25 May 2012

KiwiSaver competes with other needs - English

6:38 pm on 25 May 2012

Finance Minister Bill English says one-off enrolment of all workers not already in KiwiSaver will be competing with a number of other spending areas for money from the Government's planned surpluses.

Before the election in November last year, the Government said it would conduct an automatic enrolment as soon as its books returned to surplus.

The Budget on Thursday confirmed that the Government intends to return its books to surplus by the 2014/15 financial year, but at $197 million it would be lower than that forecast in February's Budget Policy Statement.

Mr English said plans for the one-off enrolment have been shelved and the Government would not now conduct the exercise until it has a bigger surplus.

Even then, he said, it will face competition from other spending priorities, such as whether to replenish Earthquake Commission funds or to pay down debt.

The Treasury estimates KiwiSaver automatic enrolment would cost an extra $514 million over four years.

A KiwiSaver manager says the Government should be brave and push ahead with automatic enrolment of all workers not already in the scheme.

The head of Mercer, Martin Lewington, says the $500,000 needed over four years to pay for the enrolment exercise should be found as it would save future governments more.