How is the % of Superannuation calculated?

17 July 2017

We got this question from a reader

"I have tried everywhere to find how the government arrives at the amount of superannuation that is paid is it 60 or 66 percent of the average wage
(55,000) a year before or after tax? Nowhere is it stated on the web."

Thanks for your email and interesting enquiry. The relevant legislation is the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001 (copy attached).

The provision you are looking for appears to be section 16 which provides that the amount paid to a COUPLE both entitled to receive New Zealand Superannuation is not less than 65% or more than 72.5% of the average ordinary time weekly earnings (males and females combined).  Applying this formula a couple would receive $681.60 a week before tax or $35,443.20 per annum which is $54,528 grossed up at 65% (i.e. $35,443.20 x 100/65). That’s very close to your estimated $55,000.

Here’s a link to section 16 

Schedule 1 sets out the rates of New Zealand Superannuation before tax 

You might also find it helpful to talk to the Commission for Financial Capability (the former Retirement Commission). They’re a very helpful group, I was lucky enough to meet the Commissioner and most of her team recently. Their website is and you can call them on 09 356 0052

Thank you again for your enquiry and good luck!

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