A Pension in New Zealand


retirement globe

Retirement income in New Zealand traditionally comes in two parts:

    • Superannuation from the government (paid from age 65 if you qualify)

    • Private income, from pension plans and investment assets

The number one asset most New Zealanders dream of funding their retirement is a rental property.

The number one way of saving for a private pension plan is called Kiwisaver.

Government Superannuation

The government pays a pension, called superannuation, to everyone in New Zealand aged 65 or over who qualifies. You don’t need to be a New Zealand citizen to qualify. Our easy to read bullet-points about superannuation eligibility are here.

New Zealand Superannuation is currently (from April 1, 2014) worth:

$21,931.52 a year gross if you’re single and living alone, or

$16,599.96 a year gross for each person in a married/civil union/de facto couple.

Superannuation is part of your taxable income. The amount you are paid will be reduced by income tax levied at your normal rate.

New Zealand Superannuation is maintained between 65% and 72.5% of average full-time net earnings.

I Did It My Way – Rental Properties

Talk to Kiwis, and you find that a lot of them dream of buying a second home and paying off the mortgage before they retire. They plan to do this using a combination of:

    • rent paid by the house’s tenants
plus, if necessary,
    • earnings from their job

The idea is that, after they retire, the rental income from the house will be an inflation-proof pension.

KiwiSaver

KiwiSaver is a voluntary savings plan to help you save further for retirement. Although it is supported by the government, your returns and capital are not guaranteed by the government. The key points for savers are:

KiwiSaver is a voluntary savings plan to help you save further for retirement. Although it is supported by the government, your returns and capital are not guaranteed by the government. The key points for savers are:

    • The government contributes $1,000 (tax-free) to each member’s fund when they join KiwiSaver for the first time.

    • Your KiwiSaver payments are processed by the Inland Revenue.

    • The government will also make an annual payment into your fund, provided you have personally put money into the fund that year, either as regular payments or a lump sum. The government payment is tax free and worth 50c for every dollar you put in. The maximum the government will pay each year is $521.43.

    • You can choose to contribute 3%, 4% or 8% of your gross wage to KiwiSaver.

    • You are entitled to a compulsory employer contribution to your KiwiSaver account at a minimum of 3% of your gross salary.

If your employer does not contribute to Kiwisaver, they must pay the 3% into a government approved fund for your retirement. Your employer is not restricted to making 3% payments. They can also voluntarily match the 4% or 8% contribution rate, if you are making your own, personal contributions at one of these rates.

• The Inland Revenue passes your payments to your chosen KiwiSaver scheme provider. If you don’t choose a provider, your payments will automatically be invested by one of the default providers:

            • AMP Services (NZ) Limited
            • ASB Group Investments Limited
            • OnePath (NZ) Limited
            • Mercer (NZ) Limited
            • TOWER Managed Funds Limited

• You can choose to allocate your KiwiSaver money to funds that can be described as conservative, moderate, balanced, or growth.

• KiwiSaver providers charge fees, so do your homework by comparing the fees and make sure you’re not paying too much. For example, currently, if you opt for a balanced investment fund, fees range from 3.6% with Smartshares KiwiSaver Scheme to 8.3% Staples Rodway KiwiSaver Scheme. These are not annual fees. They are the estimated total fees you will have paid over the lifetime of the scheme on your final total fund value at age 65.

• Once you have been investing in KiwiSaver for at least 12 months, you can choose to stop making payments.

• At age 65 you may withdraw your funds in the form of a lump sum. Some providers may offer you other options such as an annuity or regular withdrawals. You can calculate roughly how big your lump sum will be.

• Withdrawals from your KiwiSaver account are tax-free.

• If you join KiwiSaver between the age of 60 and 65, you’ll be able to access your savings after five years.


Comments

  1. Jillian M. Reid says:

    If you have worked in Newzealand for 5yrs and paid taxes etc. are you eligeble for any pension, prorated for the nos. of years worked? Jill

  2. To qualify for New Zealand superannuation you must have lived in New Zealand for at least 10 years since you turned 20. Five of these years must be since you turned 50.

    New Zealand has social security agreements with Australia, Canada, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Jersey/Guernsey, The Netherlands and The United Kingdom.

    It’s possible that time spent in New Zealand will help with your eligibility for a state pension in these countries.

    Similarly, your eligibility for a pension in New Zealand may be helped by time spent living and/or working in one of these countries.

    If you’re living in another country and you’re hoping that time spent in New Zealand will help you qualify for a pension in that country, you need to check with that country’s social security people.

    (Time spent in a country New Zealand has an agreement with won’t entitle you to a higher superannuation payment from New Zealand’s government. It can, however, help you qualify for superannuation in New Zealand, if you haven’t spent enough time in New Zealand to meet the normal criteria.)

    Reference

    As always, if there’s money at stake, advice from an independent financial specialist may prove useful.

  3. Tom McPhee says:

    I have received the pension since turning 65 (lived in NZ all my life) travel to stay with family in Fiji for 6 months to a year, do i still get the pension while out of the country

  4. Thanks for asking Tom. Yes, provided you’ve been a resident of NZ between the ages of 20 and 65, you’ll get your full New Zealand Superannuation while you’re overseas.

    You’ll need to let Work and Income know what you’re doing at least six weeks before you leave NZ.

  5. Bill Bowie says:

    I moved to Western australia in 2008 for family reasons.I am now 61 years old and worked in NZ full time from Jan 1968 to 2007.Can you advise me what my entitlement to an NZ pension would be.Would it be reduced because I am no longer a tax payer from 2008.Can I pay towards it from Australia.
    Thanks Bill B

    • HI Bill,
      Yes it is possible to receive NZ Super in Australia. New Zealand and Australia have a social security agreement which covers New Zealand Superannuation. The amount of NZ super you can receive will depend on your individual circumstances.

