Just five MPs opt for KiwiSaver

By Claire Trevett

Finance Minister Michael Cullen has decided against putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to saving for retirement - only five members of Parliament have listed KiwiSaver as their superannuation scheme and he is not among them.

Dr Cullen's entry in Parliament's annual disclosure of MPs' assets and interests reveals he is sticking with the parliamentary superannuation scheme and a balanced growth fund with BNZ.

The KiwiSaver scheme was a key part of the Government's Budget last year and Dr Cullen recently celebrated signing up the 500,000th member.

A spokesman for Dr Cullen noted he was 63 and KiwiSaver ended at the age of 65.

"Michael has not joined the scheme - given he already has a managed fund and property and considerable savings, he did not feel it was right to join the scheme."

The law prevents MPs from receiving employer contributions, although they still get the $1000 kickstart deposit and Government contributions.

While all 121 MPs had some form of superannuation saving noted in the Register of Pecuniary Interests, only five listed KiwiSaver. All were Labour MPs and only one - Pete Hodgson, 57 - is a Cabinet minister.

The others were David Benson-Pope, Mark Burton, Ashraf Choudhary and Statistics Minister Darren Hughes. Mr Hughes, who turned 30 last week, said he joined a few months ago and would also continue to contribute to an alternative scheme.

"It's a long time until I get to 65. KiwiSaver is a portable scheme, so if by some horrible stroke of misfortune I don't spend the next 35 years in Parliament, I can still continue investing in it."

Prime Minister Helen Clark herself had much to declare this year - including a desk clock from French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

She received a tea set and silver temple from the President of Vietnam, and two separate gifts of silver and gold coaches and horses on a visit to Indonesia.

Other gifts included computer equipment from the Taiwan Economic Office at Apec.

National leader John Key listed tickets to the Rugby World Cup semifinal and two helicopter rides - one from the Business Round Table and another from Environment Waikato.

His deputy, Bill English, was given two nights' accommodation at Millbrook Resort by the Hugo Group.

Among the more unusual gifts, Wellington Central MP Marian Hobbs was the recipient of a Christie Brinkley Total Gym.

The register also shows Helen Clark now has a house in Britain among her property assets. A spokesman said the house had belonged to her father-in-law, who died more than a year ago.

Helen Clark also owns her family home in Mt Eden, a townhouse in Wellington, an apartment in Christchurch and an investment property in Rodney.

- NZ Herald

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