KiwiSaver membership benefits include contributions from your employer and the Government.
Compulsory employer contributions
If you’re saving through your work, your employer must contribute too. The contribution is equal to a minimum of 3% of your before-tax pay. Your employer must pay tax on their 3% contribution, so you may get less than 3% paid into your account.
Your employer does not have to contribute if:
- you’re under 18
- you are eligible to withdraw your funds
- you’re on a savings suspension
- they already pay into another complying scheme for you.
If you’re contributing to KiwiSaver, the government will contribute up to $521.43 each year. To get it all you must have contributed at least $1042.86 in the period 1 July to 30 June.
You can get a government contribution if you are aged 18 or over and either:
- live mainly in New Zealand
- are a government employee serving outside New Zealand
- are working overseas as a volunteer, for token payment, or for a charitable organisation named in the Student Loan Act regulations, and the work meets one or more of the requirements set out in the Student Loan Scheme Act 2011.
If you joined KiwiSaver on or after 1 July 2019, you can get the government contribution up until you turn 65. If you joined KiwiSaver before to 1 July 2019, you can get the government contribution up until you turn 65, or have been a KiwiSaver member for 5 years, whichever is the later.
If you do not contribute $1042.86 in the year, the government will still contribute 50 cents for every dollar you save. For example, if you contribute $50 you will get a government contribution of $25.
You don’t have to do anything to claim the Government contribution. Your KiwiSaver provider will make the claim on your behalf. The contribution will appear in your KiwiSaver account within a month of your provider making the claim.
Buying your first home
You may be able to take out most of your savings to buy your first home. You must leave $1,000 in your account. You must have been in KiwiSaver or a complying fund for 3 or more years. Not all complying funds allow withdrawals for your first home.
If you owned a house in the past
Your KiwiSaver provider may ask you to contact Housing New Zealand. They’ll work out if you’re in the same situation as a first-home-buyer.
KiwiSaver HomeStart grant
You can apply for a HomeStart grant for your first house after you’ve been contributing to KiwiSaver for a minimum of 3 years.
Check out the Housing New Zealand website to find out if you qualify for a HomeStart grant and how much you can get.