Super funds unclaimed decades on
Thousands of people who worked in Southland during the 1970s are owed more than $2 million in superannuation.
National Provident Fund general manager of schemes Philippa Drury said the fund held unclaimed monies for about 2100 for people who worked in the meat industry in Southland, and another 600 people who had worked for other Southland-based employers.
The average amount of unclaimed money per person was about $900, Ms Drury said.
"Most of the unclaimed money relates to the period of compulsory superannuation between April 1975 and December 1975."
The fund had made several efforts to encourage people to check whether they had unclaimed money with National Provident Fund, she said.
If the person who owned the funds had died, the money could be claimed by the person's estate.
Those wanting to check if they have unclaimed money with the fund could enter their surname into the National Provident Fund website and search "unclaimed monies".
"If someone thinks they may have had money with National Provident Fund then they should print out and complete the form providing us with as much detail as possible so we can investigate and verify that information," she said.
According to legislation, the money can be written off as a liability after 15 years, but only after reasonable efforts have been made to locate people.
If those people with unclaimed money contact the fund, it is required to research records to see if any entitlements are due to them.
Southland/Otago Meat Workers' Union general secretary Gary Davis said many Southland meatworkers were part of the National Provident Fund during the 1970s.
The biggest problem was that many former meatworkers had not notified the fund of a change in address, Mr Davis said.
New Zealand Meat Workers' Union general secretary Graham Cooke said the onus was on the worker to find out if they had unclaimed money.
The unclaimed funds were from a time of redundancies at Ocean Beach freezing works and many meatworkers did not leave contact details for the National Provident Fund, Mr Cooke said.
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