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National signals KiwiSaver cuts – again

8 July 2008 Media Statement

National signals KiwiSaver cuts – again

National must come clean on their plans for KiwiSaver after a second National MP has accidentally revealed plans to cut contributions to the scheme, Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

National MP Shane Ardern – who holds a significant shadow portfolio, including Forestry, Biosecurity, Customs, and Rural Affairs in addition to chairing the Government Administration Select Committee – told his local community paper that National would not make initial changes to the scheme. He added:

“But it needs adjusting from the employers’ contribution angle, from one size fits all approach, to allow for pressure on smaller business employers.”

KiwiSaver has been a major success, with over 700,000 New Zealanders now in the scheme following a surge in new members after the introduction of employer contributions in April.

Dr Cullen said Mr Ardern’s comments are an unmistakeable signal that National will allow small businesses – who make up over 90 per cent of employers – to either opt out of KiwiSaver or contribute at lower levels.

“Now we know why John Key would only commit to keeping employer contributions at ‘pretty similar’ levels to now,” Dr Cullen said. “Not only does Mr Key intend to allow workers to be fired at will with his 90 day probationary employment policy, he wants to cut their entitlements to retirement support.

“When Kate Wilkinson got into trouble for revealing National’s real thoughts on KiwiSaver in May, Mr Key said his MPs would in the future be more careful with their thoughts. He needs to come clean with National’s real plans on KiwiSaver.

“New Zealanders shouldn’t have to wait for National MPs to reveal too much in a cosy chat with their local paper to find out what a Key Government would really do in office.”

ENDS

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