      In very general terms if you have lived in New Zealand or Australia for the full 540 months (45 years) between the ages of 20 and 65 then you will qualify for the full basic rate of NZ Super.

      Be aware that ‘The total amount (of pension) you get from both countries (New Zealand and Australia) is the same as if you had lived in Australia all your working life. Australian Age Pensions are income and asset tested. This means that if the rate of Australian Age Pension is nil because of your income and assets, then you’re unable to get New Zealand Superannuation.’ Work and Income have information about NZ citizens living in Australia and their pension entitlements.

      The Work and Income website says:

      Can I receive New Zealand Superannuation?

      You may be able to receive this in Australia if:
      • you meet the New Zealand criteria (except being ordinarily resident in New Zealand)
      • you have been resident and present in New Zealand for more than 10 years since the age of 20 with five years since the age of 50 (you can use time spent living in Australia to count towards this)
      • you have lived in New Zealand or Australia continuously for one year since age 20
      • you are an Australian resident (generally, this means that you must intend to remain in Australia for at least one year or have been living in Australia for at least 26 weeks)
      • you are in New Zealand or Australia when you apply
      • you are 65 or over

      Work and Income have a Senior Services International team that you can contact by phone from Australia on 1800 150 479 to advise you further.

      • Hi, I will be 65 in a few weeks ,dual nationality NZ/UK returned back from NZ two years ago (2012) after being living and working in NZ for the previous 12 years .
        I have been in touch with the UK pensions system and have sorted out this side ,I am entitled to the full state basic pension which is approximately £7500 ( nz $15000 ) . Am I entitled to any further pension monies on top of this amount from NZ ? besides the 12years continuous already mentioned I have worked in NZ for a further 5 or 6 years in the 1990s . If you are not able to answer these questioned could advise who I must contact to gain these answers.
        Yours sincerely
        Chris Lund

        • Hi Christopher,

          The rules regarding NZ Super can be complicated and you can contact Work and Income New Zealand by phone: 0800 777 227 and they will advise you concerning your individual circumstances.

          Also there may be people in your situation on the ENZ forum who would be able to give you an answer.

  6. Chris Harris says:

    Hi, I am an NZ citizen having lived & worked in Australia for the past 30 years or so. I see on your website that, at least if living in NZ, it is possible, if working after the age of 65 years, that super is paid on top of wages to someone that qualifies for super.
    This maybe sounds better than for an Aust citizen living in Aust & possibly too good to be true. Can you please clarify for someone in my position ? Thank you.

    • Hi Chris,
      Receiving other income such as wages doesn’t affect your New Zealand Superannuation unless your partner isn’t qualified to get New Zealand Superannuation and you choose to include them in your payments.

      • Chris Harris says:

        Hi, thanks for the reply. My wife is an Aust citizen currently receiving a part Aust pension so she would not be included in any payment claimed & we would divulge all info to both govts. So what does this mean in terms of eligibility please ?

        • Hi Chris,

          For detailed individual circumstances, I suggest you contact Work and Income New Zealand.

          Work and Income have a Senior Services International team that you can contact by phone from Australia on 1800 150 479 to advise you.

  7. I am a NZ citizen and lived in NZ until i was 38 when i then moved to the UK. I worked in NZ continuously from age 16 to 38. I am now 52 and will probably stay in the Uk until retirement age. Do i qualify for any NZ pension

  8. Hi there,

    If you return to New Zealand when you retire you will probably qualify for NZ Super.

    To qualify for New Zealand superannuation you must have lived in New Zealand for at least 10 years since you turned 20. Five of these years must be since you turned 50.

    However, New Zealand has social security agreements with Australia, Canada, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Jersey/Guernsey, The Netherlands and The United Kingdom.

    Your eligibility for a pension in New Zealand may be helped by time spent living and/or working in one of these countries.

    You can read more about it here.

  9. Hi there,
    My Mum and Dad are thinking of moving to NZ from Oz to be close to me. They are both retired in their late70’s and Australian citizens. What possessions can they bring with them and what taxes etc will be charged. For example, they have a ute with a camper/caravan-type unit on the back. They want to bring it over – what will they be charged on that? Also a small car as well as household items.

  10. Sophie Allan says:

    Hi,
    My mother in law is a UK citirzen. She has lived in NZ for 46 years, is 72 and a NZ permanent resident. We would like to know if the NZ pension that she receives can be transfered to the UK? Or what persentage thereof.
    Thanks.

    • Hi Sophie,

      If your mother in law moves to the UK to live she will not be able to continue to receive NZ Super but she may be able to get a UK State Pension. She will need to apply to The Pension Service the UK.

      Work and Income has a useful page for New Zealand pensioners living in the UK. It says:

      ‘New Zealanders that reside in the United Kingdom can generally use their New Zealand residence to help them meet the residential/contribution criteria for United Kingdom benefits and pensions.

      You must be in the United Kingdom to apply for United Kingdom benefits and pensions.

      The Pension Service in the United Kingdom decides who can get United Kingdom benefits and pensions and how much will be paid, so if you have any queries about payments, please contact them.’

  11. Marg Theris says:

    Hi, my Mother is 75yrs old and staying with me in Australia because of family reasons.
    I have lived here, had my family and worked and paid tax since 1988.
    How long can Mum stay with me while still recieving her NZ pension.
    Thanks

    • Hi Marg,

      If your mother is on holiday, she can go overseas on a holiday or travel for 26 weeks or less and, if she already receives New Zealand Superannuation, her payments can continue as normal. She should contact Work and Income New Zealand before she travels and then contact them again when she returns.

