KiwiSaver also babysaver scheme

The Government says younger and younger people are signing up to KiwiSaver – the latest being a nine-month-old boy.

Megan and Jules Van Cruysen's baby son Remy was the poster boy for KiwiSaver at a party to mark 500,000 people signing up to the savings scheme held in Prime Minister Helen Clark's office this morning.

He was presented with a KiwiSaver Kid T-shirt before a piggybank-shaped cake iced in pink was cut.

Mr Cruysen, a wine expert at the Loft in Wellington who is a Labour Party supporter, said he wanted his son to have enough money to buy a house – something he and Megan have not yet managed to do.

"I didn't want Remy to be in the same position I was. We had Remy and at the moment can't afford to buy a house because we've had to borrow for our education and all sorts of things – so we wanted Remy to actually have money to put on the deposit for a house or put towards his education."

The couple are putting $20 a week into his account and he will get the $1000 Government contribution.

Finance Minister Michael Cullen said Remy was getting a very good start.

He said there had been a shift in the age-groups getting into the scheme – in the first few months only a quarter of those signed up were aged under 35 and 30 per cent were aged over 55.

"In the last two months, that we've got full figures for, over half are aged under 35, and it's down now to about 13 per cent in those two months (who were) aged 55 plus," Dr Cullen said.

"In the first period we were seeing people basically transferring out of existing schemes perhaps, or people looking forward to retirement in the not too distant future. What we are really seeing now is the younger age groups coming in. You can't get much younger than Remy here, starting up into KiwiSaver."

He hoped the little boy's generation would be savers rather than borrowers.

Miss Clark said the 500,000 mark was reached just before Easter and the take up exceeded the Government's "wildest dreams".

Dr Cullen said despite its popularity the scheme would remain voluntary. If it was compulsory it raised questions about guaranteeing savings and impacting on New Zealand Superannuation.

"We've been very clear that KiwiSaver is on top of NZ Superannuation it's not a substitute for it."

From April 1 employers will be required to contribute 1 per cent of their employee's salary into their KiwiSaver account rising to 4 per cent by 2011.