Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Billions may flow east, what about people?

Sometimes the most deserving stories are simply ignored. Back in August, the government announced it had concluded a deal with the Australian government to permit super portability. This removed an exception that meant NZers could only access their super at retirement, even if they'd left Australia - in this way NZers were being treated as if they were Australians (this makes sense given the fluidity of movements across the Tasman).

The deal is worth billions. Some estimates of unclaimed Australian super suggest 30 per cent of the $13 billion (AUD) could be heading east (though the value of this may have depreciated significantly in the last month). The arrangement requires legislation, however it's expected to be in place in 2009.

I know several people who'll directly benefit from this development - kiwis who've done a few years in Australia but returned home and will now shift their Australian investments back to kiwisaver accounts. I know a few others for whom this might also tip the balance and cause them to return home. This deal depended on the existence of kiwisaver.

In the mash-up of policies National announced recently, Lockwood's immigration policy is nothing of the sort - it's a migration policy that contains almost nothing of substance that'll encourage kiwis home. There's barely a few lines on emigration, the vast majority of policies are focused on increasing immigration.

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