A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.
The KiwiSaver Budget Measures Bill removes the $1000 “kickstart” payment for new KiwiSaver members.
“That payment was about encouraging the younger generation and those on low incomes to get onto the first rung of the savings ladder and later onto the property ladder.
“Labour’s Maori caucus are concerned that removing it will be a huge disincentive for whanau. More will be relegated to long-term renting, while others will miss out on retirement savings.
“Despite what National says there is no real long-term plan to ensure the most vulnerable, the hardworking low income earners, are able to save and get ahead.
“We estimate that over half a million Kiwis, many of them young people entering the workforce and about 70,000 children, will miss out on getting their $1,000 KiwiSaver kick-start over the next four years.
“This is shameful and will hurt many Maori who aspire to climb the ladder of opportunity.
“Just as concerning is the fact the social housing package won’t make a dent in the demand for affordable, warm and healthy state rentals, especially in urban centres.
“While whanau, whose only source of income is a benefit, will welcome a $25 increase it will make very little difference to the growing cost of living pressures that are faced on a daily basis.
“We are concerned that the Government does not have a plan to set clear objectives to support Maori whanau who want to climb the ladder of opportunity, through well paid jobs, home ownership and a savings scheme that works for them.
“Instead the divide between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ looks set to get wider.”