Revenue Minister Peter Dunne says that KiwiSaver should be turned into a compulsory savings scheme once the majority of workers have signed up to it.
He says it’s a short step from where it is now to the “conclusion that the logical next move is to make KiwiSaver compulsory.
Dunne says the strong public support shown for KiwiSaver in the four months since its launch on 1 July shows it is already a winner with the New Zealand public and will be here to stay.
“It’s quickly become iconic – like New Zealand Superannuation – and the reality is no future government will dare pare it back, for fear of the political consequences of playing around with people’s savings.
“Making KiwiSaver compulsory would not only be the best way of future proofing the scheme against political interference, but also of making a positive contribution to boosting long-term savings and investment, and ultimately the standard of living of all New Zealanders,” he says.
Dunne says one of the advantages of making it compulsory is that it would remove the employer compliance costs associated with people opting out.
“Past attempts at having a compulsory government superannuation scheme have failed, in my view, because they took a top-down approach, with governments telling people they had to join.
He says people are choosing to join KiwiSaver because they want to, “which is a very different matter.”
Dunne says these are his personal views, and are not reflective of government policy “at this stage.”
“However, I do not think this issue will be able to be ignored if Kiwisaver continues to be so successful.”