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Compulsory Kiwisaver?

Written By: - Date published: 7:14 am, August 4th, 2011 - 39 comments
Categories: kiwisaver, leadership, superannuation - Tags: ,

Good to see the government considering a move that would significantly boost KiwisSaver uptake:

KiwiSaver auto-enrolment: the new election issue

The Government is pushing policies that could see up to a million New Zealanders automatically enrolled in Kiwisaver, and the superannuation scheme is shaping up to be a big election issue. …

National is considering automatic enrolment, which would mean signing up the 1 million workers currently not in KiwiSaver and leaving it up to them to opt out. Prime Minister John Key says he expects more people might stay in the scheme if they were automatically enrolled. ….Mr Key says is worth it in the long term. “It gives New Zealand a stronger economic position, and I think that’s a good thing.”

So – the principle of automatic enrolment with the option to opt out is a good one. Well worth considering for Kiwisaver. Though oddly enough, not in the case of student unions, where this principle is so evil that it must be stamped out at all costs! Inconsistent much? Hmmmmm.

Returning to superannuation, from the same piece above:

Mainfreight managing director Don Braid says “it’s time” to move to compulsory superannuation in New Zealand, and says “either Labour or National should just get off their butts and make it compulsory”. He says compulsory superannuation would increase the capital New Zealand can invest in its own companies and help cover the costs of an aging population.

I agree, it’s time. Future tax payers will face an enormous burden to support our ageing population. We should all be contributing now as best we can in preparation. National has already undermined both the Cullen Fund and Kiwisaver, they’re clearly not looking to the future. As usual it is up to Labour. I’d like to see Labour adopt this as policy for the election. If we’re going to run on facing up to the hard decisions (e.g. capital gains tax) then let’s not be half hearted about it!

39 comments on “Compulsory Kiwisaver? ”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    Compulsory is good, but not if it is tied to funding asset sales as the PM suggested yesterday. Buying what taxpayers and citizens already own.

    • Carol 1.1



      The Prime Minister says the expansion of KiwiSaver could be linked in some way to offering people the opportunity to buy shares in the state-owned companies National intends putting up for partial sale.

      He says the Treasury is looking at ways of encouraging KiwiSaver account holders to retain ownership of those shares.

      How likely is it that Kiwisavers would reamin the main owner of said shares?

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        A scam to add a spoonful of sugar to some very bitter medicine.

      • mickysavage 1.1.2

        The focus groups have spoken.  Kiwis hate asset sales and love kiwisaver.  Link the two and then he has got something to sell, sort of.

        The only difficulty is that the asset sales are required to cover a $6b hole in the finances.  If they are not sold borrowing will go up.  Their justification is to reduce debt but if all that happens is a merry go round of money then control of the power companies will be lost but no money gained.  The result is even worse although to the gullible and stupid it may just work.
        Kiwisaver was intended in part for us to start recovering parts of the economy that had been sold overseas, not to allow for further privatisation. 

        • Carol

          Yes, as a Kiwisaver I’m disgusted at this Nat scheme. I entered into Kiwsaver in good faith on the basis of the way the Labour government set it up. There is NO WAY I want my savings to be linked to an Asset sales scheme, which will ultimately result in NZ savings being siphoned off by overseas investors.

          • law

            Wait, what?

            You are currently a member of KS, depending on what provider and what fund type you are in, you could be stopping the “savings being siphoned off by overseas investors” if the asset sale plans go ahead.

          • Lyall

            So opt out then.

            • law

              Once you are in you are in, you can apply for a contributions holiday but can not technically opt out and will have to keep applying for contributions holidays every 12 months if you are on PAYE

      • Lanthanide 1.1.3

        I’m really wondering what this means.

        If everyone signs up to kiwisaver, the government has to put in $1000.

        They obviously don’t have the money to do that at the moment. Are they instead going to give them shares to the value of $1000?

        Is this “linkage” also going to be some attempt to give kiwisaver members first bite of the cherry? For example if you’re in kiwisaver, you get the option to buy shares ahead of everyone else. But this share offer would be to individuals – you put in additional money yourself, and the shares get put into your individual kiwisaver fund. Then your fund provider could also buy shares which are split over all fund participants if they wanted to (and probably will).

        • mickysavage

          I am also confused Lanth.

          If the share float soaks up existing Kiwisaver funds then the proposal will actually work AGAINST what Kiwisaver was meant to achieve.

          Government money given to Kiwis will come back to the Government and the kiwisaver schemes will own the shares.

          Net effect on saving will be negative.  We will have a privatization paid by previous attempts to improve savings. 

