Retirement Commissioner and Periodic Report Group appointed

  • Steve Maharey
Social Development and Employment

Diana Crossan has been appointed Retirement Commissioner, replacing Colin Blair who is retiring from the role.

Ms Crossan’s appointment was announced today by Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey, along with the announcement of a Periodic Report Group who will advise the government on New Zealand’s retirement income policy.

Steve Maharey said Diana Crossan has the range of skills necessary for the challenging role of Retirement Commissioner.

“Diana Crossan has a stong background in the savings industry. She has held senior management positions in investment, savings and insurance organisations. She also has experience developing innovative marketing projects and securing commerical support for them.

“In addition, she has a good understanding of the issues facing Maori, Pacific peoples and women with regard to saving. These are priority issues for the Retirement Commissioner.

“The Retirement Commissioner’s role is likely to expand in the future to encompass monitoring and advising government on retirement village issues. The present functions include monitoring retirement income policies and promoting voluntary retirement savings by New Zealanders. Under the terms of the Retirement Income Act, Ms Crossan is being appointed until the next periodic report is presented to Parliament (due by 31 December 2003).

“I want to place on record the thanks of the government to Colin Blair. He has served in this role for many years and has earned the respect of the industry and political parties alike. With innovative campaigns like the website, Colin Blair and his team have managed the extraordinary feat of lowering the average age of New Zealanders actively considering retirement issues from those in their 40s and 50s, to those in their 30s and below,” Steve Maharey said.

Periodic Report Group

The government is also appointing Vance Arkinstall (chair), Lynn Middleton and Owen Nash to provide the next periodic report on retirement income policies. They will be assisted by the Retirement Commissioner, the Secretary to the Treasury, the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development and the Commissioner of Inland Revenue, or their delegates. The Retirement Income Act 1993 requires that a Periodic Reporting Group be established at 6 yearly intervals to prepare a report on the retirement income policies of the New Zealand government.

Steve Maharey said the next Periodic Report is due by 31 December 2003.

“Government retirement income policies have been the subject of considerable public and Parliamentary debate in recent years, culminating in the present government’s decision to restore the value of superannuation following the 1999 general election and the establishment of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to guarantee provision at this level in the future.

“Accordingly I have asked the Periodic Report Group to focus on ways to improve private provision for retirement income. Particular issues include:
·how savings for retirement are affected by saving for other purposes during a person’s working life;
·the specific issues faced by women, Maori and Pacific peoples when contemplating making private provision for retirement income; and
·how government policy affects the decisions New Zealanders make about private retirement income savings,” Steve Maharey said.

Biographical information

Diana Crossan currently leads the FUNZ project, a private not-for-proft initiative established to explore ways New Zealand families can save for their children’s tertiary education. She previously worked for AMP; most recently as Director, National Distribution Strategy Project, AMP UK and has also worked in the several government departments, including the Ministry of Justice, State Services Commission and the Ministry of Education.

She is a member of the boards of NZ Post, the JR McKenzie Trust and Relationship Services and a member of the Victoria University Council.

Vance Arkinstall has been the Chief Executive of the Investment Saving an Insurance Association since 1999. He has a particular interest in retirement savings and the linkages between private and public retirement income provision. He is also Chairman of the Nominating Committee for New Zealand Superannuation Fund Guardians, a member of the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman Board and the New Zealand representative to the International Insurance Society.

Lynn Middleton is National Secretary of the Public Service Association. She has a clear understanding of the issues faced by workers and women in relation to retirement savings. Ms Middleton has recently completed a secondment as Equality Coordinator with Education International (Brussels) and has previously served on the National Advisory Committee on the Employment of Women (NACEW).

Owen Nash is currently contracted to Carter Holt Harvey as Chief Executive, HR Operations Service Business. He is chairman of the trustees of three large superannuation plans and is an immediate past member of the Association of Superannuation Funds of New Zealand (ASFONZ).

Periodic Reporting Group Terms of Reference

The Retirement Income Act 1993 requires that a Periodic Reporting Group be established at 6 yearly intervals to prepare a report on the retirement income policies of the New Zealand Government. The next Periodic Report is due by 31 December 2003.

Government has policies relating to both the public and private provision of retirement income.

Public provision of retirement income is provided through New Zealand Superannuation, Veteran’s Pension and the operation of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund.

Government also has a policy of encouraging the private provision of retirement income to supplement the public provision. This policy is currently being implemented primarily through a programme run by the Office of the Retirement Commissioner aimed at educating people about the need to save for retirement.

The issues surrounding the public provision of retirement income were subject to extensive consideration and debate during the passage of the New Zealand Superannuation Act 2001. Therefore, this Periodic Report is to focus on the private provision of retirement income.

The 2003 periodic report should include:

In relation to the Government’s retirement income policies, an update of the trends, and the likely future developments, since the production of the 1997 periodic report, that will affect, or will be likely to affect, private provision of retirement income;

A commentary on any changes to the Government’s retirement income policies since the 1997 periodic report and their effect on the private provision of retirement income;

An identification of areas of risk or unsatisfactory performance in relation to the private provision of retirement income;

A commentary on the interface between private savings for the provision of retirement and other savings undertaken during the life cycle for pre-retirement purposes;

A commentary on the ability of specific population groups, including women, Maori and Pacific Peoples, to make private provision for retirement income; and

Suggestions for the adjustment of any of the Government’s retirement income and savings policies in order to enhance the provision of private retirement income including those relating to:
·Mechanisms for Government, employers and the savings industry to work collaboratively together to promote employer based superannuation;
·The impact of the tax system on the private provision of retirement income.