to how this will be funded.”

          For all we know, Patrick is a rich prick that can afford the best private medical care and has an income that actually doesn’t need a pension and holds a job that lifts a pen all day…

          Maybe not.

          But geez Wayne – spare a thought for those who have done body jobs most of their life.

          Doing the heavy shit manual work you or others don’t want to do.

          And usually on a shitty low wage ‘Bill Double Dipper English’ endorsed zero hour type contract.

          Good on you Frank for answering that one.

          • Patrick says:

            My point was that when the guys get to 67 life expectancy will probably be around 5 years longer than today, but the costs of keeping them alive will be horrendous.
            Think total costs of super and health. Heart bypasses aint going to get cheaper.
            I agree that some jobs are tougher than others and would support earlier retirement for those whose bodies have given out and I imagine a future government will make allowance for that.
            Luckily labouring jobs are not as tough as when I did holiday jobs in the early 60’s when pick and shovel was still the order of the day. All that stuff is done mechanically now.

            • My point was that when the guys get to 67 life expectancy will probably be around 5 years longer than today, but the costs of keeping them alive will be horrendous.

              So, you’re admitting that you want your super payable at 65, but the Millenials can go get f*****d and wait till 67? Thanks for that admission.

              Luckily labouring jobs are not as tough as when I did holiday jobs in the early 60’s when pick and shovel was still the order of the day. All that stuff is done mechanically now.

              Again, generalisation. I drove past one roadworks in Wellington last week, and four guys were using shovels to smooth down tricky areas of roading where rollers couldn’t reach. (I noted it, thinking at the time that some jobs will never be 100% mechanised.) If mechanisation is so pervasive, there should be bugger all roadworks crews. That is clearly not the case.

              • Patrick says:

                Frank are you deliberately misunderstanding.
                I am 70 years old and was merely pointing out that the medical and superann costs of a population living into their late 80’s and 90’s will cost a lot more as:
                Many recipients will draw super for 25 years but the cost of medical services will be enormous to keep these aged people well.
                That has nothing to do with my generation who are dieing out even as we speak.
                I worked holiday jobs digging ditches for electrical cabling in clay with pick and shovel and also hay and grain carting. This was backbreaking work which doesn’t exist now and no way akin to using shovels to smooth the areas you mentioned.
                Did you read the other bit about future governments making allowances.
                You are in a particularly aggressive mood today.

        • Patrick says:

          that’s a bit harsh saying I countered with a half truth, but I do agree facts are facts.
          Fact – for the first 30 years of my working life tax rates were extremely high.
          Fact – When the super scheme was introduced it started at age 60.
          Fact – The entitlement of 60 changed to 65.
          Fact -My generation did not complain as we felt that 60 was too early to retire anyway.
          Fact – The boomers parents (and the immediate post war boomers ) paid for the huge infrastructure investments of the time. Roading, hydro etc. (Does the current generation
          realise that in the 50’s all country roads were shingle, including the main highways and there were nightly power cuts of one hour in winter until the Roxborough dam was opened in 1957.)
          Fact – Universities were free for boomers but a much lower % attended then than now.
          Fact – most Millenials are not saddled with student loans as they don’t go to Uni and those who do are idiots if they do a degree that doesn’t give them access to a higher pay grade.
          Fact – There are many places with affordable housing in NZ. In Christchurch, for example, rents are falling, making saving easier and there is an oversupply of housing.
          Fact – A dunger ” as is where is ” house down the road from me on a 600sqm section sold at auction yesterday for $220,000.

          How many boomers actually retired at 65? I didn’t and none of my friends did either. Most 70year olds I know are at best, semi retired.
          Such a pity that so many Millenials feel they have to find someone to blame.
          Sorry but I do not feel responsible for the fact that you will have to wait until 67 to receive super

          • Most of what you’ve written are not “facts”, but opinion based on your own sense of privileged entitlement.


            Fact -My generation did not complain as we felt that 60 was too early to retire anyway.

            Really? Please provide evidence to back up that opinion-disguised-as-fact.

