New Zealand went to the polls on Saturday night to elect the 50th parliament in its relatively short history. As expected, the National party polled highest of the parties at 48%, but was unable to gather an absolute majority and govern in its own right (as most polls were predicting). This means New Zealand will have a very similar looking governing coalition to what it has had from 2008. The main opposition party, the Labour party, sunk to just 27%, losing many votes to the Green party and NZ First.
This means that we will not see any raising of the retirement age to 67, a policy that was announced by the Labour party to be one of its electoral planks last month. As I blogged at the time, for the amount of controversy it generated, the policy was lacking in any real meat. It kicked in only from 2020 and would only be fully in place by 2033. By that time, the baby boomer generation would have been long retired and so it would not solve the immediate problem (the baby boomer “bulge” in the population pyramid hitting retirement age) that it purported to. However, as New Zealanders continue to live longer there is clearly room to raise the retirement age and so Labour’s policy was to be applauded. However, with such a resounding thrashing given to Labour on Saturday night, I don’t think we’ll be seeing any movement on the retirement age front for a long time yet in New Zealand.