Holy KiwiSaver Batman! Plan to grow KiwiSaver told through superhero doll clips

Last updated 17:01 08/12/2016
Commision for Financial Capability

Retirement Commissioner uses Ken, Barbie and Superhero videos to call for changes to KIwiSaver.

KiwiSaver recommendations released using stop-motion video clips.
Retirement commissioner Diane Maxwell from the Commission for Financial Capability has ditched dull paper-based reports, and has released her KiwiSaver recommendations in a harder-to-ignore online format with video support.
Over 127,000 people are on KiwiSaver contribution "holidays", making no regular savings from their salaries.
Finance Minister Bill English is applauded by Prime Minister John Key after axing the $1000 kickstarter from KiwiSaver in the 2015 Budget.

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The Retirement Commissioner has released recommendations to beef up KiwiSaver, and has used Barbie, Ken and superhero doll stop-motion video clips to do it.

The changes include increasing the minimum employee and employer contributions from three per cent to four per cent, and allowing people to save six per cent or ten per cent of their salary, if they choose.

Commissioner Diane Maxwell would also allow people to set up an automatic annual increase to lift their savings every year.

To release the recommendations, Maxwell used the Wirewax online interactive platform used by TVNZ to promote Shortland Street, and she used funny video clips including Batman, Superman, Ken and Barbie to make her recommendations easy on the eye.

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Other recommendations included allowing people over 65 to join KiwiSaver, especially as people are working past age 65 these days, and cutting the maximum contributions "holiday" from five to one year.

An online survey the Commission for Financial Capability carried out earlier this year suggests many people would support Maxwell's recommendations.

The majority of the more than 1800 people surveyed supported the plain-English fee disclosure (97 per cent), being able to choose their own contribution levels (85 per cent), letting poorer savers chip in just one or two per cent of their salaries (72 per cent), and raising contribution levels by increments of 0.5 to one per cent (72 per cent).

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Six in ten thought over 65s should be allowed to join KiwiSaver, but only a very slim majority felt limiting contribution holidays to a maximum of one year was a good idea.

The majority opposed having a mass enrolment of non-KiwiSavers to sign up people who haven't got round to joining.

As Retirement Commissioner, Maxwell has an obligation every three years to advise Parliament on retirement income policy.

The question now is whether MPs, and especially the Government will accept the recommendations, which could take a bite out of the surplus.

Anything that increases KiwiSaver membership and savings rates will end up costing the taxpayer more in annual "member tax credit" subsidies.

The KiwiSaver changes wouldn't cost a lot, Maxwell said.

"If the work succeeds it would cost the government more," she said.

There were currently around 1.2m KiwiSaver members and non-members getting no, or only partial, member tax credits.

It would impact businesses, Maxwell said, and drives people to a total remuneration package

And Bill English, who is the front-runner to be the next prime minister, has not shown himself to be a lover of KiwiSaver.

English was the finance minister who cut KiwiSaver, not once but twice, halving the member tax credit and removing the $1000 kickstarter incentive to join KiwiSaver.

- Stuff


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