            What is a fact is that in 1973 baby boomers voted for Muldoon to over-turn Labour’s superannuation savings scheme, based on the premise that retirement at 65 was fully fundable without the need to save. (Had that scheme not been destroyed, New Zealand would have accumulated $278 billion (as at 2014) in savings.


            Australia implemented a similar scheme in 1991, and has saved over A$2.2 trillion thus far. (No bloody wonder they own our banks.)


            But voters (primarily Baby Boomers known then as “Rob’s Mob) didn’t want a bar of it, preferring instead a pay-as-you-go superannuation.

            So please don’t try that “My generation did not complain as we felt that 60 was too early to retire anyway” crap. I lived through that period and remember that selfish and short-sightedness trumped long-term planning for our future.

            The rest of your spiel I also dismiss as a self-entitled Baby Boomer indulging in wishful thinking to maintain your privilege.

            • Patrick says:

              your memory is selective.
              in 1975 only boomers born in 1957 or earlier could even vote so how can you blame an entire generation?
              Those born between 1946 and 1960 the boomers – were not the majority of the population at that time by any means and certainly did not all vote for Muldoon . A huge chunk of boomer votes went to Labour, Values and Social Credit. Remember Values and Social credit got more than 12.5% of the vote that election.
              In that election National received 763,000 votes and the other parties combined 841,000 but as it was FPTP National won.
              Frank, that does not support your “fact” that the boomers voted National – probably over 50% didn’t.
              I agree that the funded proposal by Labour would have been much better in the long run but it’s failure was the fact that those already in their mid 30’s and older would have retired on very small amounts, so it was not appealing to them.
              Muldoons plan was easy to understand and appealed, especially to those over 30 who were not baby boomers at all. Rob’s Mob you refer to was my parents generation – not ours.
              The people who kicked up when super moved from 60 to 65 were those it affected – again not the boomers.
              How about you providing evidence that boomers complained. Frankly most of us didn’t believe that it would be available at all when we retired.
              I say again that I do not feel responsible for changes that have been made to uni fees or super as I had nothing to do with them.

              • Your assertion that “a huge chunk of boomer votes went to Labour, Values and Social Credit” is more meaningless twaddle. Muldoon ruled from 1975 to 1984 – nine years. He was defeated in 1984 only because Bob Jones split the Rightwing vote with his New Zealand Party. His support came primarily from the Boomer generation, as well as (some of) our conservative parents.

                Whatever ‘spin’ you’re trying to put on our history, which leads up to present day circumstances, is clouding the issues. Your analysis is flawed.

                • Patrick says:

                  the figures I quoted prove that more people voted against National than for it.
                  I asked you for proof you offer none.
                  I voted Values back then as did a lot of my mates.

                  Please let us be privvy to your facts.

                  • the figures I quoted prove that more people voted against National than for it.

                    You’re describing election result using First Past the Post, not proportional representation.

                    Which means that more people vote for Muldoon in significant electorates which gave him three terms in office.

                    Ok, you want numbers, here you go;

                    In 1972, National received 581,422 votes as opposed to Labour’s 677,669.

                    Muldoon campaigned on abolishing Labour’s super-saving scheme in 1975, and won 763,136 votes to Labour’s 634,453 – a swing to National of +6.1%.

                    It doesn’t matter what the other parties received – the election was done under FPP. What does matter is that National gained 181,714 more votes in 1975 than the previous election.

                    Enjoy the stats.

                    If you want more, try using Google. It’s amazing what you can learn when you’re not wedded to your own prejudice.



          • Rosielee says:

            National super/the pension was always 65. Muldoon lowered it to 60 as an election bribe.

          • Otto Mann says:

            Whoa there, Patrick! That’s a shiteload of opinion you’ve got going there masquerading as “fact”. (Alternative facts, maybe. I’ll ask Trump if it qualifies.)

            You still haven’t addressed the salient point that baby boomers have enjoyed one tax cut after another, free tertiary education, and still get to retire at 65.

            Meanwhile, their kids, the millenials have user pays in education, have to pay more for prescription medicines, can’t afford housing, and now have to work 2 years longer!!

            Your arguments are fallacious.

            • Patrick says:

              I was expecting rocks, but how many people retire at 65 now?
              Not many.
              As for your assertion that our kids are having it so tough what do you think will happen when the boomers die?
              Whatever those lucky bastards have accumulated will go to the unlucky kids won’t it.

