The Kiwisaver “employer contribution” scam

Written By: - Date published: 7:28 am, May 12th, 2011 - 23 comments
Categories: class war - Tags:

The media is reporting that the government’s cuts to Kiwisaver will be offset by an increase in the minimum contributions made by workers and employers.

Not ideal I hear you say but at least it’s evenly delivered – with both workers and employers being made to pay more.

Well not quite.

The thing is there was a loophole in the original Kiwisaver scheme that allowed employers to deduct the employer share of Kiwisaver from the worker’s pay-packet. Which means any employer that didn’t want to pay would simply push the cost onto the worker involved.

That was closed by Labour in 2008 (and they got heavily attacked for it by the Employers and Manufacturer Association). But here’s the thing. One of the first things National did when they got into power was reopen that loophole. Consequently many employers went right back to taking their contribution out of their workers’ pay.

Meaning many workers are effectively paying 4% into Kiwisaver while the boss pays nothing and that means the only incentive for being in Kiwisaver for these workers is the government contribution. Which is now being taken away.

Add to that the fact that, because of the loophole, a 1% increase in both worker and so called “employer contributions” will mean many Kiwi workers will end up with 6% of their wages being deducted into Kiwisaver instead of 4%. On top of losing the government contribution.

While most employers will pay nothing more. No wonder Business New Zealand and the Employer and Manufacturers Association are welcoming the move.

23 comments on “The Kiwisaver “employer contribution” scam”

  1. MrSmith 1

    National’s plan from the start, don’t scare the horses, just give them a little Less food every day, that way they won’t notice until it’s to late.
     
    And wait for it, they will then claim they got rid of the obesity epidemic as well.

    • Sam 1.1

      Phil Goff, although decrying the changes to kiwisaver, is also reported to have said that Labour will not reverse them.
      Shades of “Axe the tax”?

      • Lanthanide 1.1.1

        No, he hasn’t said that “Labour will not reverse them”, he’s said that Labour would be reviewing Kiwisaver as well and potentially make changes to it. David Cunliffe indicated that changes would make it more attractive to save – not less. But that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t also reduce or scrap the government tax credit.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    I’m still expecting National to come out with something ‘unexpected’ with the kiwisaver changes. One thing that is quite possible is they nix the government ‘tax credits’ entirely, and replace it with tax-free employee contributions.
     
    You would still pay 2% or whatever of your income into kiwisaver, but it would be tax free. Essentially this means instead of paying tax on your full amount of income and losing 2% of take-home pay, the 2% would come off the top and you’d only pay tax on 98% of your income. This would work out to being an in-the-pocket tax-cut to anyone currently contributing to kiwisaver. It would also benefit the wealthy the most. At 4% contribution level, anyone earning over $78k would get a bigger benefit than the current $1040 tax credit. It’s a little tricky to work it out for incomes under $70k due to the tax rate changes, but it looks like you’d need to earn at least $50k year to get a greater benefit even contributing at the 8% rate. Of course they could always cap the maximum deduction at a certain figure.

    • It would also further reduce the tax take thus offsetting part of the ‘saving’ from eliminating the tax credit. That would be another step in the structural changes they want to make to the economy overall – under the guise of a bit of minor, crisis driven, ‘tinkering’ with something they are supposedly leaving substantially ‘in tact’ (or that’s the line that could be run).

      That is, the wealthier would pay less tax and the rest would have to pay more for the things required to function in this society. I suppose the idea is that this would create ‘incentives’ for those individuals not ‘performing’ in the economy (i.e., those individuals who only work long hours at poorly paid jobs in bleak and heartless physical environments that incrementally undermine their health and probably therefore won’t need much in the way of ‘savings’ for retirement as they’ll die earlier.).

      Reminds me of an old New Yorker cartoon. Two old guys are sitting in leather chairs in a “gentleman’s club”. One is reading the paper and says to the other: “I see the rich are getting richer; but, then again, the poor are getting poorer so it all balances out in the end.”

    • PeteG 2.2

      One thing that is quite possible is they nix the government ‘tax credits’ entirely, and replace it with tax-free employee contributions.

      Interesting idea and it does simplify things, taking less rather than taking and giving back at the end of the year. You would gain slightly due to getting more into your KiwiSaver account sooner rather than once a year.

      Or – they could be fairer to low earners who can’t afford to be in KiwiSaver – and introduce a no tax scale or lower the rate on the lowest scale to compensate for an equivalent of maybe half of the MTC – but those not in KiwiSaver get some benefit which they miss out on now.

      Getting TIAT is pointless now until we know what the whole KiwiSaver/WFF/tax package is in the budget – they must be laughing at all the handwringing.

      • Lanthanide 2.2.1

        Apparently you don’t understand how kiwisaver works.
         
