COOKS RETIREE SEEKS NEW ZEALAND PENSION

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Kiwi transplant says it’s unjust to deny expats benefits

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 2, 2011) – A group of New Zealanders living in the Cook Islands for decades is lobbying to get New Zealand superannuation.

The leader of the New Zealand Superannuation Lobby Group, Les Priest, says the Cook Islands are part of the Realm of New Zealand, but pension portability criteria don’t apply in their case.

The rules say people must be living in New Zealand when applying, and they must spend five years in New Zealand after the age of 50.

He says it is unjust.

"I came over here at the age of 47 and I’ve been here for the last 35 years. I had a Cook Island wife, now deceased, and my Cook Island children and grandchildren are all here and I’ve contributed to the community while I’ve been here. But any New Zealander who’s had no relationship with the Cooks at all can come over for the lifestyle and bring their pension and live alongside me."

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