              • …but how many people retire at 65 now?
                Not many.

                That is your opinion based on your own circumstances. It is not based on fact.

                • Patrick says:

                  I am happy to bow to your superior knowledge as indeed my post was from personal observation of people I know, none of whom retired at 65.
                  Where do you get your figures from that show the majority of Kiwi’s retire at 65.

                  • Patrick, if you make an assertion that “few people retire at 65”, it’s up to you to prove it. It’s not up to me to prove otherwise.

                    I’m not here to waste time debunking every inane claim made by people like you.

                    If you have the data, put up or shut up.

                    • Patrick says:

                      Copout Frank.
                      It appears you have no proof my anecdotal evidence is incorrect.
                      You certainly won’t be wasting time, you will be educating.
                      You must have friends – how many retired at 65?

                    • I treat your anecdotal “evidence” with the same consideration I give to Bill English’s anecdotes of drug-addled young New Zealand workers.

                      I repeat; you made the assertion, you back it up with evidence. It’s not up to others to find evidence to disprove your opinions.

                  • Samwise says:

                    Jeez, Patrick, feelings of entitlement much?

                    Frank has demolished your argument (which isn’t well supported by any hard evidence) and you still witter on?

                    Prove your assertions, mate. Anecdotal evidence just doesn’t cut it.

                    The facts are simple, you’re going to collect supper at age 65. My kids have to wait till they’re 67. An both have huge student debts to pay off as well as try to save for their own homes.
                    If that’s fair to you, then you’re nothing more than an Act supporter.

                    • Patrick says:

                      No worries. If it’s us who did these selfish things then you can change them back. Super at 65 and free uni. All you have to do is fund it but the”fair” generation won’t mind.

          • Otto Mann says:

            “Fact – There are many places with affordable housing in NZ. In Christchurch, for example, rents are falling, making saving easier and there is an oversupply of housing.”

            Well, Patrick, I counter that with this;

            Fact – not everyone can uproot and move to Christchurch. And if 10 thousand home-seekers tried doing that, what do you think would happen to ChCh house prices??

            That’s right, you fool, THEY’D RISE!!

            People like you are happy to tell others what they should do to solve problems that governmernts have created. Oh, I know, let’s move to the Chatham Islands! A moron called Patrick sez they’re cheaper there!!

            Your solutions are rubbish.

            • Patrick says:

              I was giving that as an example that there are much lower prices in many places, Christchurch being but one.
              My solutions are rubbish – I only gave one.

          • Scud says:

            Those aren’t facts , Patrick, they’re your opinions only. You still don’t address the real issue that Boomers will retire at 65 while Millenials have to wait 2 . And those 2 years may be stretched out to 4, 8, 10, who knows??

            You’re trying to bullshit your way through this and I’m not buying it.

          • Scud says:

            Those aren’t “facts” at all, Patrick. They’re your opinions dressed up to protect your position as an entitled Baby Boomer. You aren’t addressing the central issue that Boomers will retire at 65 while Millenials have to wait 2 more years. Plus many Millenials have student debt piled on top. Abnd as Frank rightly pointed out, your generation hadcfree university education plus tax cuts.

            We get to pick up the tab for that.

            The term “selfishness” doersnt begin to cover it!

            • Patrick says:

