GSA Annuity News October 2021

Previous issues of Annuity News are available on the members-only section of our website.  If you dont know how to get in to the members section, please email National Office national@gsa.org.nz and you will be informed of your username and then sent a password by separate email.   

Latest News 

100% CoLA Petition Update

After all the hard work from the GSA Board and some extremely knowledgeable GSA members, we are disappointed to report that the Government Budget 2021 does not include an allocation to address the problem of the that pre-1985 annuitants who do not receive 100% of cost of living adjustments.  This has been an issue on our radar for some time and we have had meetings and communication with the Finance Minister on this issue, but unfortunately we did not get the result that we wanted.  The Minister’s office were good enough to come back to us with an explanation, which reinforced that this 100% CoLA issue is still under consideration, but that the Government had to spread it’s spending across the three budgets of it’s term. They realised this was a disappointing result for the GSA but that it was not the end of the road for this issue, but did reflect the pressure on the Government’s budget allowances.  The GSA Board will discuss where to next at the next Board meeting at the end of June.  For more on the 100% CoLA issue, see the two further articles below - 100% CoLA – GSA Petition (from Annuity News, October 2019) and 2016 Cost of Living Adjustment (CoLA) (February 2016). 

GSA Subscription Increase

At the Council 2020, it was agreed to increase the subscription from $2 to $2.50 per annuity, deducted from the member’s annuity 4-weekly. For members still working and contributing (or who have deferred their annuity) pay the annual subscription of $32.50 from 1 April 2021 (previously $26).

Superannuitants Association Launches Centennial History (added September 2020)

SGS

Since its first meeting in August 1920, the Superannuated Public Servants’ Association, which became the Government  Superannuitants Association in 1958, has fought for and defended the rights and entitlements of the thousands of government employees. For 100 years the association has represented employees from public servants, nurses, doctors, teachers, railway workers, post office workers, police, to members of the armed forces and many others. Throughout this time the GSA has advocated passionately on behalf of those who it believed deserved better treatment.  Professor Roger Openshaw has written a comprehensive history to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the association.  In his book, “Safeguarding Super” he has drawn extensively on archived material including minutes of meetings, newspaper reports, and correspondence between the SPSA/GSA and the governments over time. Read the full press release here.  

(The book is available through the Government Superannuitants Association, contact national@gsa.org.nz. Cost $40.00 plus p&p) 

 

GSA Board Appointments (September 2020)

The following people were elected to the Board at the GSA’s annual Council meeting in September 2019: 

President:   Tony Hamilton Northland
Vice President:        Alan straker Marlborough
Members:  Robert Brangwin           Hawkes Bay
   Dallas Elvy  Wellington
   Alan Peck Wellington
   Mike Smith Wellington
   Marjorie Thomas Hawkes Bay

100% CoLA – GSA Petition (from Annuity News, October 2019)  

There has been a major step in the right direction with the GSA petition addressing the need for a consistent government approach to 100% cost of living adjustment as currently impacting on pre-1985 retirees.  The Select Committee has found in the GSA’s favour and made the following recommendation to Government: 

We find that the indexation formula included in the Government Superannuation Fund Amendment Act 2009, intended to achieve 100 percent indexation against the Consumers Price Index, appears to be a different formula to that used in previous iterations.  We recommend to the Government that it takes note of this finding and consider options for addressing the resultant lesser payments received by contributors and beneficiaries of the fund. 

The Association awaits Government consideration of the select Committee’s findings and has requested a meeting with the Minister of Finance. 

To find the Select Committee report and recommendations refer https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/sc/reports/document/SCR_88208/petition-of-janice-campbell-for-the-government-superannuitants, or contact the Executive Officer gensec@gsa.org.nz and it will be emailed to you. 

Update January 2020

GSA representatives met with the Minister of Finance on 19 December 2019 to follow up with him about the Select Committee recommendations and Government consideration.  We await Government’s decision. 

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.

However, after many years of trying, including a petition to Parliament, we have given up beating our heads against a brick wall. This issue has been removed from our Strategic Plan.  It may be revisited some time in the future should circumstances change significantly enough to suggest that a renewed effort might be worthwhile.

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:

President: Janice Campbell Wellington
Vice President:      Bryan Whisker Wellington/Wairarapa
Members: Robert Brangwin Hawkes Bay
  Dallas Elvy Wellington
  Winstone Grantham       Lake Taupo
  Tony Hamilton Northland
  Bill Robertson Wellington
  Mike Smith Wellington
  Diane Ward Nelson

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: 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/775692989243260/ 

And the Page: 

https://www.facebook.com/Government-Superannuitants-Association-of-New-Zealand-Incorporated-142829339412070/

 

 

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