Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker’s Member’s Bill that will help set up young foster kids for the future through the KiwiSaver scheme is a step closer to law after passing its second reading this evening.
“The KiwiSaver (Foster Parent Opting in for Children in their Care) Amendment Bill will make it possible for any foster parent to open a KiwiSaver account for a foster child in their care.
“Foster children are among some of the most vulnerable children in New Zealand and giving them the ability to have a KiwiSaver account gives them an identity. The goal of this bill was to allow them the same rights as any other child in New Zealand – to have their own KiwiSaver account.
“Oranga Tamariki officials recommended some limitations to the bill after it went to the Social Services Select Committee. During the third reading, I will be introducing some changes on the bill so it can benefit more foster children.
“Foster parents do an incredible job raising foster children and this bill gives them the opportunity to help set these children up for their futures.
“I have heard many heart-breaking first-hand accounts from foster children who have saved up for several years only to have their money lost or stolen due to moving foster homes so often. Giving foster children the ability to have a KiwiSaver account would prevent this from happening.
“A KiwiSaver account is the only financial instrument that no-one except the owner of the account itself can access. Some KiwiSaver providers have offered not to charge for the accounts of foster children until there is a significant sum in the account.
“Having these accounts will mean young New Zealanders in foster care can start their KiwiSaver journey when they want to, and their foster parents can help them into the scheme. Every other Kiwi child has this opportunity and I think it is only fair foster children do too.”