              You are well named scud!.
              Baby boomers retiring at 65.
              Did they?
              The youngest boomer is rising 67 so is getting super, but has he/she retired?
              My personal evidence is that – probably not.
              My brother has just retired at 73 as his Parkinsons is worse. I’m semi and my younger brother and sister aged 67 and 69 still work fulltime. Only one of my fiends is completely retired and my neighbour but one is still a fulltime blockie at 73. Of my other neighbours one is still working at 66 and the other retired at 71 when he had the stroke that killed him. Only one of my dozen or so boomer cousins is retired.
              Frank says my opinion is not based on fact and of course he is right in that I don’t know how to find out who is retired and who isn’t – I only know those in my circle.
              I have asked Frank to tell me where to find the figures so personal opinion becomes fact.
              The point is that the many thousands of boomers are still in the workforce and are still paying tax.
              Sure we had free university education – but that only applied to the much lower % of the population who went to university so it meant nothing to the vast majority who didn’t
              And sure we had tax cuts but many had been paying high rates of tax for most of 30 years when they cut in so every working boomer paid more tax per dollar earned in his/her life than following generations ever will..
              That is a fact.
              These low rates have been available for all entering the workforce for many years now.
              Also – what’s with the anger as I just don’t get it.
              It seems that posters on this blog must find someone to blame for everything.
              My fathers generation gave up years of their lives – and in many cases their lives – in WW2, but you never heard them grumbling about it – it was just something that happened and they had to deal with it. End of story.
              But if you are sure you need to apportion blame I’ll take the fall for a whole generation.
              It is my fault that eligibility has been increased to 67 and also my fault that the minority of school leavers who actually attend Uni have student loans. The good things like lower rates of tax, however have nothing to do with me so I won’t take credit.

              • Sam Sam says:

                Well, well, youve put a really nice bow on everything and sprinkled political fairy dust all over new zealand and made agri wast smell like a sweet, sweet, rose. Amazing!

                • Patrick says:

                  Thanks Sam.
                  Your turn to correct my fairy dust and give us the real McCoy.
                  Saw my doctor lat week. He’s 69, working 3 days a week and – I imagine – paying much more tax than he and his wife receive in Super.
                  Is he bad too?

              • Sure we had free university education – but that only applied to the much lower % of the population who went to university so it meant nothing to the vast majority who didn’t

                You’re conflating two different periods in time, Patrick, and somewhat ignoring the realities of the 70s with that post-mid-80s.

                Tertiary education became more in-demand as the workplace became more professionalised.

                The result is $15 billion in student debt which baby boomers like Bill English, Steven Joyce, John Key, et al, never had to pay for.

                Their university tuition was near-free.

                On top of which most probably received a student allowance.

                Then to top it of, they voted for seven tax cuts after 1986.

                The concept of socialised tertiary tuition, with one generation “paying it foward” to the next, was replaced with user-pays.

                Result: $15 billion in student debt.

                Plus housing which is less affordable than ever.

                Plus more user-pays in services such as prescriptions (which were once free) and schools “voluntary fees”.

                Now, the Boomers’ political representatives have handed millenials the discriminatory retirement policy of a 65/67 retirement split.

                So you write and spin all the BS you like, but those are the facts of recent history of the neo-liberal “reforms”.

                Your attempts at explaining away our recent history is risable.

        • Priss says:

          Brilliant reposte, Frank!! And so true!

      • Samwise says:

        Patrick, you’re full of it.

  7. Jlo73 says:

    I agree that raising the age to 67 is unfair on millennials.
    I agree that National should have continued Cullen fund contributions.
    I agree the age cutoff is implemented too steeply.
    I agree that some people’s jobs mean they struggle to get to 65.

    But the reality is there will be more retired people per worker in the future. People are living longer. We can address it sooner or later, fairly or unfairly but something needs to be done.

    National having a look at the sustainability of Superannuation 6 months out from an election in pretty brace and should be celebrated, not critisised. Other parties should step up with their solutions, rather than beating National with a stick.

    And someone needs to price up the health costs of the aging population. The health budget is a huge part of this debate.

    • Patrick says:

      Exactly the point I was trying to make.
      Superann and health will become by far the two biggest consumers of the tax dollar.

  8. Priss says:

    Robbing Peter to pay Paul seems to be National’s new policy…..

  9. mosa says:

    Michael Cullen took the initiative in the last Labour led government to address the long term affordability of super and our appalling savings record by setting up the Cullen fund to bank the surpluses that he was accused of ” stealing” because he did not cut taxes to bribe New Zealanders and set up kiwisaver with the sole purpose of supplementing the pension which has been a great success , ironically the last scheme was set up by Roger Douglas in 1972 and abolished by Muldoon.

    The retirement age could be maintained at 65 along with the cost provided future governments paid in.

    Don Brash advocated 70 as the retirement age in 2005 sending the signal that the National party only wants to pay you a pension for a limited time before you expire and to work on a further five years if you can still work and someone will employ you.

