Retirement issues 'must be addressed'
By Paul Harper 3:09 PM Wednesday Jul 13, 2011

Politicians need to address the future cost of New Zealand's aging population before it is too late, a retirement policy expert says.

Her comments come after Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan accused politicians of having their "heads in the sand" following a Government decision not to raise the pension age of eligibility.

The commission's recent Review of Retirement Income Policy recommended the age be raised to 67 years by two months a year until 2033, however Prime Minister John Key has ruled it out.

Auckland Associate professor and co-director of Retirement Policy and Research Centre, Susan St John, said the issue needed to be addressed now.

"When we look into the future and you see the mushrooming numbers of the those in the 85-plus category, especially after 2030 when the baby boomers start to reach 85, and you see the pressure on the long-term care services, we do need to have a discussion. To have a discussion you have to take it out of the political three-year cycle.

"It's not an issue the politicians are talking about now, by the time they do get to talk about it we are going to be well into the problem when it is very difficult to make changes, they've got to be signalled.

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