9 August, 2013
Increased pension portability to Realm countries
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully today joined Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna in Rarotonga to announce improved pension portability for those looking to retire to the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau from New Zealand.
“Changes to the Special Portability Arrangement will allow eligible residents to apply for their pension or veteran’s pension from the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau,” Mr McCully says.
Under the current rules, people wishing to retire to the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau have to be “resident and present” in New Zealand at age 65.
Mr McCully says retirees will still need to qualify for New Zealand Superannuation. They must have been “resident and present” in New Zealand for more than 10 years since the age of 20 - including five years since the age of 50.
"The practical effect of the change is that people who are entitled to New Zealand Superannuation, regardless of whether they are of Cook Island, Niuean or Tokelauan ethnicity, will be able to depart New Zealand to live in one of these three countries after the age of 55 and apply, without returning to New Zealand, for their super once they turn 65.
Currently they would have to stay in New Zealand until turning 65 in order to qualify," Mr McCully says.
"These changes reflect our close constitutional relationship with the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau as part of the Realm of New Zealand."
The new policy will require legislation to be passed in the New Zealand Parliament and is expected to apply from 1 July 2015.