Retirement savings scheme KiwiSaver is to undergo a raft of changes next year if they get the thumbs up from politicians.

A bill introduced to Parliament last Thursday proposes to allow people over the age of 65 to join KiwiSaver and would scrap the requirement for people over 60 to be in the scheme for a least five years before they can get their money out.

Those changes could come into effect by July 1 next year.

The bill also proposes giving people more choice when it comes to the rate they can save at.


Currently people can choose to contribute at either 3, 4 or 8 per cent of their salary via their employer.

But the changes would see 6 per cent and 10 per cent added to the options.

Meanwhile the contributions holiday would be renamed a savings suspension and shortened from a maximum five years to one year.

Those changes would come in by April 1.

The changes were all recommendations made by Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell in her 2016 review of Retirement Income policies but were not picked up by the previous National-led government.

Maxwell said she was pleased to see her recommendations enacted in the Taxation (annual rates for 2018-19, Modernising Tax Administration, and Remedial Matters) Bill and was optimistic it would be passed.

She said opening KiwiSaver to people over the age of 65 would give them access to a provider of low-cost managed funds through retirement.

"There is no apparent reason for those over 65 not being able to join KiwiSaver."


Maxwell said adding more contribution rates would give members more flexibility while changing the name of the contribution holiday would remove the positive connection with a "holiday" and reducing the suspension period would help people restart saving sooner.

"Stopping contributions for five years has a significant impact and disrupts long-term savings."

"Not only do members' accounts not grow by their contributions, but they also miss out on their employers' contributions and the Government contribution of up to $521 a year."

"For many people five years is likely to be longer than necessary and a one-year
renewal provides a prompt to reconsider their position and assess whether they can restart saving."

The bill must pass three readings in Parliament before it can be made law.