      More info is on this page:

      If your mother is now residing in Australia, she can continue to get her New Zealand Superannuation for up to 26 weeks (inclusive) after she left New Zealand.
      After that your mother would need to qualify for an Australian Pension to ensure continued NZ Super payments.

      To get an Australian Age Pension, you must be an Australian resident. In general, this means that you must have been in Australia for more than 26 weeks or intend to stay there for more than 12 months.

      If you plan to reside in Australia for more than 26 weeks and want your New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension payments to continue, you must first apply at Centrelink for an Australian Age Pension. You need to do this within 26 weeks (inclusive) of arriving in Australia (if you’re 65 or over). If Centrelink grant you an Australian Age Pension, they will send you a New Zealand Superannuation application form to complete so the Work and Income International Services team can work out how much you’ll be paid while you’re living in Australia.

      The date you applied for Australian Age Pension will be used as the date of application for New Zealand Superannuation (paid in Australia). Please note that your partner will be excluded from your payments from the same date. If you don’t apply within 26 weeks (inclusive), you may not qualify for payment of New Zealand Superannuation from the date you leave New Zealand and you might end up with a debt to repay.

      Centrelink
      International Services
      PO Box 7809
      Canberra BC ACT 2610
      AUSTRALIA
      Calling from Australia 13 1673
      Calling from New Zealand 0800 441 248
      +61 3 6222 2799

  12. Gordon Bellamy says:

    I left NZ when I was 56. Worked in UK for parts of 7 years. Now retired to Spain. As I would like to obtain the NZ pension can you please advise if it is possible to obtain a NZ pension and ther process to qualify for a New Zealand pension in two years time?

    (I will qualify for a reduced UK pension because I am living in Spain) Do I have to return to NZ to qualify for the NZ pension? If yes, how long for? Once obtained, can I leave and live elsewhere? After how long? For example, Spain? I have dual citizenship – Uk & NZ I do understand that any pension received from UK will be deducted from any possible NZ pension. Appreciate your help. Gordon B.

    • Hi Gordon,

      New Zealand Work and Income provide information about qualifying for NZ Super when you are living overseas. They have an International Services team that specialises in paying New Zealand benefits and pensions overseas. You can contact them on Ph: + 64 4 978 1180 or visit their website for full contact details.

  13. Dzung Nguyen says:

    Dear NZ,

    I am a nZ citizen since 1986 but have worked in NZ continuously since 1985. I am now 58 years old and if I can get a permanent residence in Montreal, Canada to be near my family, will I be covered for free healthcare in my retirement over there ? Will I need to go back to live in NZ for 6 months of each year to be eligible for my NZ pension ?

    Thank you.

    • Hi,

      Work and income say:
      ‘You may be able to receive NZ Super in Canada if:
      *you have been resident and present in New Zealand for more than 10 years since the age of 20 with five years since the age of 50
      *you are in Canada or New Zealand when you apply
      * you intend to reside in Canada for at least 26 weeks
      * you are 65 or over’

  14. Patricia Hinton says:

    I lived in NZ for 34 years with my husband before we came to Australia to be with my younger daughter. I am now a widow and wish to return to NZ. Can you tell me what level of NZ pension I would receive if I made the move back.

    • Hi Patricia,

      If you return to NZ, Work and Income say that:

      ‘If you live in New Zealand or intend to, you may qualify for a benefit or pension from both New Zealand and Australia…..When this happens the total amount you receive will generally be similar to the amount you would have received if you had spent all your life in New Zealand.’

      You can contact Work and Income Senior Services International on 1800 150 479 who are able to advise you further on your entitlements if you were to return to New Zealand.

  15. my mother and father moved here ( Australia ) 5yrs ago dad was 63 , mums still working 20hrs a week they have no investments and a mortgage . Dads only getting NZ pension nzd$100pw which is stuff all once converted and aus$17pw , how are they meant to survive on this and surely this cant be right hes close to a nervous breakdown can anyone help please

  16. I was born in New Zealand, worked in Te Rapa at Bond & Bond. Married then moved to Australia. We went back to New Zealand and lived in Auckland for about 12 years, where we both worked, then returned to Australia. I am now a widower and aged 63yrs. I was wondering if I am allegeable to get a pension here. I have met quite a few Kiwi’s that are on the N Z pension and live here.

  17. John Godfrey says:

    I left New Zealand in 1981, just before my 25th birthday. I have spent the subsequent 30 years approximately 50:50 between the UK and Australia (i.e 15 years in each). If I move back to New Zealand when will I be eligible for a NZ pension?

    • Hi John,

      Yes, it is likely you will qualify for NZ Super. This is because there are social security agreements in place between New Zealand and both the UK and Australia.
      It means that time spent in Australia and the UK will ‘count’ towards the number of NZ resident years required to qualify for NZ Super.

      To qualify for NZ Super you must have been resident and present in New Zealand for more than 10 years since the age of 20 with five years since the age of 50 (you can use time spent living in Australia or UK to count towards this)

      Work and Income have a Senior Services International team that you can contact by phone from Australia on 1800 150 479 to advise you further.

  18. I left New Zealand in 1965 when I was 22 years old. I am now living in Australia and have lived here for the past 8 years and 3 months. Will I be eligible to claim for age pension while retiring in Australia ? I am currently 69 years old.

    Thanks.

