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National flip flop on KiwiSaver?

14 March 2008 Media Statement

National flip flop on KiwiSaver?

Reports that the National Party has moved closer to a flip flop on KiwiSaver have been greeted with caution by Finance Minister Michael Cullen.

NZPA reports that Finance Spokesman Bill English yesterday said that:

We certainly won't be dropping KiwiSaver. If you've got a scheme that's successful, that's a good thing.

But we're looking at it to see how it's working. We're looking at all aspects of it to see where it can be improved to make it work better.

Dr Cullen said National needs to clarify exactly what not ‘dropping KiwiSaver’ means, and whether National now supports employer contributions, employer tax credits, and employee tax credits.

“KiwiSaver has been hugely successful, with nearly 500,000 New Zealanders already signed up,” Dr Cullen said. “This success has put John Key and Bill English under pressure to back down on their opposition to the scheme.

“National has voted against KiwiSaver 40 times. John Key said it was a “terribly designed system” and predicted that take up would be low.

“It’s clear that the patented John Key flip flop is coming. But these halfway back-downs from Bill English are nothing more than slippery tactics designed to give his leader some much needed political breathing room.

“Employers around the country are working hard on the 1 April introduction of employer contributions. Nearly 500,000 New Zealanders are already saving through KiwiSaver, with many more considering joining the scheme in the weeks and months ahead.

“All of this is happening now and the National Party’s reluctance to come clean on KiwiSaver is looking more and more foolish by the day.

“Bill English is speaking at a KiwiSaver conference on Tuesday where he is expected to explain his Party’s stance on the scheme. That would be a perfect opportunity to admit that National was wrong and that it is time to get behind KiwiSaver like so many New Zealanders already have.”


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