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Robertson targets missing million in upcoming KiwiSaver review

Monday 20th August 2018

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Finance Minister Grant Robertson says next year's review of the KiwiSaver default providers will look at ways to attract the remaining million Kiwis not in the state-sponsored scheme, but he's reluctant to make it compulsory. 

A bill currently before Parliament would add two new contribution rates and let people 65 and older join the scheme. The government will also use next year's review of the default providers, who are automatically allocated new KiwiSaver members, to assess what can be done to sign up more New Zealanders, Robertson told the New Zealand Shareholders' Association annual meeting in Auckland on Saturday.

"As part of that process, we want to work on how we register the remaining million or so New Zealanders who aren’t in KiwiSaver," Robertson said. "Despite very generous incentives to join the scheme, many of those people didn’t take that up during that period."

The government wants KiwiSaver funds to invest more heavily into New Zealand and to increase the uptake of the savings scheme, which has beat predictions since its establishment a decade ago. 

Robertson told the meeting he was reluctant to make KiwiSaver compulsory given many people who haven't signed up are on lower incomes.

"I'm not sure a compulsion regime works for them," he said. 

The upcoming review of the providers prompted New Zealand First MP Fletcher Tabuteau to withdraw his private member's KiwiFund Bill, which seeks to set up a working group to investigate a government-owned and operated KiwiSaver provider.

On Friday, Tabuteau said the default provider review and a separate request for the Retirement Commissioner to consider KiwiSaver fees and investment practices in the 2019 review of retirement income policies will canvass issues he had hoped to address. 

“Ministers Kris Faafoi and Grant Robertson have asked me to be involved in the preparatory work on the review, and I look forward to collaborating with Ministers during the review as we work through this important task," Tabuteau said in a statement. 

(BusinessDesk)

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