New Zealands committment to migrants questioned
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From: Kim Lund
Dear Jacinda Ardern,
I am writing once again to gain a better understanding of how and why the New Zealand government can legally and morally take my US social security payments when I retire. I have lived in NZ for 17 years, nearly half of my working life will have been spent contributing to the NZ economy. In the US, I directly contributed a percentage of my salary for 20 years into Social Security. This stopped when I moved to NZ. Had I stayed in America, I would have continued to contribute, thus increasing my overall retirement funds available to me as a "pensioner". I fully expected to be able to keep my contribution while still participating in some form of government supported pension which I contribute to through my taxes ( the same taxes all working Kiwis pay)
I am grateful that the laws are changing and that my Kiwi husband will no longer risk losing his government super, however I am astounded that this issue of overseas pensions has not been addressed along with the spousal deductions.
As a woman earning less than her male counterparts for my entire career in healthcare, I can't tell you how seriously I take my move toward retirement and how fearful I am. Saving for retirement was never an option outside of my mandatory contribution and now it seems you wish to confiscate that.
I was unaware of the NZ rules around importing my social security until 3 years ago when I first heard of the spousal deduction. Had I been aware of this it may well have impacted my decision to move to NZ. I have made a positive contribution to NZ and to the many vulnerable people who come through the healthcare systems here. I certainly expected that contribution to be acknowledged when I retire.
I am fully aware of the agreement made alongside the UN in the Global Compact Migration in collaboration with many other countries. A reminder to you that NZ has agreed to the following (selection of relevant objectives):
OBJECTIVE 7: Address and reduce vulnerabilities in migration
a) Review relevant policies and practices to ensure they do not create, exacerbate or unintentionally increase vulnerabilities of migrants, including by applying a human rights-based, gender- and disability-responsive, as well as an age- and child-sensitive approach
OBJECTIVE 15: Provide access to basic services for migrants
a) Enact laws and take measures to ensure that service delivery does not amount to discrimination against migrants on the grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, disability or other grounds irrespective of cases where differential provision of services based on migration status might apply
OBJECTIVE 17: Eliminate all forms of discrimination and promote evidence-based public discourse to shape perceptions of migration
Provide migrants, especially migrant women, with access to national and regional complaint and redress mechanisms with a view to promoting accountability and addressing governmental actions related to discriminatory acts and manifestations carried out against migrants and their families
OBJECTIVE 19: Create conditions for migrants and diasporas to fully contribute to sustainable development in all countries
And of course, lastly---->
OBJECTIVE 22: Establish mechanisms for the portability of social security entitlements and earned benefits
38. We commit to assist migrant workers at all skills levels to have access to social protection in countries of destination and profit from the portability of applicable social security entitlements and earned benefits in their countries of origin or when they decide to take up work in another country. To realize this commitment, we will draw from the following actions:
a) Establish or maintain non-discriminatory national social protection systems, including social protection floors for nationals and migrants, in line with the ILO Recommendation 202 on Social Protection Floors
b) Conclude reciprocal bilateral, regional or multilateral social security agreements on the portability of earned benefits for migrant workers at all skills levels, which refer to applicable social protection floors in the respective States, applicable social security entitlements and provisions, such as pensions, healthcare or other earned benefits, or integrate such provisions into other relevant agreements, such as those on long-term and temporary labour migration
c) Integrate provisions on the portability of entitlements and earned benefits into national social security frameworks, designate focal points in countries of origin, transit and destination that facilitate portability requests from migrants, address the difficulties women and older persons can face in accessing social protection, and establish dedicated instruments, such as migrant welfare funds in countries of origin that support migrant workers and their families
My family calls on you Jacinda, to right this wrong. To ensure that, not only my family, but the thousands of people in NZ affected by this outdated and disrespectful law are treated fairly and are able to hold onto our contributions, earned over many years of hard work. Surely you understand this request for urgent changes to our laws. We are counting on you and your conscience to do the right thing.
From: Rt. Hon Jacinda Ardern
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From: J Ardern (MIN)
Dear Kim Lund
I am writing on behalf of the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, to acknowledge your email of 08 February 2020 about your US Social Security payments and the New Zealand Superannuation. Please be assured your comments have been noted.
As the issue you have raised falls within the portfolio responsibilities of the Minister for Social Development, Hon Carmel Sepuloni, your email has been forwarded to the Minister's office for consideration. The Prime Minister relies on her Ministerial colleagues to respond to matters that fall within their portfolio responsibilities.
Thank you for writing to Jacinda.
Office of the Prime Minister