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Life expectancy growing by one day a week

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/03/2017
Elderly couple: <span style="font-size:13px;">The government has released a Treasury paper which shows life expectancy in New Zealand is increasing by almost one day a week.</span> © Thinkstock The government has released a Treasury paper which shows life expectancy in New Zealand is increasing by almost one day a week.

Life expectancy in New Zealand is growing by almost one day each week, according to a Treasury paper released by the government to support its superannuation policy.

The policy, announced on Monday, is to increase the retirement age from 65 to 67 in 2040, with the change phased in from 2037.

The Treasury papers say life expectancy has increased by 12 years in the last 60 years.

"Life expectancy is expected to continue to rise on average 1.3 years per decade until the end of the century - the equivalent of increasing by almost one day each week," the paper says.

The figures show that life expectancy at birth in 2001 was 78.7 years and in 2037 it will be 86.2 years, rising to 89 years in 2057.

"Currently a retiree at age 65 can expect to live 24.3 years of their life on average on NZ Super," the paper says.

"With the change of age to 67, those reaching retirement age in 2040/41 will spend on average 24.5 per cent of their lives receiving NZ Super."

Labour force participation figures show older New Zealanders are staying in the workforce and supporting themselves for longer.

"The labour force participation rate for 65-69 year olds has increased markedly over the last years, from 11 per cent in 1997 to 45 per cent now," the paper says.

"There are seven times as many 65-69 year olds in work than there were 20 years ago."

Prime Minister Bill English intends legislating for the change next year, if National wins the September election.

With the exception of ACT, none of the other parties in parliament favour raising the retirement age.

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