To: The Inter Church Working Party on Taxation
From: Gillian Robertson
Date: 24 August 2011
Subject: NEW ZEALAND SUPERANNUATION FOR MISSIONARIES
- 1. Many missionaries serving overseas may be eligible for New Zealand Superannuation on reaching the age of 65 years. This is because their period of absence from New Zealand may be counted, for eligibility purposes, as if they had worked in New Zealand. The spouse or partner of missionaries may also qualify if they have also reached the age of 65 years.
- 2. Because the law in relation to New Zealand Superannuation for missionaries is non-routine, missionaries have sometimes found it difficult to get accurate information that relates to their specific circumstances.
- 3. For that reason, we have asked the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to clarify the situation by developing a “Factsheet” outlining the position for missionaries (humanitarian work overseas is also included). A copy of the Factsheet is attached.
- 4. Please arrange for copies of the Factsheet, plus this memorandum to be made available to all missionaries. This will ensure that they have the most up to date and accurate information. Note: it should be regarded as a general guideline only. Specific details should be discussed with the international team at MSD. Contact details are on page 3 of the Factsheet.
- 5. Ideally, a missionary (or their spouse or partner) should make contact with MSD a couple of months before their 65th birthday.
- 6. There are some further matters on which we would like to comment.
- a. The Factsheet mentions “General Portability/Special Portability”. Some missionaries, who return to work overseas after reaching 65, may be eligible for General or Special Portability which means that they can continue to receive New Zealand Superannuation, notwithstanding their absence from New Zealand. Missionaries in this situation should talk to MSD about applying for payment overseas.
- b. The term “Social Security Agreement provisions” relates to the specific Agreements which New Zealand has entered into, in relation to New Zealand Superannuation, with a number of other countries. If missionaries require further information they should contact MSD on either the “Australian Agreement” or “All Other Countries” telephone numbers which are also listed on page 3 of the Factsheet. This will establish the current position and enable qualifying missionaries to access their entitlements under those Agreements.
With all good wishes.