National agrees changes should be made to the KiwiSaver Act to allow people with life-shortening conditions earlier access to their funds, but instead of another review the Minister should adopt my Member’s Bill which would address this problem immediately, List MP based in Wellington Nicola Willis says.
“Earlier this year Tim Fairhill, a 39-year-old man with Down Syndrome highlighted that he would likely not live to the retirement age of 65 and would like access to his funds earlier.
“At the time, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said he did not think giving Mr Fairhill earlier access to his Kiwisaver funds was ‘the right thing to do’.
“Given the Minister’s dismissive attitude at the time I drafted a Members Bill to grant Mr Fairhill’s wish, and have been consulting on it over recent weeks. My Bill, The KiwiSaver (Compassionate Consideration) Amendment Bill, would require an application to be made to a fund manager who would need to be satisfied that a member has a chronic illness or a health condition which causes them to have a limited life expectancy.
“I plan to put into the Ballot today and to ask for Parliament’s leave for it to be introduced forthwith. In the Spirit of Christmas, I’d like Mr Faafoi to consider National’s Bill which will help speed up the process considerably.
“The withdrawal will also have to reflect the aim of encouraging a long-term savings habit, and must provide for an individual’s wellbeing and independence.
“Mr Faafoi has asked for a review of the Act but has made no commitments to make changes. This Government currently has more than 200 reviews or working groups in play.
“I encourage the Minister to adopt my Bill. I have done all of the work for the Minister, it will save time, save the taxpayer from funding yet another review and show compassion towards those who aren’t currently able to access their funds.”