Information Request: Releasing Funds from KiwiSaver Accounts

Kiwi savings.

Finding it hard to get your cash back from Kiwisaver?

Migrants who’ve permanently left New Zealand are telling us that it is virtually impossible to get their KiwiSaver funds returned.

People are saying the KiwiSaver scheme is starting to look a rort, we’ve heard it called a ‘money making scheme for the providers.’

According to the KiwiSaver website if you’ve moved overseas permanently (and not to Australia) you should be entitled to your money back after 1 year.

Moving overseas permanently

“After you’ve been overseas for one year you can withdraw your funds from KiwiSaver, if you have moved overseas permanently to a country other than Australia…

When moving to Australia you will only be able to either leave your funds in a New Zealand KiwiSaver scheme or transfer your funds to an Australian complying superannuation scheme. You do not have to wait one year to make a transfer.”

Even if you do manage to withdraw your cash the NZ government gets to keep the tax credits, but you get the $1,000 kick start AND your employer’s contributions. source.

You’ll also have to provide proof you’ve left New Zealand, so keep those passport records, boarding passes and other documentation relating to your relocation.

Is it that easy?

We’d like to hear from more people about problems they’ve experience with the scheme, and if they found a way of getting to their cash.

Thank you.

4 thoughts on “Information Request: Releasing Funds from KiwiSaver Accounts

  1. Not sure where to post this on e2nz other than as comment on this Kiwisaver thread. For information of people who have left or are thinking of leaving NZ and have funds in a KiwiSaver scheme: Our funds were with Westpac (BT Funds Management). When we attempted to claim our funds, after having left NZ for over 12 months, Westpac were deliberately obtuse, unhelpful and ambiguous as to their precise requirements. They required sufficient evidence (their words) of our emigration from New Zealand in the form of a certified copy of our passport pages bearing the exit stamps from New Zealand. Fine. Only one problem, there is no such thing as an exit stamp from New Zealand. The Customs Service, who act as agents for Immigration New Zealand at Auckland International Airport, “ceased stamping any passports on departure from New Zealand several years ago” (quoted from a New Zealand Customs Service letter of October 2014).
    This fact seems to have escaped the notice of Westpac (BT Funds Management) who repeatedly asked for a certified stamped passport page, a non-existent document, and who refused to accept statutory declarations in lieu of these non-existent documents. They repeatedly claimed they had insufficient evidence of our emigration from New Zealand despite their corresponding with us at an overseas address and to which they had recently posted our KiwiSaver Annual Statement.
    The impasse was resolved when we wrote to the New Zealand Customs Service requesting the electronic record of our travel movements into and out of New Zealand and a covering letter, bearing an official Customs stamp, to be posted to our current address so that the originals could be sighted by a solicitor/Notary Public and any copies certified as true. I have high regard for the New Zealand Customs Service whose response was very quick and very helpful.
    I emailed the Customs letter and uncertified travel records ,along with a robust but polite letter, to Westpac and included a copy of our travel records with Jetstar, in letter form, as Westpac were also asking for certified copies of our e-tickets, not being able to understand that the “e” in e-ticket signifies “electronic” and not a paper record. Westpac finally agreed on receipt of these documents to process our applications. My advice – persevere; get your travel records and covering letters from Customs New Zealand for certification. Same for e-tickets – get your airline to confirm your travel dates by letter which can be certified. Don’t waste time and money on statutory declarations which count for nothing with Westpac. If you’ve just arrived in New Zealand and are thinking of taking out a Westpac KiwiSaver account my advice is – do not.

    • We successfully managed to get ours, but only after initiating court action. It was exactly as you describe with the provider switching the goalposts and demanding new pieces of information.

  2. Superannuation and retirement plans are cash cows for bankrupt governments. The fund management schemes love them because they can cream fees for “managing” the funds. However, according to one study, 92% of actively managed funds fail to beat the S&P 500 broader index over a five-year period when one accounts for fees. Those interested in share investing should just opt for index funds, although shares in most Western countries are expensive relative to earnings. Russian shares are much more appealing with a P/E ratio under 5.

    At some point, expect New Zealand to change the goalposts yet again. Originally, the government subsidy for the scheme was NZ $20 per week. Once they have convinced enough people to join and their money is trapped, the subsidy is only NZ $10 per week. I suspect the government will modify the rules to the detriment of the investor. Just look at the failure of the finance companies in 2008 to see how New Zealand regulates its financial services industry.

    New Zealand has a large element of political risk. There are better options of places to have your money. Remember that New Zealand banks have no government guarantee. Admittedly, a government guarantee only means the government can take the money from someone else via taxes or inflate the money via the central bank, but the utter insecurity should be enough to frighten people.

  3. I lived in NZ for a year, that’s all me and family could stomach of the country. I worked as a mental health nurse for counties manukau DHB and did manage to get back my kiwisaver money! It took lots of phone calls and me pestering them and luckily I kept all the paperwork so although it wasn’t easy I did it. I would urge anyone to persevere and pester them! It worked for me and do it as soon as you reach 1 year back in home country!

Comments are closed.