GSA Board Appointments (September 2017)
The elected members were elected at the Annual Council in September 2017. Two additional members have now been appointed. They are Marjorie Thomas and Alan Straker.
The full Board now looks like this:
|Vice President:||Bryan Whisker||Wellington/Wairarapa|
|Members:||Robert Brangwin||Hawkes Bay|
|Marjorie Thomas||Hawkes Bay|
100% CoLA - Sign the Petition (April 2017)
In the latest Annuity News (see link above) you will read that the GSA will be petioning Parliament on behalf of those of our members who have been treated unfairly with the application of the 100% CoLA annual adjustment. These are all members who retired before 1985, so they tend to be our oldest and most vulnerable. The Parliamentary petition would appear to be our last resort. You can find a petition signature sheet here. You are encouraged to print it and sign it, and get others to do so as well, then send it in to national office. You do not have to be a member to sign up for this important cause.
Tax Equity - No More! Enough is Enough. (December 2016)
Members may be interested to note that at the last Annual Council in September it was agreed that the GSA would no longer pursue the "Tax Equity" issue. In very simple terms this issue was our attempt to have the reduction factor that is applied to our annuities before we receive them to more appropriately equate to current tax rates. Currently, for most of us, the reduction factor is 30%. We have long felt that it was unfair for annuitants to effectively be paying the equivalent of 30% tax on the first dollar they receive in their annuity.
GSA Board Appointments (December 2016)
The GSA Constitution allows for a Board comprising an elected President and Vice President, five elected members, and two appointed members. The elected members were elected at the Annual Council in September. Two additional members have now been appointed. They are Rob Brangwin (Hawkes Bay) and Winston Grantham (Lake Taupo). Winston served on the Board last Year.
The full Board now looks like this:
|Vice President:||Bryan Whisker||Wellington/Wairarapa|
|Members:||Robert Brangwin||Hawkes Bay|
|Winstone Grantham||Lake Taupo|
Extra Payment (September 2016)
We have had enquiries from some members questioning an apparent increase in their annuity payments this week. We have approached the GSFA about this and here is their response:
"Yes we have made an extra payment to some annuitants with respect to their COLA adjustments. As part of the development of the new business system we identified an issue in the existing PICK system regarding the application of COLA where the increase in the CPI was less than 0.5%. This resulted in a members receiving a slightly lower entitlement. We have now amended their payments going forward and paid them some back pay plus interest. The additional amounts relate to COLA for 1999 and 2016 only."
Council Meeting 3/4 September (August 2016)
The 2016 GSA Annual Council meeting will take place at the Brentwood Hotel in Wellington over the weekend of 3/4 September. The GSA Council is the governing body and the annual Council meeting is the forum where GSA policy and strategy is discussed. It is also where the award of Life Membership is made to deserving long-term stalwarts of the organsation, and it is the forum for electing the GSA Board that will conduct GSA business for the next year. Each branch sends two delegates to Council and voting rights are related to branch size. The Council agenda and papers for consideration have been provided to branches. If anyone is interested in seeing what will be discussed this year, you can either contact your local branch secretary (0800 888 7006) or check out the members publications and documents section of this web site.
Some Good News on Recruiting (May 2016)
Every year GSF and NPF annuitants receive a letter in March from Datacom advising them of the CoLA. Each year the GSA takes the opportunity to place a recruiting pamphlet in the mail out to those annuitants who are not GSA members. This year, instead of the pamphlet, we included a letter from the president. The result has been incredible. We can now report that our recruiting campaign to date has attracted almost 2,000 new members since 31 March. 1,200 of these are annuitants and there are 750 new spouse members. We also have a further 270+ pending members whose applications are being processed for the next pay day on 16 June. We are back over the 28,000 mark for the first time since October 2014. We intend doing the same for potential pre-annuitant members in September.
NZ Super Gets an Increase (April 2016)
Why did NZ Super recently get a 2.73% increase when our annuities received nothing (see below)? The answer is simple. NZ Super is not linked to the CPI. It is set at 66% of the average wage. For the past year, wages have outsripped inflation.