    • Hi Roger,

      There is an international social security agreement between Australia and New Zealand which covers the Australian Age Pension and NZ Super.
      With this agreement you may be paid benefits or pensions made up of payments from both New Zealand and Australia When this happens the total amount you receive will be similar to the amount you would have received had you spent all your life in Australia.

      I suggest that you contact Centrelink (now part of Dept Human Services) Australia and they will advise you how to apply.

      Here are the basic rules:

      Receiving an Australian Age pension in Australia
      Centrelink decides who can receive an Australian benefit or pension and how much will be paid. Australian benefits and pensions are income and asset tested. Centrelink decides the rate of benefit or pension they will pay you.

      The time you spent in New Zealand (between ages 20 and 65) counts towards the10 year residence requirement for the Australian Age pension.

      Receiving NZ Super in Australia
      Work and Income New Zealand uses certain criteria to decide who can receive a NZ Super in Australia and how much will be paid.
      You may be able to receive this in Australia if:
      • you meet the New Zealand criteria (except being ordinarily resident in New Zealand)
      • you have been resident and present in New Zealand for more than 10 years since the age of 20 with five years since the age of 50 (you can use time spent living in Australia to count towards this)
      • you have lived in New Zealand or Australia continuously for one year since age 20
      • you are an Australian resident (generally, this means that you must intend to remain in Australia for at least one year or have been living in Australia for at least 26 weeks)
      • you are in New Zealand or Australia when you apply
      • you are 65 or over

  19. marion eldby says:

    Thinking of returning to Norway which NZ does not have an agreement with . Could I take my Pension with me. My husband would relinquish his NZ pension .

    • Hi Marian, the current rules on New Zealand Superannuation for countries NZ has no agreement indicate that it’s possible to get NZ Super. To get it you must:

      • qualify for the New Zealand Superannuation or the Veteran’s Pension in your own right
      • be a New Zealand resident and living here when you apply
      • be planning to live in another country or countries for more than 26 weeks
      • complete an application for payment which states the country or countries in which you intend to live.

      Your payment will be based on the number of months you’ve lived in New Zealand between the ages of 20 and 65. If you’ve lived in New Zealand continuously between the ages of 20 and 65 you’ll receive 100% of your New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension entitlement. If you’ve lived in New Zealand for less than 45 years between the ages of 20 and 65 you’ll be paid a proportionate amount.

      Read more…

  20. Hi,
    I am married to a nz citizen, she has lived and worked in Australia since she was 22, I am an Aussie and we wish to retire to New Zealand. If we stayed in Australia we would have no pension entitlement as we would exceed the means test ceiling. When we retire to NZ at age 65, (me born 1955, wife 1953) would we be entitled to any NZ pension. Many Thanks

    • Hi Cary,

      Yes, it is likely you will qualify for NZ Super. This is because there are social security agreements in place between New Zealand and Australia. It means that time spent in Australia will ‘count’ towards the number of NZ resident years required to qualify for NZ Super.

      NZ Super is not means or asset tested (but social security pensions from other countries may affect it).

      To qualify for NZ Super you must have been resident and present in New Zealand for more than 10 years since the age of 20 with five years since the age of 50 (you can use time spent living in Australia to count towards this)

      From Work and Income:

      ‘Q. What happens if my income and/or assets are above the limits for an Australian pension?

      A. If you live in Australia, this means that you won’t be paid an Australian pension or a New Zealand pension or benefit.
      If you live in New Zealand, your New Zealand payment will not be affected.’

  21. Julie Roberts says:

    I am a 52 year old NZ Citizen and British Citizen (by descent – am on UK passport). I have worked in NZ from the age of 17 until now. We are looking to move to Spain in a year or so, and I would like to know how this affects NZ Super at 65 if we are living in Spain when I turn 65. Will I be looking at no NZ Super eligibility or will I be eligble only if I return to NZ to apply for it and then leave again? I will be looking to work in Spain if possible. I also would visit NZ on a regular basis.
    Many Thanks.

  22. Hi I was born in UK and worked for 5 years there, and also worked 2 years in Sydney and came to NZ in 19173. I am a NZ citizen I turn 65 on 15th March 2013 – would there be any holdup with my receiving the pension because of my working in other countries?

    • Hi Jude,

      To qualify for New Zealand superannuation you must have lived in New Zealand for at least 10 years since you turned 20. Five of these years must be since you turned 50.

      However, New Zealand has social security agreements with Australia, Canada, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Jersey/Guernsey, The Netherlands and The United Kingdom.

      Your eligibility for a pension in New Zealand may be helped by time spent living and/or working in one of these countries.
      You can read more about it here.

  23. Hello,

    I left New Zealand when I was 18 years old (2008) I have lived in Australia since I left.
    Will I be able to access the pension if I decide to come back to New Zealand later in life?

    • Hi Gemma,

      Yes, under the current social security agreement between New Zealand and Australia if you return to NZ, you would qualify for NZ Super in the usual way. This is because time spent in Australia will ‘count’ towards the number of NZ resident years required to qualify for NZ Super.

      This is the situation today, there is no guarantee that it will remain this way in the future.

  24. Alexis Stewart says:

    I am a New Zealand citizen and a Canadian Citizen. Having married a Canadian at age 33. I had worked in N.Z. from the age of 15 until I left at age 28. Am I entitled to a pension from N.Z.? I am now 61 years old and still living in Canada.

    • Hi Alexis,

      Assuming you want to stay in Canada, then it is possible to get a pension from New Zealand.

      This is because there is a social security agreement between New Zealand and Canada.