        • felix

          Forget about the “linkage”. This is just National trying to get a link established in people’s minds, so they think they can’t have one without the other.

          It’s bullshit. Don’t legitimise it.

          • mickysavage

            Agreed it is bullshit.  But don’t we need to keep saying that it is a load of crap?  If we do not Key and co will spin it anyway.

            • felix

              It’s a trap.

              Key is trying to define the terms of discussion in a very weird way. As soon as we start talking about Kiwisaver and asset sales together, he wins.

              The correct response is to ignore the bullshit about Kiwisaver and keep hammering the no privatisation message. That’s what Key’s tactic is designed to extinguish.

    • mik e 1.2

      and giving it only to the ones that save . for half price to mates rates you know just like last time the investment bankers are going to get a lot of your money for selling some you already own back to you .
      Your loosing $6billion in under valuing
      then a 200million to the investment banker .
      then you the Kiwisaver are having to find anther $6to$7 billion to pay for the mates rates asset you own outright thats returning
      $700million + per annum which is not going in the Govt coffers never ever again so the govt will have to find that $700Million somewhere else really Dumb Move!

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    There is actually a serious problem now with ongoing international economic and currency upheavals.

    Some KiwiSaver funds are going to continue to reduce in value. If the USD or Euro undergo a major devaluation for instance (or gradual erosion) many funds will be affected.

  3. “Compulsory”?

    Oh, John Key, thy name art “Nanny National”!!

    This scenario is wrought with rich irony…

    1. National will never again be able to level the label of “nanny statism” against Labour. “Nanny’s” finger would be pointed directly at the government for this, and other policies it has enacted.

    2. Making Kiwisaver compulsory has always been the best outcome, but Labour’s hands were tried because of National’s successful “nanny state labelling” campaign in 2008.

    As for transferring ownership of state assets to Kiwisaver accounts – a better option would be to sell to NZ Super Fund. State ownership is therefor maintained, even if in a round-a-bout way.

    • I think that starting KiwiSaver as voluntary is a part of it’s success, a huge number of people have willingly joined, albeit with generous incentives. It will make the change to compulsion much more palatable, whether it’s Labour or National that takes us there.

  4. Wyndham 4

    Frank Macskasy.

    Right on the nail as usual !

  5. vto 5

    Agreed, the first thing that popped into mind was “oh, he needs some more NZ funds to pay for his asset sales.” Crowing that owning these assets is a good thing, while at the same time selling them ffs.

    Snake eyes with forking tongue …

    Why transfer the assets from state ownership to kiwisaver ownership? What is the benefit? What is the benefit? What is the benefit?

    This is the worst sales job ever. He is all bloody twisted up and confused, getting tangled in his own illogic.

    • Pascal's bookie 5.1

      Why transfer the assets from state ownership to kiwisaver ownership? What is the benefit? What is the benefit? What is the benefit?

      He gets access to the money. It’s a sneaky tax hike, if you like.

    • The benefit is KiwiSaver funds can be invested in New Zealand assets, otherwise if there are not enough things to invest in here they have to invest overseas.

      It makes sense to link KiwiSaver to partial asset sales. Or for the Cullen Fund to invest in them rather than overseas. As it is now we keep investing overseas and borrowing from overseas.

      • vto 5.2.1

        That’s just silly.

        All it is is a money swap. There aint no new money. It is just taking the money out of your wife’s wallet and putting it in your own wallet.

        Nothing more.

        As I said, snake eyes with forking tongue.

      • vto 5.2.2

        And Pete, “not enough things in NZ to invest in”? If you have been listening you will have heard that the reason for the asset sales is so that the realised funds can be invested in things in NZ. That is what Key has said. So there are enough “things to invest in in NZ”.

        One of those things they want to invest in is irrigation projects around the rural areas. So instead of this great money-go-round, how about leaving the free market to itself and let the money find the irrigation projects if they are that fantastic and worthy of we taxpayers investing in them.

        As I said, there aint no new money coming in. Let Kiwisaver and the Cullen Fund invest in irrigation. If the irrigation is that good. But it aint that good – and that is whey Key and English are pushing for taxpayer funds to be so invested. It is the only way it will happen. This is the other arm to this entire asset sale / kiwisaver / irrigation SCAM SCAM SCAM… The farmers have a bad investment proposal that the free market don’t wanna touch.

        And isn’t it funny how farmers rant against socialism and collective ownership etc….. When the absolute reality is that without it they would have no fonterra and no irrigation. ha ha ha ha ha ha… I laugh at their lack of credibility. It actually makes my blood overheat

      • billy fish 5.2.3

        But… um… we already own them ….

