Little attention has been paid to a rule change which makes Australian Superannuation transfers to KiwiSaver accounts much easier.
Previously, many Australian Superannuation providers required that KiwiSaver members must include, as part of their transfer, a statutory declaration (stating you have permanently emigrated to NZ) be completed in person by an Australian official. This posed major problems for people not living close to an Australian High Commission or Consulate-General.
Fortunately, Australia has recognised the difficulty in this and amended the rule. Meaning, you can now go to your local New Zealand Lawyer, JP, Notary Public or court official and complete your statutory declaration if one is required.
Australian Superannuation providers have also been asked to amend any information sent to members that make specific reference to the need for an Australian-form Statutory Declaration.
This should alleviate some of the pain involved in moving savings back to New Zealand for many Kiwis who still have their money tied up in Australia.
So far, only $32m of all Kiwi retirement savings in Australian Super Funds has been repatriated. This is a shame because the Trans-Tasman Portability agreement (which took effect 1 July 2013) is a very positive initiative which allows those who have worked in either country to consolidate their savings under one roof.
Hopefully this new rule change will encourage people to take a second look at moving their savings back home.