      According to NZ regulations, you may be able to receive NZ Super in Canada if:

      • you have been resident and present in New Zealand for more than 10 years since the age of 20 with five years since the age of 50 (your ”Canadian creditable periods” in Canada may be able to be used for this but you must have resided in New Zealand continuously for at least one year since age 20)
      • you are in Canada or New Zealand when you apply
      • you intend to reside in Canada for at least 26 weeks
      • you are 65 or over

      To apply for a New Zealand benefit or pension from Canada, contact Service Canada.( 1800 454 8731)
      You (and your partner) will need to complete an application form and provide proof of the time you resided in New Zealand. This can include testimonials, work references and letters from neighbours and friends (please provide their contact details).
      You will also need:
      • proof of your identity (your passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, or driver’s licence)
      • your bank account details so that payments can be made to you (bank book, bank statement or deposit slip).

      There is also more information from Work and Income on the Social Security Agreement with Canada

  25. My wife (who is an Australian citizen, but lived in NZ for the last 40 years) and I are nearing retirement age and intend spending our retirement in Australia. Will National superannuation be available to us if we move to Australia.

  26. Hi!

    I am a dual citizen of NZ and the USA. I currently spend most of my time in the USA but that will likely change in the future. I would like to make sure I meet the 10 year residency requirement, but I don’t know how much of the year I should spend in NZ to be considered a resident.

  27. Hi,

    My wife and I are Australian and now live permanently in NZ. I receive an Australian Pension that gets topped up by about $50 per month by the NZ pension. Do I have to declare my Australian pension and pay tax on it in NZ, or is that covered in a double tax agreement?

    • Hi Becks,

      You will usually have to pay NZ tax on your Australian pension. Any Australian income tax deducted from your Australian pension can be used as a credit towards any NZ income tax you may have to pay.

      You can contact Inland Revenue to discuss your specific details on 0800 227 774.

      There is a booklet from the IRD for people in your circumstances receiving an overseas social security pension. The booklet is currently being updated, but the old version is available here.

  28. My friend is a Citizen of NZ. He is 59 years old. He fulfills all the crriteria of NZ Superannuation. Can he get New Zealand Superannuation / pension at the age of 60? If so, what is the rule? Please clarify.

  29. William Fielding. says:

    I am a u/k national aged 63 just, I was thinking of coming to live in New Zealand with my two grown up sons aged 25 and 21 along with my wife aged 56. I did live in Australia in the 60s for three years but I know that will not count for anything but thought it best to mention. Would it be possible.??

    Kind Regards.

    Bill.

  30. I am an American citizen with permanent residency in NZ and have lived here continuously for the last 13 years. And 17 of the last 19 years. I am thinking of returning to the US when I retire. Can I collect the NZ superannuation after I leave NZ?
    Tom

    • Hi Tom,

      The current rules on New Zealand Superannuation for countries NZ has no agreement, like the USA, indicate that it’s possible to get NZ Super.

      To get it you must:
      • qualify for the New Zealand Superannuation or the Veteran’s Pension in your own right
      • be a New Zealand resident and living here when you apply
      • be planning to live in another country or countries for more than 26 weeks
      • complete an application for payment which states the country or countries in which you intend to live.

      Your payment will be based on the number of months you’ve lived in New Zealand between the ages of 20 and 65. If you’ve lived in New Zealand continuously between the ages of 20 and 65 you’ll receive 100% of your New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension entitlement. If you’ve lived in New Zealand for less than 45 years between the ages of 20 and 65 you’ll be paid a proportionate amount.

      Read more…

  31. Hi I am a NZer been living out for NZ manily in Aust since I was 21, now in late 40’s. I need to return to NZ to care for my elderly father. Am I entitled to a NZ carers pension?

    • Hi Jo,

      Yes, there is a carers benefit. This benefit may be for you if you cannot work full-time because you need to care for someone.

      To get this benefit you need to apply to Work and Income. You will also need to see a doctor – usually the doctor of the person you are caring for. The doctor will advise whether the person you care for meets the medical criteria.

      There is an income limit for this assistance and the maximum current rate is $289.58 per week before tax.

      For more details contact Work and Income.

  32. mike ferris says:

    Hello………… I am a new zealander aged 75. Lived & worked in Christchurch until going to Europe at age 27. I wish to return to ChCh to be near my family.

    Do I qualify for any Pension benefits after such an absence ? Thanks for your help Mike F

  33. Helene Fiol says:

    Hello, I am a NZ citizen aged 58. I worked in NZ since I was 18 years old and left when I was 53 years in 2008. I live in France now.
    Would I qualify for a pension if I return to NZ?
    thanks
    Helene

    • Hi Helen,

      Yes you are likely to qualify for NZ Super if you return to New Zealand before you are 60.

      The current rules are :

      You may be able to get New Zealand Superannuation if you:
      • are aged 65 or over
      • are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
      • normally live in New Zealand at the time you apply.

      To qualify for New Zealand superannuation you must also have lived in New Zealand for at least 10 years since you turned 20. Five of these years must be since you turned 50.

      There is more information here.

  34. Filipe Ratu Naivaukula says:

    What do I need to do before qualifying for Super, I’m currently living and working in Fiji. I will be turning 60 come may next fall. Note: I am a NZ citizen… vinaka

  35. Paula George says:

    Hi

    I am a New Zealand citizen but left NZ at the end of 1975. I worked in NZ for 6 years prior to that. I lived and worked in Austrialia until 1993 when I moved to the UK with my husband. I have worked in the UK since then but not for the length of time to receive a full UK pension. Does the 6 years I worked in NZ count towards my UK pension?

    • Hi Paula,

      Yes, in general the adult years that you spent in New Zealand can be used towards your UK State pension entitlement. This is because there is a social security agreement that covers pensions between the two countries. You may need to provide evidence or a statement with the dates that you lived in New Zealand.

