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State super scheme may be extended

The State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme looks set to be extended outside the core public service.

Thursday, November 4th 2004, 6:54AM

by Rob Hosking

State Services Minister Trevor Mallard yesterday announced two working groups on the scheme.

The first, headed by former Council of Trade Unions economist Peter Harris, is to recommend the level of employer subsidy for employees investing in the scheme. At present the subsidy is 3%.

The second, chaired by former Council of Trade Unions Secretary Angela Foulkes, is to look at extending the scheme to employees non-core public sector bodies.

This will include the massive health sector - the largest single employer in the public service - as well as tertiary education institutions and state owned enterprises.

The State Services Commission has also indicated it may extend the scheme to other financial products.

The chairman of the commission’s superannuation advisory board, Derek Gill, told the recent Association of Superannuation Funds conference that including products such as insurance and annuities in the scheme is under consideration. “I know the annuities market is a pretty thin one at the moment but we will need to look at whether to move into that area.”

The commission is also evaluating the uptake of the scheme. Overall about 45% of those eligible for the scheme have signed up for it, but the range between government agencies is huge.

One government department had more than 80% of its staff sign up; another had less than 20%.

Rob Hosking is a Wellington-based freelance writer specialising in political, economic and IT related issues.

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