KiwiSaver withdrawals highlight growing hardship

Record numbers of people are withdrawing from their KiwiSaver schemes due to significant financial hardship, the Green Party said today.

The Financial Market Authority’s annual report on KiwiSaver shows that $43 million was withdrawn from KiwiSaver last year for reasons of significant financial hardship, up 38 percent from last year. A new record number of people are withdrawing their retirement savings, up 11 percent to 8,911 as calculated by the Parliamentary Library.

“Record numbers of people are suffering significant financial hardship and having to dig in to their retirement savings just to get by,” said Green Party finance spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.

“More than 8,900 people withdrew from KiwiSaver last year because they were unable to meet their minimum living expenses or their mortgage repayments, for example, and the growth in hardship withdrawals was faster than the growth in new people joining KiwiSaver.

“It’s actually very difficult to withdraw from KiwiSaver. Families must typically show they have explored and exhausted all reasonable alternative sources of funding. You must then provide detailed financial information showing all income and outgoings, including bank statements, bills, and other financial paperwork.

“People are doing the unthinkable with their retirement savings just to make it through.

“National’s economy is clearly not working for everyone.

“The Green Party has a plan to address poverty, especially child poverty, lifting thousands of families out of poverty and the need to rob their retirement nest eggs just to get by.

“National, however, voted against our Feed the Kids Bill earlier this year showing how completely out of touch they are with the needs of New Zealand’s poorest kids and families.”