  6. Afewknowthetruth 6

    Once again an item on TS which is predicated on economic growth which will not eventuate because of Peak Oil constraints, and predicated on the global financial system remaining intact even as it falls apart.

    Yesterday’s attempt by Bellusconi to convince the people of Italy that things were not about to implode was being openly laughed at, as was Obama’s so-called solving of the US debt crisis the previous day.

    Kiwisaver might have some merit if the money were invested in things that would actually benefit people, such as fruit trees, community gardens etc. But the money won’t be. The money will be lost in international money market casinoes and lost via the ‘black hole’ of inflation.

    Yesterday oil prices fell because of ‘concerns’ about lack of demand, due to the ongoing economic collapse of most developed nations. That provides the global economy a stay of execution due to high energy prices but does not alter the reality of ever declining extraction of ever more difficult oil.

    I wonder how much longer it will take for people who contribute to TS to do some basic research and wake uo to reality.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      I wonder how much longer it will take for people who controibute to TS toi wake uo to reality.

      Yeah the question is what is the way ahead given the constraints we face (political, social and economic), and it has been for some time now.

      • Afewknowthetruth 6.1.1

        I repeatedly indicate the best strategies for dealing with what is happening -powerdown and permaculture, rebuilding of broken communities, walking, cycling, becoming informed etc.- but those are not things that most people want to do.

        Given the choice between learning the easy way and learning the hard way, most people choose the hard way.

        • terryg

          turning the telly off would be a good start. Not so much for saving electricity as for saving neurons…

          besides, without the telly shouting at sheople to buy stuff, they might buy less stuff….

          • Macro

            Totally agree! TV in NZ is an absolute waste of space and of time. I haven’t watched it in years and don’t regret a moment of it.
            It’s primary role is to act as the promoter for more stuff we don’t need, and are told we want and deserve. No we don’t!

    • AFKTT

      The problem is that the assets being sold (hydro dams etc) are PRECISELY the assets you would want your Government to own in a post oil world.  We sell them at our peril.

      • Afewknowthetruth 6.2.1

        I thought the item was about compulsory Kiwisaver, not that I am in favour of selling assets.

        On the matter of asset sales, possession will become 9/10 of the law, I suspect. Once the globallised system has collapsed, overseas ‘owners’ will have no means of extracting dividends or of even proving ownership.

        • Lanthanide

          That’s something I’ve wondered about, too. China has been going around buying up resources and also things like farms.

          I can imagine China using it’s military to assert ownership of oil, coal and other resources. But what about farms? Seems they’d be stretched so thin that they couldn’t ultimately really protect them. In terms of imposing economic sanctions against countries that re-nationalise chinese assets, those countries can just trade with everyone else instead (who will be crying out for any resources they can get).

          • felix

            “I can imagine China using it’s military to assert ownership of oil, coal and other resources. But what about farms? Seems they’d be stretched so thin that they couldn’t ultimately really protect them. “

            If it comes to that, it’d make more sense for them to just “protect” the whole country.

          • Kevin Welsh

            Well, they do have a shiny new aircraft carrier to help them project that power…

  7. Compulsory new kiwi saver tax to invest in what we already own. Real National thinking .

  8. Afewknowthetruth 8

    ‘The interest demanded by investors to lend money to Spain for 10 years soared to 6.47 per cent at one point. For Italy, the figure rose as high as 6.27 per cent, unsettlingly close to the 7 per cent threshold that left Greece, Ireland and Portugal in need of emergency funding. In both cases, the rates demanded were the highest since 1997.

    ‘In a sign of the growing concern about Rome’s debt burden, the yield on five-year Italian bonds rose to hit parity with Spain’s briefly. The jump marks a shift from the almost-singular focus on Madrid after Portugal was forced to ask for a bailout earlier this year. Italian stock markets were also caught in the crossfire, falling to their lowest in more than two years.’

    What chance do Italy or Spain have of growing their economies by 7% per annum to cover these costs? Less than a snowball’s chance in hell.

    What chance does NZ have of growing its economy by more than the cost of borrowing from overseas? Less than a snowball’s chance in hell.

    Repayment (assuming there is no default) will be achieved by lowering the standard of living, lowering quality of life of the populace and devaluation of the money in people’s pockets and bank accounts..

    The unravelling of the economic system is inherent in economic system. (It was onlly cheap and abundant resources that gave the short-term illusion of the system generating wealth.)

  9. mik e 9

    Frank even the Cullen super fund is returning more than National are paying for debt.Once again it would be an undervalued asset sell off.This fund has been a god send to National. Remember how they continually ran it down in opposition

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