2016 Cost of Living Adjustment (CoLA) (February 2016)
The recent announcement by Statistics NZ that the CPI only increased by 0.1% in the December 2015 year means that we will not be receiving a CoLA this April. The threshold for increases is 0.5%. The 0.1% for 2015 will be added to the CPI for December this year and paid out in April 2017 - provided that the combined figure reaches the threshold. We are in an era of very low, or zero, inflation, which is a relatively new experience for most of us. If you want to know more about the CPI and how it is calculated, go to the Statistics NZ web site http://www.stats.govt.nz and have a look.
GSA is on Facebook (November 2015)
We are on Facebook. As a trial we have set up a Page and a Group. The Page allows us to publish ideas and comments as an organisation. Anybody (including the general public) can comment, but onlt National Office will see the comments. The Group has been set up exclusively for the use of GSA members to exchange views and thoughts. To join this group you will need to be a GSA member and be approved by the Group Administrator - the Executive Officer in National Office. Go to Facebook and serach for Government Superannuitants Association of New Zealand Incorporated.
Here is a link to the Facebook Group:
And the Page:
New Board (December 2015)
History is made.
Board elections were held at the Annual Council in September. One significant difference this year was that this was the first Council to operate under our new Constitution. The new rules allow for a President, Vice President and five elected Board members (previously this was four). The Wellington Residency requirement has also been removed.
There have been some significant changes to the GSA Board as a result of the elections at Council this year. Some change was inevitable with Jim Turner standing down after four years as President, and Peter Chambers and Edgar Spark standing down after many years on the Board. A total of 10 candidates were nominated to fill the seven positions up for election (President, Vice President, and five Board Members.) Of these 10, five were from outside the Wellington region. Elections were held for all positions and the following were elected to the Board at the 2015 Council meeting:
|Vice President:||Bryan Whisker*||Wellington/Wairarapa|
[* denotes sitting Board member]
Since the elections the Board has appointed two further Board members to fill the final two positions.
Winston Grantham (Chair, Lake Taupo Branch)
Mike Smith (Former RSA General Secretary and current Wellington Branch Committee member)
Council noted that for the first time in its 95 year history, the Association has elected a woman as President. Janice Campbell was warmly congratulated on her election to this position.
Council Meeting 5/6 September (August 2015)
The GSA Annual Council meeting will take place at the Brentwood Hotel in Wellington over the weekend of 5/6 September. The agenda for the meeting has been provided to all branch committees.
Of particular interest this year will be the adoption of a new Strategic Plan, which will determine the focus of the GSA for the period 2016-19. We expect there to be quite a discussion on issues such as tax equity, and CoLA adjustments.
This will also be the first Council under the rules of our new Constitution. All branches are now able to be represented by two delegates. Another change sees voting rights for individual Board members removed with only the President having a vote (and a casting vote if needed).
The main change, however, will be in the election of office holders. Under the new rules we have increased the elected Board members from four to five, plus President and Vice President, and we have removed the requirement for any members to be Wellington residents. There should be a lot of interest in the elections this year as we have a number of strong candidates. With our current President, Jim Turner, standing down (but offering himself to remain on the Board) and two current Board members, Peter Chambers and Edgar Spark, also standing down, we will see some changes.
Candidates are (* denotes current member):
|Vice President:||Tony Hamilton||Northland|
Branch Committees are meeting to discuss how their delegates will vote. If individual members have an interest, the Branch Secretary should be the first point of contact.
New Constitution (May 2015)
The new constitution has now been registered with the Registrar of Incorporated Societies and is in effect. The Constitution can be viewed here.
New Constitution (Apr 2015)
At special Council meeting on 30 March 2015 a new version of the GSA Constitution was approved. This document now has to be approved by the Registrar of Incorporated Societies before being implented at the September 2015 Annual Council. The major changes are the abolition of the Standing Committee, the removal of any Wellington residency requirements, removal of voting rights for individual Board members, and an adjustment to the ratio of elected/appointed members of the Board. A full draft of the new Constitution can be found under Publications in the Members section.