      You can contact the Government International Pension Centre in the UK on 0191 218 7777 and they will advise you further.

  36. Hi

    My husband and I have been living in Australia since 2002, I am 62 this year and was wondering are we entitled to an Australian aged pension at 65 or do we need to return to NZ to get NZ pension.

    • Hi Sue,

      Work and Income say that:

      If you stay in Australia you may be entitled to benefits or pensions made up of payments from both New Zealand and Australia e.g. what you are paid may be made up of a New Zealand Superannuation and an Australian Age Pension payment. When this happens the total amount you receive will be similar to the amount you would have received had you spent all your life in Australia.

      There is a social security agreement between NZ and Australia that covers this and you can read more about it here.

  37. Hi

    Thank you for you quick response, the problem we have is that we aren”t classed as permanent residents anymore as the law between Australia and NZ changed in 2001 or 2001 all kiwis now are classed that we have the right to be here and work (special visa) but have to apply now for permanent residency and its not a forgone conclusion you will get it even though you pay for it and that’s where my problems lie, Hope you can clarify this for me. As on the web site it states permanent residency, do you see my problem. Once again thank you.

    • Hi Sue,

      You don’t need an Australian permanent residency visa to qualify for a pension under the social security agreement.

      The social security agreement provides for New Zealand citizens who are (or were) resident in Australia.

      The term ‘Australian resident’ under the social security agreement means the right to live and work in Australia indefinitely and does not refer to a specific visa. The NZ special category visa that NZ citizens are now given is a ‘permanent’ visa in that sense and so you will qualify for the benefits and pensions covered by the social security agreement (provided you meet the rest of the criteria).

      To quote the agreement definitions:

      An Australian resident
      An Australian resident is someone who lives in Australia and has permission to remain there permanently, either because they are a New Zealand citizen who holds a Special Category Visa, an Australian citizen, or they have a permanent resident visa issued by the Australian Government.’

      For any other benefits outside of the social security agreement you may need a specific permanent residence visa and/ or fulfill other criteria such as a waiting period.

      For peace of mind you can contact Centrelink Australia (13 1673) or Work and Income in New Zealand (1800 150 479)

  38. Hi there,

    I have been working in the UK for the past 4 years and receiving state pension. Am I able to transfer my UK pension to a kiwisaver?

    Many thanks.

    • Hi Claire,

      If you move permanently from the UK to NZ and are a NZ citizen or NZ resident, then generally you will continue to receive the UK pension and may qualify for NZ Super.

      Work and Income say ‘The combined amount of your New Zealand and overseas pension payments you receive will be similar to the amount you would have been paid if you spent all your life in New Zealand.’

      Kiwisaver is separate from the NZ and UK state pension. If you are over 60 years old when you join Kiwisaver , you’ll have to be a member for 5 years before you can get your money out.

  39. Hi
    I am a NZ’er aged 65 and on a full NZ Super pension. I know about the rule of being allowed to leave NZ for 26 weeks each year but how often can I do this? Every year? Or, say at two or three yearly intervals? I have phoned the necessary department but verbally given different advice each time. What is the correct rule, please. Thank you.

    • Hi Margret,
      Very good question. I have the same issue. All my children are in Australia and I want to visit and stay with them for few weeks at a time, and return to new Zealand before 26 weeks are up.
      No one can give me right answer. I am amazed that we are prisoners in the country, so we need to return after 26 weeks, then cannot go else where for 26 weeks without loosing pension. Surely this cannot be true? I am also entitled to UK pension but they will be off set with NZ super, and If I claim Australian pension then all my hard work earned money due to means testing will get zero NZ pension, zero UK pension where I contributed all my working life. So I apply tax resident rule for residency and hope it will work.

  40. Hi,
    Have been working in Australia for the last 12 years and turn 65 next year. Rest of my working life in native New Zealand. What am I eligible for pension wise if retiring in Australia. Any info would be much appreciated.

    Thank you.

  41. Dale Sanders says:

    I turn 65 next year and need to know how I go about applying for my NZ pension. I have been in Indonesia for the past 8 years as my wife manages a small resort hotel here.

    Regards Dale Sanders

    • Dear Dale,

      The basic rules for NZ Super are:

      You may get New Zealand Superannuation if you:
      • are aged 65 or over
      • are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
      • normally live in New Zealand at the time you apply.

      You must also have lived in New Zealand for at least 10 years since you turned 20. Five of those years must be since you turned 50.

      For tailored information to your individual circumstances you can contact Senior Services international on 64 4 978 1180

  42. Sue Ferguson says:

    I was born in Oz and lived and worked there for 42 years. I have now lived and worked in NZ from 1999- 2002 and brought my home. In 2002- 2004 I lived and worked in the UK.I i returned to NZ in 2004 and became a NZ citizen, have a permanet job here and have transferred my oz super to kiwi saver. I intend to retire here in 2022. Would I qualify for the NZ pension or do I have to apply for the OZ pension? Thank you for the clarity you can give us.

    • Dear Sue,

      There is a social security agreement between Australia and New Zealand. This means that if you retire in NZ, you may qualify for payments of Australia Age pension and NZ Super. When this happens the total amount you receive will generally be similar to the amount you would have received if you had spent all your life in New Zealand.

      For specific enquiries about the Agreement between Australia and New Zealand you can contact New Zealand International Services on telephone 0800 777 227.

