You can blame Green MP and voice-of-the-millennials Chlöe Swarbrick for the fact that Baby Boomers, and (heaven forbid!) anyone older than them are often derided by younger generations.

If you believe the existing narrative, that boomer down your street is directly responsible for the fact that you can’t afford to buy a house and they are, literally and metaphorically, watching their huge piles of filthy lucre grow in real-time as real estate prices are driven ever higher. Your latte habit and desire to buy a home that has all mod-cons has nothing to do with it, obviously.

Anyway, back to boomers. The way they’re often portrayed, the older generations are clones of Shylock, tugging at their forelocks and counting their bags of gold.

But, while these sort of narratives are convenient to adhere to, and certainly help to create a scapegoat for whatever socio-economic ill you’re worried about at any one time, the truth of the matter is somewhat different.

I was reminded of this fact recently while chatting to Liz Greive. I first met Liz when we were both on an Institute of Directors course. Liz is not only the mother of Duncan Greive, founder of alternative news site The Spinoff, but she was also a big part of the growth of both The Flight Centre and Barkers Clothing with her ex-husband, Chris.

But, unlike many whose focus with their business wealth is on making even more money, Liz is firmly looking to giving back to the community. A case in point is an initiative she recently begun (and which she funds out of her own pocket), Spend My Super.

In her words, Spend My Super is a citizen-led movement that seeks to change the narrative of child poverty and inspire superannuants to invest in the future of today’s one in four children living in poverty. Liz covers all the operating costs of the initiative, so 100% of donations go directly to supporting Kiwi kids living in poverty.

So how does it work? Simple, really. Spend My Super invites those superannuants who are in a comfortable financial position, to consider investing in the future of today’s young New Zealanders by supporting charity partners. Users can make a one-off donation or, even better, set up a recurring transaction that, as the name implies, redirects their superannuation to worthy charities.

In explaining what convinced her to start the initiative, Liz told of the struggles that the New Zealand not-for-profit sector is facing. These struggles have, she explains, been exacerbated by Covid-19.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s generous superannuation scheme means we have one of the lowest rates of pensioner poverty in the western world. On the flipside, however, we have one of the highest rates of child poverty in the OECD.

Put those two things together and you have superannuitants, many of whom are in very comfortable financial positions (not least of all due to skyrocketing house prices) with the ability to forego their super. But since Superannuation is a blanket scheme in New Zealand, Spend My Super allows them to put that income towards a greater good.

Spend My Super has partnered with charities such as City Missions, Pillars and Women’s Refuge, so donors have plenty of options in terms of good causes in dire need of support.

Of course Spend My Super treats the symptoms and not the cure and, it has to be said, merely dances around the engines of a horrendous and worsening inequity in our society. But it’s a good, solid initiative that can go some way to helping those in need.

And, if nothing else, it is an initiative that Chlöe, even in her most dismissive of moods, would certainly applaud. What do you reckon, Ms Swarbrick?

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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