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Two top retirement needs? "Pension" and “friends”

25 Feb 24

Two top retirement needs?  "Pension" and “friends”
Kiwis: Give us pension and friends after age 65

New Zealanders say the government pension and “friends” are the two things most needed by people in retirement.

Horizon Research asked a representative sample of 1,011 adults what they thought those who have retired, or those retiring in future, most need.

  • 75% said New Zealand Superannuation.

However, the second greatest need has nothing to do with money.

  • 67% said retired people are thought to most need “friends”.

The need for both rose dramatically among those aged 65+.

Among those aged 65-74 years 92% said New Zealand superannuation was needed and 77% said friends.

Among those aged 75+ 88% said super and 73% friends.

Horizon says the research could indicate what policies and pastoral care programmes would most benefit those who are or will retire.

What do people in retirement most need?

Overall, New Zealand Superannuation (at 75%) and Friends (67%) are closely followed by 60% said support from family/whanau is needed

  • Social support 57% said social support, and
  • Community support 52%.

There are differences across age groups on what they think is needed for retirement.

Ethnic views on retirement needs

Māori and Pasifika are significantly more likely to say that more support is needed from community, financial support and access to  health care.

Among those identifying as Asian the need for superannuation is 60% (compared with 75% among all adults) – and the need for friends is 47%, 20% lower than for adults overall. Asians rank support from friends and whanau as the most important (61%).

Horizon commissioned and conducted the study as part of its public-good research programme.

Other results coming from the survey:

  • How long people think they will live - and how long they want to live
  • How many people over 65 are working and why -and the ages at which adults would like to retire – including never
  • If retirement is good or bad for mental and physical health.

Research method

An online survey of 1,010 adults living in New Zealand aged 18 and older. Respondents are members of two nationwide Horizon Research panels and a third-party panel (used for source diversity).


The total sample is weighted on age, education, gender, Party Vote 2023, region and ethnicity to match the New Zealand adult population.

Maximum predicted margin of error

±3% at the 95% confidence level.


Graeme Colman, Principal, Horizon Research, email, telephone 021 848 576.