  43. John Ferguson says:

    I have lived and worked in the UK for 47 years and paid into my super for 28 years. I moved to NZ in 2004 and have become a NZ citizen, have a home and a job here and intend to retire here in 6 years time. At the moment I have lived and worked in NZ for 9 years. If I leave NZ now for a year or 2 to do work in Oz will I still qualify for the full NZ pension understanding that my 28 years of UK pension will be used for some of the NZ pension?
    In other words… Do I have to be in NZ continuously for 10 years…. With 5 of them being since I was over 50?
    Does my 47 years of living in the UK plus the 9 years in NZ qualify me now?

    • Dear John,

      From what you say, you will have lived either in New Zealand or in countries where there are social security agreements in place, namely the UK and Australia. This means that, in general terms, if you retire in NZ, the combined amount of your New Zealand and overseas pension payments you will receive will be similar to the amount you would have been paid if you spent all your life in New Zealand.

      International agreements can be complex and to be sure of your entitlements you would need to contact Senior Services International, Work and Income on 0800 777 227 for specific enquiries about the UK and Australia agreement.

  44. Hi
    I have read through all of your very helpful replies but would like some reassurance re my situation.
    I am a New Zealander by birth and worked here from the age of 16 (1970) until the age of 46 (2000). Since 2000 I have been working continuously in the UK with the exception of 6 months of this year (2013) working in Wellington. We are returning to the UK as my husband (who is English) has been unable to find employment here. We own two rental properties in Wellington and have been paying tax on this income. I understand there is a social security agreement with the UK – what would my NZ entitlement be, please?
    Many thanks
    Rose

  45. Jocelyn Tintera says:

    from age 16 until I was 40 I worked various jobs with companies in Christchurch and Greymouth, then at 41 I went to live in USA where I stayed for 24 years and in 2011 I returned to NZ. I am aware that I have to be back in NZ for 5years before I can collect super annuation, but now Im being told that IRS doesnt have any records that go back 24 years and tell me because there is no records there is no proof that I worked all those years before I went to USA and that I wont be able to get super annuation….why should I suffer in retirement just because they didnt keep the rcords??

  46. Hi
    We are from South Africa and my parents joined us in 2005. My dad was 60 at the time. He has been working as a marine engineer for the last 9 years. Due to the physical nature of this job he is considering retirement. Given that he is 69, has been living and working in NZ and gained NZ citizenship. How successful is his chances of receiving his New Zealand pension? Since he immigrated to NZ at 60 he was not eligible for South African pension and still not.

  47. Stephen McGregor says:

    Hi I am a New Zealand born citizen ( 1963)also with Australian citizenship
    I worked in NZ from the age of 16 to 21
    Went to the UK for 3 years
    Then back to NZ aged 25 to 35
    Then moved to and Currently working in Australia
    I am looking at moving back to NZ some time in the future
    The questions I would like to ask is based on my current status us
    -Am I entitled to a NZ pension at retirement age
    -My wife has been in Australia all her life is she entitled to claim a pension in NZ and at what age
    Cheers
    Steve

    • Hi Steve,

      You may be entitled to a NZ Pension if you retire in New Zealand.

      Generally speaking your state pension is likely to be made up partly from the Australian Age Pension and partly from NZ Super. When this happens the total amount you receive will generally be similar to the amount you would have received if you had spent all your life in New Zealand.

      New Zealand Work and Income provide information about qualifying for NZ Super when you are living overseas. They have an International Services team that specialises in paying New Zealand benefits and pensions overseas. You can contact them on Ph: + 64 4 978 1180 or visit their website for full contact details.

  48. Is it compulsory to go on full pension at 65.
    If you continue to work full time will this effect applying for pension at a later date.

    • Hi Helen,

      NZ Super is not income or asset tested if you have reached the qualifying age. This means that you can continue to work, earn other income or have assets and still receive your NZ Super Pension payments.
      If you apply after you turn 65, and you qualify, your payments will only start from the date you apply.

  49. I lived in New Zealand for 24 yrs then moved to live in Australia to live for the last 13 yrs.
    1) When I turn 65 in October 2019 can I apply for NZ pension as I am not eligible for Australian pension till 66. 2) When I reach 66, can I continue receiving NZ pension even though I will be retiring in Australia as my family are now in Australia.
    3) If my pension has to come from NZ and Australian govt how do they work out how much each govt. Is paying and also how does the income & asset testing come into play since Nz govt does not income or asset test while Australian govt does.

    • Hi Anna,

      The rules regarding NZ Super and the Age pension can be complicated and you can contact Work and Income New Zealand from Australia on 1 800 150 479 and they will advise you concerning your individual circumstances.

      Also there may be people in your situation on the ENZ forum who would be able to give you an answer.

  50. Hi there,

    My husband and I are in our early-mid 50’s and are currently away from NZ and have been for the past 2 1/2 years. We are paying taxes as we still have a company in NZ and also derive income from this. We have both worked since 15yrs of age in NZ and want to know whether we will be entitled to a pension if we don’t come back for another 10 years.

    Regards
    Judy

    • Hi Judy,

      The rules regarding NZ Super can be complicated and you can contact Work and Income New Zealand by phone: + 64 4 978 1180 and they will advise you concerning your individual circumstances.

      Also there may be people in your situation on the ENZ forum who would be able to give you an answer.

  51. Hi, My mom joined us in NZ and received her PR approx. 5 years ago. She is 70 years of age. She receives a small pension from my dads ex-employer since he passed. Would she be allowed to apply for NZ pension.

  52. Warwick Francis says:

    My Japanese wife has a resident’s visa and would like to know when she can get a pension. We are mindful of the rules in which one must have spent a total of 10 years in NZ before getting a pension, 5 years of which must have been after the age of 50.

