Free money

It doesn't grow on trees, but it might grow in your KiwiSaver

Going to the beach, spending time with family, taking a nap in the sun – some of the best things in life are free. Thanks to the annual KiwiSaver Government contribution, that can be true when it comes to saving for your future as well. We’ve got all the information you need to understand Government contributions and to make sure you get your free money every year you can.

What is the Government contribution?

Like a little reward for being a good saver

The Government contribution is an annual contribution to reward you for growing your KiwiSaver. For every dollar you put into your KiwiSaver account, the Government will put in 50 cents – up to a maximum of $521.43 a year. To get that full amount, you just need to contribute at least $1,042.86 by June 30th every year. If you join KiwiSaver or turn 18 partway through the year, your Government Contribution will be pro-rated – more on that in a bit.

If you’re an employee and are working full time, you’ll probably hit your minimum contribution without noticing. However, it’s always good to check your contributions for the year to make sure. If your KiwiSaver is with us, you can log into myKiwiWealth to see how much you’ve put in.

If you’re self-employed, you likely won’t be contributing to your KiwiSaver automatically or receiving an employer contribution. Instead, you’ll need to make voluntary contributions. If you’re contributing around 20 bucks a week, you should hit the $1,042.86 goal each year. 

Who's eligible?

Check the requirements

Generally speaking, you’ll be eligible to receive the Government contribution if you meet the following requirements.

  • You’re a contributing KiwiSaver member.
  • You live mainly in New Zealand.
  • You’re aged 18 or older.
  • You aren’t eligible for a retirement withdrawal.

There are a few other edge cases and exceptions you might need to be aware of - more detailed information about these is available on the Inland Revenue website.

What do I need to do?

There's a good chance it's nothing at all

If you’re on track to contribute $1,042.86 to your KiwiSaver by June 30th, you don’t need to do anything. Your KiwiSaver provider will get your Government contribution sorted and send it through to your KiwiSaver account - usually in July.

If you’re not going to hit the $1,042.86 for the year, you can bump up your contributions if you want to get there. You could look at increasing your KiwiSaver contribution rate, making a lump-sum contribution, or setting up regular contributions to help you reach that goal.

What if I fall short of $1,042.86?

It's not a case of "all or nothing"

You won’t get the maximum contribution, but you’ll still get 50 cents for every dollar you’ve contributed. If a $100 contribution is all you can afford for the year, you’ll still get $50 from the Government in your KiwiSaver. Aiming to contribute $1,042.86 per year is still a good way to make sure your savings for your future keep growing.

What if I started or stopped contributing part way through the year?

You'll likely still receive something

To get the full Government contribution amount you need to have been an eligible member of KiwiSaver for the whole year, and have contributed at least $1,042.86 to your account in that year. If you turn 18 or join the scheme part way through the year, your Government contribution will be based on how many days in the year you’ve been a member.

The same rule applies if you reach the age of eligibility to stop contributing to your KiwiSaver part-way through the year – the amount of your last Government contribution will depend on how much of the year you were eligible. For most people, that'll happen when you turn 65. If you joined your KiwiSaver Scheme before 1 July 2019, you’ll get the Government contribution for at least 5 years (even if you turn 65 sooner) unless you opt to withdraw your funds before the 5 years are up.

Are you missing out?

It might literally pay to check

There’s no going back – if you don’t make the June 30 deadline, you’re missing out on the Government contribution for the year. That’s why it’s important to act now and make sure you’ll get your free money this year (and every year after).

If you’re with Kiwi Wealth, it’s easy to log into myKiwiWealth to check if you’re on track to get the full $521.43.

More KiwiSaver Explainers

This information is provided in a general nature only and should not be construed as or relied on as financial advice. This is not a recommendation to invest in a particular financial product or class of financial products. You should seek financial advice specific to your circumstances from a Financial Adviser before making any investment decisions.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The value of your investment may go up and down.