        Say you earn $100,000 a year, and are on the 4% contribution rate. $4,000 will be put into kiwisaver every year, directly from your salary. With current tax rates, your tax liability (including ACC) is $26,164.37, so your after-tax salary is $73,835.63. Because kiwisaver employee contributions are currently taxed, that $4,000 comes off the final figure, giving you $69,835.63 take-home pay, or $5819.64 per month.
         
        If you implemented my suggestion of tax-free kiwisaver contributions, the $4,000 comes off at the very start, so your total taxable income is instead $96,000. Your monthly after-tax & after-kiwi saver income is then $5,929.64, or an increase of $110 extra take-home per month – which is 33% of $4,000 / 12.
         
        In both cases, you are contributing to $4,000 to kiwisaver per year, and the timing of the payments has not changed at all. What has changed is that instead of getting $1042.86 in tax credits put into your kiwisaver account at the end of the kiwisaver year (30th June), you get tax cuts in your pocket monthly – $110/month or $1320 total in my example. This is more than the current tax credits are worth, so as I’ve illustrated, this would be a tax cut for the rich – and therefore exactly the sort of thing National are likely to do.

        • Herodotus 2.2.1.1

          My metals man- to do as you say for me you have to make it compo, otherwise yet again (and I keep on saying it) those who dont cont then subsidies those who do i.e. the poor subsidies the rich. But Ihear you say thatthe poor canot afford to contribute (Which is very fair reply) then review and increase those on lower wages and up the benefit in theory by 4% and contribute that to the fund. Otherwise I am in support. But when most are struggling to cope day to day how can they contemplate retirement.
          Also as under current law you are unable to “gross up” your pay packet to compensate for opting out. So those aged over 65 and still actively working are being paid as a grossed up salary an inferrior amount than those under 65.

    • Peter 2.3

      I’m guessing that they will announce positive savings moves that reduce the tax you pay on money saved with the trading banks. This will be in response to banks saying it is not fair that Kiwisaver is far more attractive to the average punter than tradition saving with a trading bank.

      So National will claim that they are giving people an incentive to save even though it will far less attractive than Kiwisaver.

      • Lanthanide 2.3.1

        As outlined in the post the other day, I think that’s a bit too blatant of a tax-cut for the rich.

  3. Pascal's bookie 3

    Seeing it’s so stupid to borrow money to deposit into citizen’s savings accounts, I’m guessing there won’t be any national party mps taking advantage of the deal where for every dollar they put into their super scheme, the taxpayer puts in $2.50.

    As a matter of principle I’m guessing that they are all just using plain old vanilla kiwisaver like us plebs get right? Surely they aren’t getting the taxpayer to borrow money to put into their accounts, right?

  4. Kiwisaver restructuring looks like a wage freeze in disguise.

  5. Kaplan 5

    John key has hated this scheme since day one.
    Don’t let them cut Kiwisaver

  6. randal 6

    everything in NZ is done on the cheap.
    I guess we are just cheap people.

    • MrSmith 6.1

      Cheap&Nasty

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      Yep. Very cheap and we don’t like paying the full cost for anything. And that’s the objective cost which cannot be cut not the subjective price which can. Builders in Auckland ATM can work 40+ hours per week and not have enough to live on. Amazingly enough, no one in Chch is making any better offers. In fact, Fletchers capped the hourly rate.

  7. Sam 7

    Im gonna be the devils advocate here and ask why should the government be getting involved in peoples’ savings anyway?

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      Because the people have clearly shown they’re incapable of saving their money responsibly. Not just people in NZ either, but most (all?) developed countries have some sort of public pension savings scheme, many of them compulsory (like Australia).

      The national debt of New Zealand is at somewhat dangerously high level also, but 90% of that is a private debt problem. So it makes sense for the government to target private savings in order to improve the country’s balance sheet. The problem is doing this without also making the public debt worse.

    • Tanz 7.2

      Because generally, people in NZ have a poor savings record (and I’m one of the not-outstanding savers), and a worse one for retirement. Also, there are few spare dollars to be put aside and not touched. That’s one of the great things about Kiwisaver – it cannot be accessed, except for a first home, or for serious illness etc. It is locked away until the person reaches the age of sixty five. That money will be invested, reinvested and will grow fast, compound interest, high returns. Hope so, anyway, that’s my understanding of it.

  8. joe90 8

    How long before something like this is suggested.

    The various tax reduction and additional expenditure measures which I am announcing today will be funded by way of a temporary levy on funded pension schemes and personal pension plans. I propose that the levy will apply at a rate of 0.6% to the capital value of assets under management in pension funds established in the State.

  9. Tom Gould 9

    And where are the lazy, brain dead, indolent, craven, media on this Tory scam? Asleep at the wheel as usual. Or more likely having a drink and a laugh with their big buddy John?

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  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago

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