Some CoLA Letters Contain Errors (March 2015)
We have been advised by GSFA that some of the CoLA letters that were recently mailed out contain incorrect figures. This mainly affects members in the central North Island, but the problem may also appear elsewhere. About 3,000 recipients may be affected (not all will be GSA members). This issue will not affect annuities and all annuitants should receive the correct payments. Revised letters containing the correct figures are being sent.
Decumulating Your savings (December 2014)
The Executive Officer recently attended a seminar on this subject. A copy of his brief report to the GSA Board can be found here.
Tax and your Annuity (December 2014)
The GSA was recently contacted by a member in a small town who had turned 65 and become eligible for NZ Super. His local WINZ office advised him that his GSF Annuity would be counted as income for tax purposes and this would affect his NZ Super. Clearly this is wrong. The GSF Annuity is not counted as income for tax purposes as it is regarded as tax paid. If your local WINZ offices have any doubts about this their attention should be drawn to the GSFA (Government Superannuation Fund Authority) web site. Here is a link to the question and answer section on that web site and the very first question makes it quite clear. GSF plays no part in tax considerations.
Vehicle Relicensing (October 2014)
Members will have noticed an item in the latest Annuity News regarding vehicle relicensing. We are now aware that the information that we published may not be entirely accurate. Land Transport has advised that they are anticipating a drop in licensing fees as a result of the drop in the ACC levy but that vehicle owners may not benefit until July next year. The best advice we can offer is to watch this space and await developments. It may still be worth considering not relicensing for a 12 month period until the picture clarifies.
New Life Members. (September 2014)
This year Council agreed to the award of Life Membership to Marie Byrne (Wellington), Roger Tippen (Southland), and Bryan Whisker (Wellington). Well done to all three for their much deserved awards. Their full citations can be found in the latest Annuity News.
GSA Annual Council. (September 2014)
The Annual Council meeting took place in Wellington on 6/7 September. The meeting was attended by delegates from all Branches and the Board. A number of Life Members took the opportunity to attend .
The agenda for the meeting, including the GSA Annual Report, was contained in the August Branch Bulletin which is available in the Members section under Publications, Documents, and Meetings.
The meeting was conducted in accordance with the current Constitution. Members will be aware that there is a review of the GSA Constitution underway. Council agreed a number of principles regarding the changes. Since then we have sought legal opinion on whether a proposed draft would meet the requirements of the Incorporated Societies Register. We now have a revised draft, incorporating comments from Council and the legal opinion, which has been distributed to Branches. Members may view the proposed revised Constitution in the Members Section, under Publications.
As well as the debate on the Constitution, Council discussed a number of other areas. Discussion on our various advocacy topics will result in the GSA taking a proactive role pretty much as before on a number of issues. Correspondence and meetings with Ministers and others, now that the new Government is in place, are planned.
The last, but not least, major topic discussed was recruiting. It was agreed that this needs some urgent attention and the business of attracting new members will assume a high priority over the next year.
New Recruiting Pamphlet (August 2014)
A new recruiting pamphlet has been designed and printed and is now in use. The new pamphlet has undergone a facelift and major change while still retaining the GSA look. Significantly, this one pamphlet replaces the three that were previously in use (We had one each for GSF and NPF members and another for Pre-Annuitants). The new pamphlet can be seen here. Remember that it is meant to be printed double-sided and folded three ways with the application form on the back.
An update on this issue including recent correspondence between the GSA and Treasury can now be found in the latest Annuity News.
Railways Superannuitants Association.
The RSA has now been officially wound up and all those members who chose to do so have transferred to the GSA. To date this has involved the transfer of some 1575 members. The GSA Board has expressed its sincere appreciation for the seamless way this amalgamation has been undertaken and would like to sincerely thank all those who have been involved. The GSA warmly welcomes all ex RSA members.