An overview of KiwiSaver

Don’t know a lot about KiwiSaver? Here is where you’ll find out how it works, what the benefits are, and how to sign up and start saving for your future.


What is KiwiSaver?

KiwiSaver is a work-based savings initiative introduced by the Government to help Kiwis save and build a nest egg for retirement. It also includes features that can help get you into your first home sooner.

If you’ve ever saved for something big, you’ll know how hard it can be. That’s where KiwiSaver comes into its own, so you don’t have to face getting ready for retirement or buying your first home alone.


What are the KiwiSaver benefits?

Making the most of the KiwiSaver benefits every year can help you grow your savings and reach your savings goals faster.

Annual Government contribution

A great benefit of becoming a KiwiSaver member is the $521.43 annual Government contribution (also known as your member tax credit).

If you are over the age of 18 and live mainly in New Zealand, you may be entitled to the $521.43 annual Government contribution. All you need to do to receive this amount is to contribute at least $1,042.86 between 1 July and 30 June each year to your KiwiSaver account. You can achieve this target by contributing around $21 each week.

If you join KiwiSaver, turn 18 or become eligible for retirement withdrawals part way through the year, you’ll get an annual Government contribution proportional to the time you’ve been eligible.

First home withdrawal

If you’re thinking of purchasing your first home in the future, KiwiSaver has features that may help.

Once you've been a member of KiwiSaver for three years, as long as you meet all the criteria, you’ll be able to use your KiwiSaver savings to put towards the purchase of your first home. You'll need to leave a minimum balance of $1,000 in your KiwiSaver account and you cannot withdraw any amount transferred from an Australian complying superannuation fund.

Even if you've owned property before, you may be eligible to withdraw your savings if Housing New Zealand Corporation assesses you to be in the same financial position as a first home buyer.

KiwiSaver HomeStart grant up to $10,000

You could also be eligible for a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant of up to $5,000 to buy an existing home, or up to $10,000 if you are building or purchasing a newly built home. Please note Housing New Zealand Corporation administer this grant. Income caps, house price caps and other criteria apply.

Employer contribution

Once you become a member of KiwiSaver, your employer will contribute a minimum of 3% of your before-tax salary (less employer’s superannuation contribution tax) from the age of 18 up until you are eligible to make retirement withdrawals. To receive this you must also be contributing to KiwiSaver from your salary or wages.


Who can join KiwiSaver?

You are eligible to join KiwiSaver if you:

  • are a New Zealand citizen or entitled to live in New Zealand permanently.
  • live, or normally live, in New Zealand.
  • are under the qaulifying age for New Zealand Superannuation (currently 65).

You may also be eligible to join if you are a State Sector employee serving outside of New Zealand.


As an employee, you can choose to contribute either 3%, 4%, or 8% of your (before tax) wage or salary towards your KiwiSaver account. If you’re over the age of 18, up until you are eligible to make retirement withdrawals, you will also be entitled to employer contributions where your employer will contribute a minimum of 3% towards your KiwiSaver savings.

Self-employed, or not in paid employment?

If you’re self-employed, a student, a stay at home parent, or not in paid employment, KiwiSaver is a flexible option for you. You can set your own contribution level and choose to make regular or one off contributions. If you do choose to contribute, and you are eligible, you may get the annual Government contribution of $521.43, (also known as your member tax credit) each year. To find out more, check out our Making the most of KiwiSaver guide.

Retiring soon?

You can join KiwiSaver any time before you turn 65. You do need to be a KiwiSaver member for five years and be aged 65 before you can make retirement withdrawals. The good news is that until you are eligible to make retirement withdrawals, you may be eligible for compulsory employer contributions of 3% of your salary or wages, and the annual Government contribution of $521.43 each year.

Once you become eligible for retirement withdrawals, your KiwiSaver account can provide an investment vehicle that helps your retirement savings go further. To find out more, check out our Making the most of KiwiSaver in retirement guide.

Under 18

Some habits are worth getting into early. With the help of a parent or guardian, an under 18 year old can become an ASB KiwiSaver Scheme member. If you are under 16 years, you’ll need all legal guardians to sign your application form.

Once you turn 18, you may be eligible for the annual Government contribution and employer contributions.

Want to get a head start? Check out our Making the most of KiwiSaver guide.


Coming home from Australia?

Been working in Australia? If you’re a New Zealand resident and you’ve been working in Australia, it may be possible to transfer your savings home, as you may be able to move your complying Australian superannuation fund savings into your ASB KiwiSaver Scheme account. To find out more, check out our guide Transferring your Australian super to KiwiSaver.


Can I access my KiwiSaver savings before 65?

Apart from using your KiwiSaver savings to help get into your first home, there are three ways you may be able to access your KiwiSaver savings before 65:

  1. Serious illness.
  2. Significant financial hardship. 
  3. Permanent emigration to a country other than Australia.

To find our more, check out our guide on how to withdraw KiwiSaver savings early.

Apply for the ASB KiwiSaver Scheme

Apply online

Ready for the next step? Apply online and start saving.

Apply online

Call us

Speak to a KiwiSaver specialist. 

0800 ASB RETIRE (0800 272 738)

Visit a branch

Visit us at one of our many branches across New Zealand.

Find a branch

Any questions?

We’ll help with your ASB KiwiSaver Scheme query.

Ask us now

Other helpful guides

Interests in the ASB KiwiSaver Scheme (Scheme) are issued by ASB Group Investments Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of ASB Bank Limited (ASB). ASB provides Scheme administration and distribution services. No person guarantees interests in the Scheme. Interests in the Scheme are not deposits or other liabilities of ASB. They are subject to investment risk, including possible loss of income and principal invested. For more information see the ASB KiwiSaver Scheme Product Disclosure Statement available from this website and the register of offers of financial products at www.business.govt.nz/disclose (search for ASB KiwiSaver Scheme).

ASB KiwiSaver Scheme A quick overview of KiwiSaver