KiwiSaver statistics released today expose John Key's claim that the cutting of the kickstart payment "will not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join KiwiSaver” to be duplicitous, says Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.
“Official IRD statistics show that for the first time ever, fewer young people are enrolled in KiwiSaver than the previous month.. A net 551 people aged 0 to 17 dropped out from KiwiSaver in June. Compared to the average for the previous 12 months, in June the number of people actively choosing to join KiwiSaver is also down by 35 per cent, while overall the number of new KiwiSaver members joining is down by 29 per cent.
“After using Parliamentary urgency to cut the KiwiSaver kickstart, John Key claimed IRDs formal advice was that the cut would not "make a blind bit of difference" to the number of new members. This was despite IRD explicitly advising the government that the cut would lead to ‘lower numbers of KiwiSaver members among the self-employed and children’. Since the cut, ANZ the largest KiwiSaver provider, reported a 50% decline in new members. Today's IRD numbers are consistent with that fall and show that John Key has once again played fast and loose with the facts.
“The Prime Minister's duplicity aside, the removal of the kickstart is yet another cut to KiwiSaver that will discourage New Zealanders from saving. KiwiSaver has been a stunning success in getting New Zealanders, particularly the young, to build up a nest egg for retirement. Experts in the savings industry have repeatedly warned that constantly moving the goalposts on KiwiSaver reduces public confidence in the scheme.
“The government's short-term thinking is again undermining the long-term livelihood of New Zealanders,” says Grant Robertson.