Tamsyn Parker 's Opinion

Tamsyn Parker is the NZ Herald's Money Editor

Tamsyn Parker: Oh no - more KiwiSaver tinkering?

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Instead of paying higher interest rates, they would put more into their KiwiSaver - says David Parker. But what about those with no mortgage? Photo / Martin Sykes
Instead of paying higher interest rates, they would put more into their KiwiSaver - says David Parker. But what about those with no mortgage? Photo / Martin Sykes

My first reaction to Labour's KiwiSaver announcement was oh no - not more tinkering of our retirement savings.

The Labour party has made it very clear previously that it wants to make KiwiSaver compulsory so that came as no surprise.

But now it wants to let the Reserve Bank change the contribution rates as a way of controlling monetary policy.

Labour finance spokesman David Parker says this proposal would mean that instead of people paying more interest on their mortgage, a similar amount of extra savings would go into KiwiSaver.

But what about people without mortgages?

How does this encourage young people to save for their retirement when they don't already have a mortgage?

Mostly I just don't like the fact that someone else will be in control of how much I contribute to my retirement savings and because it would be compulsory I wouldn't have a choice to opt out.

Sure the Reserve Bank currently controls the official cash rate which impacts how much I pay on my mortgage but if I'm worried about the rates going up I can choose to fix my mortgage.

How much notice will we get of KiwiSaver contributions going up or down? It's not that easy to find an extra half a per cent when you're already living on a tight budget.

Labour's plans may be better for the economy overall but in my view on an individual basis it's going to be a tough sell.

KiwiSaver has already had numerous changes since its launch in 2007. More political tinkering will do little to help people get their heads around the scheme.

- NZ Herald

Tamsyn Parker

Tamsyn Parker is the NZ Herald's Money Editor

Tamsyn Parker is the NZ Herald's Money Editor. A business journalist for ten years, she has worked in the UK and NZ for the New Zealand Herald, the National Business Review and a specialist publication on investment products for financial advisors. She is passionate about helping readers learn more about to make their money work for them.

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