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KiwiSaver numbers closing in on 500,000

11 March 2008

KiwiSaver numbers closing in on 500,000

Nearly 470,000 New Zealanders have now signed up for KiwiSaver ahead of next month’s introduction of employer contributions to the scheme, Finance Minister Michael Cullen and Revenue Minister Peter Dunne announced today.

As at 29 February, KiwiSaver has 469,330 members. The February numbers are also showing an important and expected shift away from new members who are actively choosing to join the scheme to those who are being automatically enrolled when they start a new job.

The Minsters said this shift was important as automatically enrolled members were much more likely to be new savers and to be drawn from wider income and ethnic groups.

“We were always confident KiwiSaver would be a success, but it is fair to say that the overwhelming response to the scheme has come as a welcome surprise,” Dr Cullen said.

“We are glad to see so many New Zealanders actively sign up for the scheme in its early months, but it’s also good to see automatic enrolment numbers picking up. The whole idea of KiwiSaver was to make it easy for New Zealanders to start a savings habit so we could improve our national savings rate and lift living standards in retirement.”

Mr Dunne said the strong uptake of the scheme even before the introduction of employer contributions was a positive sign.

“Businesses have been working hard on the 1 April introduction of employer contributions and we thank them for their efforts,” Mr Dunne said. “All businesses will win out of KiwiSaver if we can build a large pool of domestic capital through the scheme that is available for Kiwi companies to draw from for investment.”

As at 29 February, 173,358 had joined KiwiSaver through auto enrolment, 201,441 had opted in through a provider and 94,531 had opted in via their employer.

Later this week, the first KiwiSaver evaluation report will be released.

ENDS

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