    The National party simply does not live in the real world and are able to access a generous pension when they leave parliament, yet they want to enforce draconian laws on those who cannot wait until they are 67 and then 70 to receive what in my opinion is still a right in this country.

    At the heart of this is the neo lib approach to everything in which the government absolves its responsibilities to its non wealthy citizens and basically tells them to go to hell after a lifetime of contribution and tax.

    There are two classes that exist

    1 Wealth and status

    2 just keeping afloat then grinding poverty.

    To change the neo lib system it requires as others have pointed out the vast majority to demand something better.

    For a “seismic shift” to take place there has to be the conditions to allow it too happen just as there was for the “there is no alternative” reform program in 1984

    I think its too late to get that consensus which shows that the neo lib economy has done its work and unless there is as some predict on this site a wholesale collapse causing a major upheaval and complete change in the current mindset then this evil system will endure.

  10. Groucho Marxist says:

    NZ Superannuation was only established in its universal form in 1979 by Muldoon’s government.
    The previous old age pension was means tested.

    To say the Baby Boomers voted for National and carried them to power to enable NZ Super neglects the enormous numbers of older voters at the time. Many of the older non-Boomer generation were National voters and were at odds with the younger voters.

    Many of those in their Twenties at the time did not vote for National. They couldn’t stand the crusty old bastards.
    Many twenty year olds in the 1970s were not fixated on superannuation that would not be claimed for another 35 to 40 years.

    Australia has a means test which allows for a family home and about $540,000 in other assets after which the superannuation abates. If we follow Australia in so many things why can’t we work around some sort of means testing with a progressive abatement?

    I also see the current high immigration as a threat to NZ Super. With such a short qualifying time I can see immigrants and extended family creating a heavy load on funding.
    10 years is quite a short time to contribute to what could easily be 25 years of Super payouts. Many Boomers have been assisting Super payments to recipients for 25 years plus since the scheme was established, and paying social security tax for 10 to 15 years before that.
    Australia has its qualification set at 25 years which is not uncommon with other countries.
    Any OE years worked in Australia have the Super paid to NZ to subsidise the NZ Super for the years when the superannuitant was not contributing to the NZ tax base.
    This reciprocal agreement may not be valid with many of the new immigrant home countries. This also adds to the load on the NZ Super funding.

    Why is NZ so generous with its qualifying time? Just as we do with tourists and ACC claims, we pay out willingly to those who have not contributed fairly to the ongoing scheme.

    • Patrick says:

      Thank you.
      A voice of reason flying against the alternative truths on this site esp that it was the Boomers who voted for Muldoon and the new scheme.
      You also make the valid point that boomers have contributed towards retirement their entire working lives.

      • You also make the valid point that boomers have contributed towards retirement their entire working lives.

        That is rubbish. I pointed out to you before (which you’re ignoring) that Baby Boomers voted for Muldoon in 1975, who then proceeded to abandon Labour’s superannuation savings scheme. Muldoon relied solely on a pay-as-you-go.

        Whatever “contribution” Baby Boomers made was insufficient.

        You’re spinning things against known history.

        • Groucho Marxist says:

          “known history”

          Did you read about this, Frank?

          There were many of us who very upset to see Labour fail to win the election after the caretaker PM, Rowling, failed to spark.

          The main reason that I recall was the lure of the superannuation refund if National was elected. I didn’t get much back but those on higher salaries – that’ll be your National voters, received fairly large lumps back.
          It was perhaps the largest voter bribe of the 20th century.

          There was a lot of anger that the compulsory scheme had been aborted.
          Although a lot of complaining was done it was grudgingly admitted by most that something needed to be done for future security.

          It was very common at the time for most of the institution type workers to have in-house superannuation. Insurance staff had free schemes that rewarded long-term loyalty.
          Banks and civil servants all had super plans for staff.

          These people were set. They had no need for a compulsory govt. scheme. They wanted their money back from the Labour govt. scheme.
          Some of them were probably Boomers if you must use that word. Many of the voters would have been well established in their careers and in higher paying secure jobs. Let’s say 40 years and up when careers usually start to reward the efforts during the second half of a working life.
          They were the ones who voted for their money back.

