New KiwiSaver sign-ups in July were 45 per cent below the monthly average, despite John Key saying axing the kickstart “will not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join KiwiSaver”, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.
“IRD’s latest figures make appalling reading for those who know that KiwiSaver is vital for bolstering our national savings and investments, and safeguarding the well-being of future generations in retirement.
“Overall new sign-ups in July are 45 per cent below the monthly average before National cut the kickstart payment
“It gets much worse for the young. Net new members in Kiwisaver aged 0 -17 fell by almost 2000 in July. Compared to the monthly average of the last 12 months that’s a drop of 182 per cent.
“For those aged 18 - 24 net new members have fallen by 111 per cent compared to the monthly average.
“After John Key scrapped the KiwiSaver kickstart – as soon as the Budget was made public – he said IRD’s formal advice was the cut would not ‘make a blind bit of difference’. He misled New Zealanders about that advice, and he should apologise for that.
“The major drop off in enrolments is for young New Zealanders. This is the real shame of National’s cutting of the kickstart. A new generation are being denied the chance to create good savings habits, particularly those from backgrounds who will struggle to put much aside in normal circumstances.
“After years of gradually weakening Kiwisaver, National is now causing real damage to the savings culture that Kiwisaver had begun to foster. They should hang their heads in shame,” Grant Robertson said.