Joining is voluntary. However, once you have joined your savings will generally be unavailable to you until at least age 65. You may be able to make an early withdrawal of part (or all) of your savings in certain circumstances.
Eligibility to join
To join KiwiSaver, you must be living or normally living in New Zealand (with some exceptions) and be a New Zealand citizen or have an entitlement to live here permanently. You must also be aged below 65 (although there is no age limit for transferring between KiwiSaver schemes).
To join it does not matter whether you are working or not. Children can also join.There are three ways to join KiwiSaver.
- When you start a new job, your employer will automatically enrol you (unless you indicate that you do not want to join – called an opt out).
- By telling your employer you want to start making KiwiSaver payments.
- By contacting a KiwiSaver scheme and filling out an application form.
Choosing a scheme
You can join a KiwiSaver scheme of your choice.
If you don’t make a choice you will be allocated to the scheme your employer has chosen for its employees or if your employer has not chosen a scheme then Inland Revenue will allocate you to a default scheme.
Changing your scheme
You can choose to change your scheme at any time for any reason. You just need to complete the application form for the new scheme and the rest will be taken care of for you. You can only be in one scheme at a time.
If you’re working, contributions are deducted from your pay at the rate of 3%, 4% or 8% (you choose the rate). Also, your employer contributes a minimum of 3% of your pay (tax is taken from this payment).
If you’re self-employed or not working, you agree with your KiwiSaver scheme how much you want to contribute and make payments directly to them.