    In her case, she is of the age, currently 65, at which relatives in Japan are are getting seriously ill and/or dying, requiring, under Japanese culture that she, the only daughter, go and look after them. Am I correct in understanding that if she were to have to go back to Japan to take care of the above mentioned, that such time would be deducted from the required time in NZ ? For example, if she has already accumulated 3 years “in-country” time, any time spent out of NZ is not counted as “in-country time so that if in the next 7 years she has to be in Japan for a total of 1 year, she would be 1 year short of the required 10 years in-country time.

    Please advise as to whether my understanding above is correct or not.

    Regards,

    Warwick M. Francis

    • Hi Warwick,

      The residency rules for a NZ state pension can be quite complicated. There is currently no social security agreement between Japan and NZ, so I suggest that you contact Work and Income Senior Services International on Ph: 0800 777 227 who will be able to advise you about your specific situation.

  53. John Bould says:

    I turn 65 in November 2014 and my wife is 63 years of age. I was made redundant from my job in 2009 and apart from very small jobs, have not had significant income since.
    We have both worked in NZ all our lives apart from 2 years OE in 1976/77.
    What is the earliest date we can commence Super and how much will it be ?

    • Hi,

      You can receive NZ Super from age 65. Single people can receive $421.76 gross per week and couples (both qualifying) can receive $638.46 gross per week. You can contact Work and Income from NZ on 0800 552 002 for details regarding your specific circumstances.

  54. Gary Wentworth Smith says:

    My mother aged 84 is a UK citizen who went to NZ in 1953 and had NZ residency all that time, she also received a state pension from 1990.
    She moved to England in 1997 to get remarried and had her pension transferred to the UK, however her second husband has since died and is looking a moving back to NZ. The question is can she still receive her state pension and is it easy enough to transfer back?
    I am a born and bred New Zealander and want to return home in the near future and care for my mother full time, would I be eligible for a carers benefit (we have a full medical history for my mothers condition).

  55. Hi,

    I have worked in Australia in the past and have a superannuation account there. I am now established back in New Zealand.

    Is it possible to make contributions to my Australian super while in New Zealand? (NB, for clarity I am a tax resident of NZ and have been for some time).
    Thanks.

  56. I live and work in the UAE and have done for the past 5 years, Prior to that I lived in the UK for 12 years and have a UK pension with a company there. My family lives in NewZealand and I will retire there. I’m thinking of moving my pension to a NewZealand QROPS run by an FCA regulated DFM is this going to me any tax implications under the new tax rules?

  57. Hi my mother lives with me in Italy. Next year she will be 65 and able to recieve the NZ pension. i was informed that there is no possibility for her to receive the NZ pension in Itlay.

    She is thinking about moving back to NZ, what would be her travel restrictions as far as spending time here with me in Italy?

    Does she need to in NZ for any number of days a year? And do these days have to be consecutive?

    I heard that they are working on a reciprical agreement between NZ and Italy, but know how slow things move here in Italy I am sure that this will be a long process.

    Regards K

    • Hi Kelly,

      The residency rules for a NZ state pension can be quite complicated. There is currently no social security agreement between Italy and NZ, so I suggest that you contact Work and Income Senior Services International on Ph: 64 4 978 1180 who will be able to advise you about your specific situation.

      There may also be people in your situation on the ENZ forum who would be able to give you an answer.

  58. Mary Belcher says:

    My husband is 65, worked in NZ since 15 yrs of age, a NZ citizen, receiving the pension now.
    I am 61, worked in NZ since 15 yrs of age, a NZ citizen.
    We are wanting to go and live with family in USA on a permanent basis.
    Can my husband be there the whole time from now on, or does he have to return to NZ from time to time, and if so what minimum length of time in NZ?
    What is the maximum time I can be over there each year as I’m not receiving the pension yet?
    Thank you, looking forward to your reply.

    • Hi Mary,

      Firstly issues regarding moving overseas and NZ Super can be quite complicated, so you may want to contact Work and Income on 0800 777 227 with your exact details and they will advise accordingly.

      In general terms, there is no social security agreement between NZ and the USA. This means your husband can apply to take up to 100% of the basic rate of New Zealand Superannuation if he moves permanently to the USA.

      Generally, your husband will qualify for the full basic NZ Super if he has resided in NZ for 540 months (45 years). Residing for less than 45 years results in a pro rata reduction.

      Regarding your circumstances, you would need to contact Work and Income about timings.

  59. Theresa Brown says:

    My father was granted permanent residency to NZ on 13 February 2013 because all his children have been living and working in NZ since 2001. He has been living in NZ since Oct 2013 and is 68 years old. My question is will he qualify for the NZ pension after 10 years living in NZ even if he never worked in NZ? Does the 10 years applies from the date PR was granted or from date he arrived in NZ?

    • Hi Theresa,

      Yes, my understanding is that he will qualify for Super after staying in NZ for 10 years from when he was granted permanent residency. You can contact Work and Income on 0800 687 775 to find out more information about your specific circumstances.

  60. Hi there I was wondering if you could help me out. I currently just left my job and was paid out my superannuation from my scheme. They only gave me what I had put over the 10years and I was very upset as they said the employer hadnt put anything in as I was on a voluntary membership. I have asked to see the document I signed 10years ago but all they keep sending me is a broucher on how that super scheme works. I know at the time when i joined there was an employer contribution as I wouldnt of joined other wise. Do you know where I can go to get some help in sorting this out or if you know how much an employer had to put in 10years that would be great. I look forward to your reply :)

    • Hi Colin,

      Thanks for your question.

      Sorry but I don’t know the answer to this one.

      However there may be people in your situation on the ENZ forum who would be able to give you an answer.

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