A letter to the Prime Minister
It was with great regret I learned that the 2015 Budget decided to end the $1000 kick-start for KiwiSaver based on your belief that all persons who were interested by now would have used the incentive.
New Zealand is made up of many cultural and religious groups who, in some government initiatives, are over looked.
KiwiSaver was one such policy as it excluded the Islamic community who hold very high ethical requirements before they can enter an investment.
Under their ethical rules, they do not invest in money lending, interest-based products (known as usury to Christians), alcohol, gambling, machines of war, pornography, tobacco and pork.
The banned areas of investment cause huge cost to our society, being the source of crime, medical cost blowouts and family (especially children) distress.
Since the rollout of KiwiSaver in 2006, no provider under the scheme took the time or effort to build a suitable ethical investment until the launch of the ethical Amanah KiwiSaver Plan on January 31, 2015 by Ethnic Communities Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga.
(Editor’s Note: A detailed report appeared in our February 1, 2015 issue).
The launch was a proud moment for the Islamic community and was well attended.
The Amanah KiwiSaver Plan commenced its rollout to the community in the past eight weeks. To the communities’ dismay, they have lost the $1000 kick-start before the offer had time to be understood by the many who seek a high level of ethics where they invest their money.
The Islamic community are proud to call New Zealand their home.
They, as a community, draw very frugally on the costs of the state.
A vast majority of them live peacefully, work hard, educate their children and live by a very strict ethical code in all they do, including investments.
They, as a community, are solid taxpayers; their overall tax contribution outweighing any costs their members cause to the public purse.
The chance to participate with the rest of New Zealand to utilise the KiwiSaver government initiative funded to date by their tax dollars will be sorely missed.
They have, by your Budget decision, been penalised just when, for the first time, they had the opportunity to stand beside their fellow Kiwi citizens and provide for their future retirement.
I ask you to reconsider the decision to enable them a fair opportunity to assess the Amanah KiwiSaver Plan and join with the $1000 kick-start.
Unlike the average New Zealander, they have had eight weeks, not eight years, to decide to join KiwiSaver.
Brian Henry is a well-known barrister with more than 40 years of experience in commercial litigation and other legal matters. He is the Managing Director of ‘Amanah Trust Management (NZ) Limited, which launched its ‘Amanah KiwiSaver’ on January 31, 2015, in the presence of former Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand, Ethnic Communities Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-liga, Gregory Fortuin, Chairman, Amanah Trust Management (NZ) Limited and more than 150 guests.