          At that time the oldest Boomer would have been only 30 years old. The big swell in Boomers would have been just 25.

          • Groucho Marxist says:

            attention to the moderator.

            The post above was sent without the alterations I had in mind.
            It posted even though I was not logged in.

            Perhaps best to delete. There are some inaccuracies and I did not intend to leave the rather flippant attack on Frank.

            I deleted I will correct and repost. Thanks.

          • Patrick says:

            Thank you Groucho.
            Frank, I will set out my reasons for saying it wasn’t the boomers who changed the government in 1975.
            Lets start with the second National government in 1960.
            Not a single boomer voted.
            Likewise 1963 – not a single boomer but National was returned.
            1966 likewise. National returned and no boomers old enough to vote.
            The reason I’m pointing this out is obvious. National are entrenched and no boomers voting so it is the older generation voting them in.
            1969 was the first election that early boomers could vote, but there wern’t very many yet. National returned.
            Then comes 1972 with Norman Kirk swept to power. This is the first election that boomers vote in numbers and Labour won!
            Doesn’t do your argument much good Frank.
            Then came 1975 where the Values party peaked at 83,000 votes.
            Who voted Values?
            The boomers that’s who.
            Social Credit got 119,000 votes, 25,000 more than in 1972, so many of them would also have been boomers.
            Like Values, Labour was attractive to boomers as the results show. Labour only dropped 43,000 votes over 1972 which would indicate that a large % of boomers voted for them.
            We were young, retirement was 100 years away so we
            were the least likely to fall for Muldoon’s bribe.
            Frank, I’m a reasonable person so if you can prove your point with logic and figures, I will be happy to apologise and take a large serving of humble pie.

    • John W says:

      The old age pension at 60 was income tested.

      You could retire from you job at 60 and get the pension, It was called “The Old Age pension”

      At 65 you could draw a pension no matter what your income was.

      All working to 67 is utter rubbish.

      Where are the jobs.

  11. Patrick says:

    No Frank, it’s not rubbish.
    See my post above giving a breakdown of the vote in the 1975 election.
    I am an old baby boomer being born in 1946 immediately after my father returned from the war.
    At that election I was only 28 and many boomers were in their early 20’s with retirement being the last thing on our minds.
    Robs scheme did appeal to Robs Mob though, which as I pointed out was my parents generation, not ours.
    We had stars in our eyes and thought Values or Labour were the bees knees. Some even voted Social Credit.
    Please prove you assertions.

    • Not assertions, Patrick. Facts.

      1. Baby Boomers will have the option to retire at 65. Millenials will have to wait till 67.

      2. Baby Boomers enjoyed (near) free tertiary education up till about 1992. Millenials have been saddled with nearly $15 billion in student debt.

      3. Home ownership is lower now than it was around 1984. (

      4. Baby Boomers have enjoyed seven tax cuts – five of which took place after 1992.

      Nothing you claim disputes these facts.

    • Priss says:

      WTF? Patrick, please disprove my assertion that the Easter Bunny is real.

      That is how ridiculous your whinging is, for others to prove your assertions.

      Your sense of privileged entitlement is so clear, it shows why you’re so obsessed on this issue.

  12. Strypey says:

    Good call Curwen, although there’s one thing I want to take issue with:

    “Part of the answer to our present circumstance, therefore, does obviously lie with attempting to turn younger New Zealanders into the sort of high-turnout voting demographic which can make or break elections.”

    I don’t think it’s realistic or desirable to think that today’s digitally empowered youth are going to become passive voters any more than it is to think they are going to start watching the TV news. If we want younger people to get involved in democratic activity in Aotearoa, we need to pitch them something more exciting than turning up once every 3 years to choose between two sets of temporary dictators. We need to be talking about forms of democratic participation that go on all year round, and allow people them to inject their knowledge, ideas, and passions into the political process.

    It’s deep democracy, not political consumerism, that has the potential to get younger people involved in politics. Once they’re involved and informed, and they feel like their input can have real impact, they’re more likely to make the effort to vote in elections of any kind. But this is just the cherry on the top, not the whole cake.