KiwiSaver auto-enrolment delay disappointing

The government's decision to delay KiwiSaver auto-enrolment until the Budget is back in surplus has been criticised by default provider Mercer.

Thursday, May 24th 2012, 2:10PM

by Niko Kloeten

The Government announced at last year's Budget that it planned to introduce auto-enrolment in 2014; however, at yesterday's announcement of this year's Budget it confirmed the plan had been put on hold.

"The Government said it would proceed when it had sufficient surpluses to meet the forecast cost of up to NZ$514 million over four years," Finance Minister Bill English and Commerce Minister Craig Foss said in a press release.

"Proceeding with auto enrolment in 2014/15 is not now possible without putting the surplus at risk," English said.

"Public consultation will now be deferred until after 2012 and the policy won't be implemented until after 2014/15."

Mercer New Zealand boss Martin Lewington welcomed the Government's roadmap back to surplus but said he was concerned about its failure to address looming shortfalls in retirement savings.

"Mercer is disappointed the Government has deferred KiwiSaver auto-enrolment and will consult once the budget returns to surplus," Lewington said.

The Government highlighted in the Budget that approximately 15,000 people are joining KiwiSaver every month, he said. 

"Clearly there is public support for the Scheme and the more people who are in KiwiSaver, the less reliance on the Government. Any deferment of auto-enrolment inevitably means there's a group out there who will be missing the benefits of KiwiSaver," Mr Lewington said.

"There is urgency to help New Zealanders recognise the benefits of building private savings today, to ensure a comfortable retirement tomorrow."

Niko Kloeten can be contacted at niko@goodreturns.co.nz

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