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KiwiSaver in breach of human rights, employment law

KiwiSaver starting today discriminates against people aged 65 and over, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says. Press Release

Monday, July 2nd 2007, 9:42AM
"This is from the government that sensibly passed the law removing a retirement age from all employment agreements and reinforced the illegal nature of any discrimination against older people," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"By making people 65 or over ineligible for KiwiSaver, Government is denying them access to the $1000 tax funded kick start, a $1040 annual tax credit, and tax free employer contributions.

"This is serious discrimination against equal opportunities for older people and it must be remedied with urgency.

"Besides being grossly unfair, it is incredibly short sighted.

"People these days are living and working much longer, and with today's tight labour market employers are keen to keep them on long after they reach 65.

"The discrimination gives older people no encouragement to keep working though valued for their experience and ability to train younger staff.

"It's a particularly serious concern for employers having trouble growing their businesses due to an inability to get staff.

"KiwiSaver's age discrimination is taking us in the opposite direction from Australia. Across the Tasman from today, their Better Super scheme will see older people in work paying extremely low tax rates by offsetting tax free income from their superannuation savings. This is specifically aimed at keeping them in the workforce.

"Most seriously for the government, KiwiSaver seems to us clearly in breach of the Human Rights Act, the Bill of Rights, and the Employment Relations Act 2000.

"Section 21(i) of the Human Rights Act states plainly no one can discriminate on the basis of age. Section 22 (1) (d) notes it is illegal to discriminate against age for the purposes of retirement.

"Section 105 (1) (i) of the Employment Relations Act states that 'age' discrimination is grounds for an individual to bring a personal grievance claim against their employer. "Why should Government rule itself above these laws?"

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