Gareth Morgan doesn't want his Super as he turns 65, says NZ needs means-testing

Gareth Morgan says New Zealand superannuation should not be available to those with a certain level of wealth, as he himself turns 65 and qualifies for it.

Those within 12 weeks of their 65th birthday can apply to receive the benefit, which can be up to $20,290.40 for a single person living alone.

As he turns 65, Mr Morgan says he doesn't want his, and questions why taxpayers are paying for those who can easily afford to look after themselves.

"Half of the people who get Super don't need it," Mr Morgan told TVNZ 1's Breakfast programme.

"It's an argument in terms of using government spending where it should be used ... my mates just use it to go to Fiji."

"There's thousands of people like me ... these politicians have got to show some guts."

Mr Morgan said those who would hide their assets to obtain a pension could be dissuaded from doing so with "onerous" penalties.

Michael Littlewood says means testing in Australia is a very complicated system, which has unexpected effects on some aspects of retirement. Source: Breakfast

"Have a couple of examples and that will scare the hell out of them," he said.

Superannuation policy expert Michael Littlewood disagreed that New Zealand should rush through means testing for pensions, saying Australia had it and it was complicated.

"He makes it sound simple and 30 years ago I would have agreed with him," Mr Littlewood said of Mr Morgan's argument.

"You just have to look across the Tasman to see how means tests work."

Mr Littlewood said means testing had the effect of making Australians retire early, and work less during their retirement.

"Having those rules which the state imposes ... means Australians choose to work about two years less than New Zealanders," Mr Littlewood said.

He agreed that New Zealand has "never had a proper discussion about the size or shape of any aspect of New Zealand Super", but said any changes need to come from a "research-led debate".

Mr Morgan says the government should be means testing those claiming their state pension, so only those who need it get it. Source: Breakfast



Students report feeling queasy after plane emits unknown substance over Wairarapa school

Several students have reported feeling ill at a primary school in Carterton after a plane flew over the school and one student saw "stuff" coming out of the aircraft.

The incident happened at approximately 1pm at South End School in the Wairarapa town. The school says all students are now "fine".

Police say they are investigating and are going door to door in the area checking on residents' welfare and trying to locate the source of the smell. They are also searching the school's grounds.

A statement on the school's Facebook page reads:  "A plane flew in a southward direction and one student had seen 'stuff' coming out of the plane - so we assume it was a fertiliser of some sort - several students have experienced feeling quezzy and ucky."

The statement continues:  "I have made them wash their face and drink plenty of water."

In a more recent statement the school says no students are allowed out of the school grounds and no one is allowed into the grounds.

"ALL students are fine and being looked after," the statement reads.

A Wellington Free Ambulance spokesperson says they have four ambulances at the scene.

Small aircraft flying
Light plane (file picture). Source: istock.com


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Tauranga mussel processing plant ordered to pay nearly $280k after worker loses eye

A Tauranga mussel processing plant has been ordered to pay nearly $280,000 after a worker had to have his eye removed after an incident involving a corrosive cleaning product.

In a statement Worksafe says North Island Mussels Limited was sentenced in the Tauranga District Court today following the January 2017 incident which left their worker with life changing injuries.

The incident saw the worker decanting a cleaning product as a piece of tubing flicked him in the eye. The impact caused so much damage that the eye had to be removed, while the damage inflicted was so significant that fitting a prosthetic became impossible.

As a result, North Island Mussels Limited have been sentenced with a fine of $219,375, and ordered to pay $60,000 in reparation.

An investigation found that the cleaning product in question should not have been made available to be handled, instead should have been hardwired and plumbed for use.

"Protective equipment should not be the go to safety solution for using hazardous substances. If there is a smarter and safer way of doing a job, and it is reasonably practicable for it to be implemented then that is the expectation of the Health and Safety at Work Act" said WorkSafe's Deputy General Manager for Operations and Specialist Services Simon Humphries.

Seafood processing plant staff checking weight of mussels in small plastic container before packing
Mussel factory (file picture). Source: istock.com

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Government to loan $339 million for Auckland housing infrastructure

Auckland Council is getting a $339 million government loan to enable 7000 houses to be built in the north-west of the city.

The interest free 10-year loan will go towards major infrastructure projects in Redhills and Whenuapai.

Auckland mayor Phil Goff said it will deliver new roads, wasterwater infrastructure, bus and cycle lanes.

This will allow developers to quickly build housing on greenfields land.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford said the developments would be near the planned light rail line and be supported by growth at the Westgate commercial centre, providing local services and employment opportunities.

He said the investment promoted one of the city's more affordable areas.

QV estimates properties in west Auckland average $824,000 compared to over $1m city-wide, he said.

rnz.co.nz

Housing Minister Phil Twyford is now weighing up his options.
Source: 1 NEWS


NZ First bill to give police power to hand out on the spot fines to shoplifters

New Zealand First are in favour of introducing legislation that will see police be able to hand out on-the-spot fines to shoplifters.

A member's bill submitted by Law and Order spokesperson Darroch Ball is aiming to curb the described 'shoplifting epidemic', estimated to cost retailers over $1 billion in 2017 alone.

A 2017 survey from Retail NZ and Otago University found that retailers did not report 68 per cent of shoplifting, because they did not expect an adequate response from authorities.

"Currently, any formal prosecutions for shoplifting are time-consuming and costly as they must go before the courts, where the only punishments available are either custodial sentences or fines handed down by a judge," Mr Ball said in a statement.

"This bill shortcuts the litany of red tape, going straight to a scheme of proportional fines. It also sends the clear message that offenders will not get away with it."

Police would have the power to hand out a minimum $150 instant fine or a fine of "one and a half times" the value of the goods stolen, whichever is greatest.  

The proposed bill would only allow for two infringements, with a third seeing an offender prosecuted in court.

A police emblem on the sleeve of an officer.
A police emblem on the sleeve of an officer. Source: 1 NEWS


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