KiwiSaver - introduction

This site has been designed to assist all New Zealanders under 65 to join a chosen KiwiSaver scheme online.

What is KiwiSaver?

KiwiSaver is a savings scheme that was introduced by the New Zealand government in 2007.  The scheme is designed to help Kiwis save for their retirement.

As an employee, you can choose to contribute 3%, 4% or 8% of your gross (before-tax) wage or salary to your KiwiSaver account. Your employer has to contribute as well – at least 3% of your gross salary.

Who is eligible to join KiwiSaver?

Any New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, who is under 65 years old, can join KiwiSaver if they normally live in New Zealand.  You do not necessarily have to be employed to join a scheme. 

How to enrol in a KiwiSaver scheme.

There are 3 possible ways to enrol in a KiwiSaver scheme:

  • Automatically be enrolled by your employer when you start a new job.
  • Choose to join a scheme through your existing employer.
  • If you have other circumstances, such as being self-employed, or are on some kind of benefit, or you wish to change an existing scheme, you can do this through a KiwiSaver provider.  

Are there any benefits to joining KiwiSaver?

Yes there are some great benefits to KiwiSaver:

  • If you are employed, your employer will contribute 3% of your gross income less tax into your KiwiSaver scheme account.  That is in addition to the contributions that you make yourself to the scheme.
  • Government will contribute $521 annually to your account in the form of a tax credit. So it could surprise you just how quickly you accumulate funds for retirement.
  • If you’ve been contributing to KiwiSaver for three years or more, you may be eligible for a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant of up to $10,000 to buy a new home, or up to $5,000 to buy an existing one. And if you’re buying with a partner, you could get double that. 
  • Changes to the KiwiSaver first-home withdrawal were also introduced on 1 April 2015 that mean all contributions including member’s tax credits can be withdrawn(with the exception of the Government $1,000 kick-start).

NOTE - As of 2pm 21st May 2015 the $1000 kick-start for people opening a KiwiSaver account stopped.

Other key points about KiwiSaver:

  • KiwiSaver is not compulsory,
  • New Zealanders can join up to the age of 65
  • All new employees when they start a new job, but can opt out.
  • Members can choose their KiwiSaver scheme and investment funds
  • Conservatively invested defaults options for those who do not wish to choose
  • Contributions can be paused (holiday), after the first 12 months
  • Members' funds in KiwiSaver schemes are not guaranteed by the government.  The government have however selected the fund providers and get regular reports on their activities.
  • Savings are locked-in until the age of eligibility for NZ Super or minimum 5 years
  • Early withdrawal allowed for: first home purchase, serious financial hardship and permanent emigration

Increase your retirement savings. Get your government and employer contributions. Already joined a government selected default scheme and wish to control your own funds? Self employed or not employed at present and want to pay the minimum and optimise your KiwiSaver account? Want to give a great start for your children or grandchildren? Unhappy with your current KiwiSaver account performance. If that is the case then Costello Financial Services can help you - email us.

Over 2.35 million Kiwis have now joined KiwiSaver.