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This paper examines the implications for national savings of three retirement income policy options, designed to improve the fiscal sustainability of New Zealand Superannuation (NZS). A simple model is developed that employs population and longevity projections allowing estimation of the contributions that many overlapping age cohorts might make to national savings in response to policy change. Government contributions to national savings, resulting primarily from reduced NZS payments, are also considered. Results suggest that even seemingly modest changes to retirement income policies could lead to substantial cumulative changes in national savings by 2061.
The author is grateful for helpful suggestions and comments received from John Creedy, Norman Gemmell, Anne-Marie Brook, Andrew Coleman and colleagues from Treasury's Financial Markets team. Special thanks are also due to the referees (Katherine Meerman and Malcolm Menzies).
An earlier version of this paper was presented to the 54th annual conference of the New Zealand Association of Economists held in Wellington, July 2013, where it was awarded the New Zealand Economic Policy Prize.
The views, opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Working Paper are strictly those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the New Zealand Treasury or the New Zealand Government. The New Zealand Treasury and the New Zealand Government take no responsibility for any errors or omissions in, or for the correctness of, the information contained in these working papers. The paper is presented not as policy, but with a view to inform and stimulate wider debate.
Access to some of the data used in this study was provided by Statistics New Zealand under conditions designed to give effect to the security and confidentiality provisions of the Statistics Act 1975. The results presented in this study are the work of the authors, not Statistics New Zealand.