KiwiSaver vs Superannuation. Find out the differences.
KiwiSaver vs Superannuation. Find out the differences.
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KiwiSaver vs Superannuation

The differences you should know if you’re moving to Australia

New Zealand and Australia both have retirement schemes called superannuation, but it turns out there are some big differences between the two. If you are planning to move from New Zealand to Australia, it’s worth taking note.

The similarities

Both countries have retirement schemes called ‘superannuation’ – or ‘super’ for short. But in New Zealand, superannuation usually refers to the retirement scheme provided by the government. (The equivalent government retirement scheme in Australia is called the Age Pension.)

Superannuation in Australia is where employers and employees make contributions to a retirement savings account during their working life. It’s similar to KiwiSaver in New Zealand.

In both countries you can choose which KiwiSaver (New Zealand) or superannuation (Australia) fund you’d like your contributions to go to.

The differences

Both countries allow you to use your KiwiSaver or superannuation towards a deposit for your first home.

Using super to purchase your first home

New Zealand – KiwiSaver

  • You must be contributing to a KiwiSaver for at least 3 years before you withdraw funds for your first home.
  • Maximum you can withdraw is $10,000 as a deposit for your first home in New Zealand.
  • Funds transferred from an Australian Complying Superannuation scheme cannot be withdrawn.
  • Read more about the KiwiSaver Homestart grant

Australia – Superannuation

  • You can use your KiwiSaver to purchase your first home in Australia through the Australian government First Home Super Saver (FHSS) scheme if you meet the criteria set out by the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
  • With your super fund in Australia, only voluntary contributions (before or after tax) can be used as part of the FHSS scheme.
  • The maximum voluntary contribution you can put towards the FHSS scheme is $15,000 per financial year. The total amount you can contribute is $50,000 per person or $100,000 per couple.
  • Read more about KiwiSaver and Australian FHSS

How ‘super’ is paid

New Zealand – KiwiSaver

  • Employer contribution
    Employers also make a compulsory minimum contribution of 3% towards an employee’s KiwiSaver savings.
  • Government contribution
    If you are contributing to a KiwiSaver scheme, the government will contribute up to $521.43 each year. However, to receive the full benefit you must have contributed at least $1,042.86 during the period of 1 July to 30 June.
  • Contributions made by you
    KiwiSaver is voluntary. If you’re a salary or wage earner, you’ll voluntarily contribute either 3%, 4%, 6%, 8% or 10% out of your own pay before tax. If you do not choose a contribution rate, your employer will deduct the default rate of 3% and you’ll contribute through wage deduction.

Australia – Superannuation

  • Employer contributions
    Superannuation is compulsory. By law, employers must pay super contributions on your behalf to an approved super fund. These contributions are called ‘Super Guarantee’ (SG) and are 11% percentage of your ordinary time earnings (in addition to your wages).
  • Contributions made by you
    These are called voluntary contributions. You can add more money to your super either before tax (also known as salary sacrifice) or after tax (personal voluntary contribution). There are limits on how much extra you can contribute to your super per annum.

Tax on super

New Zealand – KiwiSaver

Your employer must pay tax on their 3%, so you may receive less than 3% in your account.

Investment earnings in KiwiSaver schemes are taxed at 28%. However, if the KiwiSaver scheme you belong to is a Portfolio Investment Entity (PIE), your investment earnings will be taxed at your Prescribed Investor rates of either 28%, 17.5% or 10.5% depending on individual circumstances.

Are you now living overseas?
If you are no longer a New Zealand tax resident, be aware that your KiwiSaver investment earnings will be taxed at 28%. If you move your money to an Australian fund that accepts KiwiSaver transfers, your earnings will be taxed at only 15%.

Australia – Superannuation

SG contributions made by your employer are taxed at 15%. Voluntary and salary sacrifice contributions are taxed at the same amount. You may be able to claim a tax deduction for after-tax contributions.

Accessing your super

New Zealand – KiwiSaver

You can withdraw all your KiwiSaver savings when you reach age 65.

If you suffer significant financial hardship, you may be able to withdraw some or all of your and your employer’s contributions.

You may be able to withdraw some, or all of your KiwiSaver funds early if your health permanently affects your ability to work or you could die.

Moving to Australia
If you permanently move to Australia, you can transfer your KiwiSaver to a KiwiSaver accepting fund such as First Super.

Australia – Superannuation

Generally, you can only access your super once you have reached preservation age.

Under extreme circumstances you may be able to access some funds on grounds of financial hardship or compassionate grounds.

Moving to New Zealand
If you move to New Zealand, you can transfer your superannuation to a KiwiSaver fund.


KiwiSaver Transfers to Australia

KiwiSaver Transfers

If you’ve moved to Australia from New Zealand, or you’re planning to in future, why not bring your KiwiSaver across the ditch?