Good on you. The CIP government and the NZ government last year reached agreement to remove the one-year NZ residency criteria for those turning 65 before being able to collect the NZ pension.
The government is also working on getting NZ to agree to waive the five years NZ residency criteria for those over 50 years as well. This is a good move. We want more Cook Islanders to be able to collect their pension here at home in our islands just as if they were living in NZ.
Read Don Reid's letter here.
But it does seem strange that some members of Grey Power would happily pay tax to the New Zealand government if they were collecting the pension in New Zealand, yet refuse to contribute to the tax of our own country. They receive free doctors’ visits, free medicine, free medical referral to NZ just like all the locals. The CIP government was also ready to table the required legislation to change the law to waive the back tax for all NZ pensioners and restore money taken from bank accounts. But alas were foiled by the One Cook Islands members who stayed in Aitutaki and forced a snap election.
We have more than 1700 locals collecting our local pension. When the CIP came to government the local pension was $400 a month. This government has increased the pension to $500 for those between the ages of 60 to 69. It has increased the over 70s pension to $625 a month. And will keep increasing it to reach the goal of $800 month for all over 70s. This is not the action of a cruel government as claimed by Mr Reid.
Greypower members in the Cook Islands collect $1824 for a single person or $2746 a married couple per month. In New Zealand the same pensioners collect $1588 and $2446 per month because they pay their tax. You are already way ahead of the locals and way ahead of NZ pensioners. I would be happy if I was getting this money.
Just be thankful you don’t collect the Aussie pension – you have to wait till you are 70 before you can collect.
(Name and address supplied)