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Foster children are a step closer today to having a more secure financial future with easier access to Kiwisaver, Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker says.

“The KiwiSaver (Foster Parent Opting in for Children in their Care) Amendment Bill passed its first reading and will make it possible for any foster parent, or Kin carer, to open a KiwiSaver account for a foster child in their care.

“I am delighted that the House has supported my Bill through its first reading. Foster children are among the most vulnerable children in New Zealand and it’s important that guardians can make important decisions for the children they’re caring for.  

“There are many foster parents and carers who want to provide the best possible future for the children in their care, even if they never achieve legal guardianship. That includes ensuring that their foster child has some financial security.

“My Bill will make it possible for any foster parent, or Kin carer, who has proof of their foster responsibility to directly approach a KiwiSaver provider to open an account for a foster child in their care.

“At present, the only way for a foster parent or Kin carer to open a KiwiSaver account is by application to their allocated social worker and it relies on a complex process within a bureaucratic framework.

“A KiwiSaver account is the only financial instrument that nobody except the owner of the account itself can access. KiwiSaver has also offered not to charge for the accounts of foster children until there is a significant sum in the account.

“Parliament’s support of this Bill past the first reading will add to the work National undertook during its time in Government to improve the lives of New Zealand’s most vulnerable children.”

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