• Roger Sowry
Social Welfare

The Danish Ambassador, Mr Kris Lund-Jensen, travelled from his Canberra base today to sign the first Social Security Agreement between New Zealand and Denmark, with Minister of Social Welfare, Hon. Roger Sowry.

``The Agreement will give senior citizens, people with permanent disabilities and widows who have lived in both Denmark and New Zealand greater access to New Zealand benefits and Danish social pensions,'' says Mr Sowry.

People moving between the two countries will be able to treat years of residence in one country as years of residence in the other, in order to meet the residence criteria for the benefits covered by the Agreement.

New Zealand Super, Invalids Benefit, Widows Benefit and the Domestic Purposes Benefits for widowers will be paid to former New Zealand residents living in Denmark at proportional rates.

New Zealanders living in Denmark will be able combine their proportional NZ benefit with the Danish social pension. Similarly, Danes living here will be able to combine their Danish social pension with a New Zealand benefit. ``New Zealand has a long history of Danish immigration. Dannevirke owes its existence and distinctive character to Danish pioneers.

``This Agreement is an important way of recognising these long established links between our two countries,'' Mr Sowry says.

Denmark is one of a growing number of countries with which New Zealand has an official agreement over social security benefits. Other countries include Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Greece, Ireland, Guernsey and Jersey, Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau.

The Agreement is expected to come into effect later this year, once both countries have completed legislative and operational procedures.