New Zealand Superannuation​

New Zealand Superannuation is a Basic Income paid on request to New Zealand citizens aged over 65 years. 

When a Basic Income is introduced for people of working age, New Zealand Superannuation will remain unchanged. However, people who receive New Zealand Superannuation will not be eligible for the working-age Basic Income in addition to their Superannuation payments.


More details regarding proposed changes to New Zealand Superannuation are provided below.

What will happen to New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran's pensions?


New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran's pensions will be retained.
  • A Basic Income for people of working age will not replace New Zealand Superannuation (NZS).

  • New Zealand Superannuation is a very efficient Basic Income scheme with almost zero administration costs.

  • With the introduction of a Basic Income for those of working age, those over 65 will not be eligible for both the working-age Basic Income payment and the New Zealand Superannuation.​ 

  • New Zealand Superannuation (NZS) is a series of Basic Income payments available to those over 65 with different payment rates that include different rates for married (each), single (sharing), and single (living alone). 

  • The value of NZS payments is higher than that envisaged for a Basic Income payment for a person of working age.

  • New Zealand Superannuation is not compulsory. You must apply for NZS before you receive it. When you sign up for NZS it will replace your working-age Basic Income which will cease.

Suggested changes to NZ Superannuation.
  • It has been suggested that a good way to ensure that NZS is sustainable in the long term is to require that those who sign up for NZS payments must accept a uniform tax on all other income, as is proposed for Basic Income payments for those of working age. This will better target the payments to those with low incomes, lower the total cost of the NZ Superannuation scheme and remove the need to increase the age of eligibility.

  • Altering NZ Super to a basic income scheme with a 33% uniform tax will provide better targeting of NZS and could save 10% of the net cost from the upper end of the distribution while leaving the majority of recipients little affected. Read more.

  • The present NZS system tends to discriminate against those who have age-related poor health from their sixties and short life expectancies.

    • If a uniform tax is applied to people receiving NZS it will improve the targeting of the payments and lower the cost of the scheme.

    • The alternative of increasing the age of eligibility will exacerbate the problem of discrimination against those with poor health and short life expectancies. It has been suggested that raising the age of eligibility is racist. 

  • Another suggestion is that the number of different payment rates for NZS is reduced to simplify the scheme, for instance, paying the same rate for married (each) and single sharing.

    • At present, a couple may be in a relationship but claim that they are two single people sharing accommodation in order to claim higher payment rates. This is very difficult to police.

  • A further suggestion is that NZS be paid at a single individual Basic Income rate that is lower than all the existing NZ Superannuation rates, and that it be supplemented with a living allowance that varies with need: married, single, or sharing, bringing the total payment levels up to existing levels.

  • Another possibility is to pay those on NZ Superannuation the adult Basic Income rate with supplementary payments to bring the total payments they receive up to current superannuation rates, but it would be simpler to just pay them a higher superannuation rate. 


For further discussion on these issues see:

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