Ministry of Transport fraudster Joanne Harrison has won the right to keep her KiwiSaver funds out of the hands of police.

Harrison was jailed for three years and seven months in February after pleading guilty to three charges of dishonestly taking or using a document.

The Serious Fraud Office case found she had defrauded the ministry of $726,000 while employed as a general manager, a role which authorised her to spend public funds.

The police, under the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act, have made a bid to seize assets owned or controlled by Harrison or her partner.


Among the property being eyed by police is a $530,000 property, a BMW, Rolex, Tagheuer and Breitling watches and $109,211 in a KiwiSaver fund in Harrison's name.

Lawyers squared off in August over whether or not the KiwiSaver funds could form part of the police's seizure bid.

In a just released decision, Justice Rebecca Ellis ruled KiwiSaver funds could not form part of the application.

"The court has no power to make a civil forfeiture order in relation to the KiwiSaver funds of a person who has been engaged in significant criminal activity," the judge said.

The judge said that provisions of the KiwiSaver Act prevail over the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act.

"It seems unlikely that the relationship between the two Acts was considered at the time the KSA was enacted. It may well be that legislative amendment is required," she said.