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Hurdles to clear before signing up kids in Scheme
 
Q.           How do I go about signing up my children to KiwiSaver, and can their grandparents put money into their accounts? 
 
A.            Children can be signed up to KiwiSaver soon after they are born, but there is quite a lot of paperwork required. First of all, you need to provide a certified copy of their birth certificate or student card. Then you will need to have an IRD number for them. You will also need verification of their address – being correspondence addressed to them, not to you - so keep the letter that Inland Revenue sends you as this can be used for this purpose. 
 
If the child is under 16 both parents or all guardians must sign the Application Form. This can be challenging if the parents have separated, but unless one parent has been appointed sole guardian then the signature of both is required. 
 
The paperwork does not stop there. Each parent has to provide proof of their identity such as a verified copy of their passport or New Zealand driver’s licence, as well as an original bank statement showing their residential address and/or a utility bill not more than three months old.
 
Most fund managers will accept verification of copies of original documents by people such as an Authorised Financial Adviser, Justice of the Peace, Kaumatua, Member of Parliament, Police Constable, Lawyer, Registered Teacher or Registered Medical Doctor (not related or living at the same address). They will need to complete and sign the appropriate page in the application form. 
 
You may find it easier to open a bank account for your child first, as the bank staff will be able to help with the documentation required. In fact, it is probably easiest to sign them up to KiwiSaver at the same time as the bank can cross reference the various documents required for each. Do not read this as an endorsement of any particular bank’s KiwiSaver Scheme, it is simply an observation that you may find it easier to sign your children up to KiwiSaver through your regular bank. They can switch to another Scheme at some time in the future if they choose to, but in the meantime you can get them started.
 
The bank staff will help you decide what type of fund to choose for your child. Be sure to ask them what the Scheme’s administration fees are. This is a set fee usually $2 - $4 per month. While this does not sound like much, $4 per month is $48 per year or 4.8% of $1000. If your child has just the ‘kickstart’ in their account you should be looking for a Scheme with a monthly fee closer to $2 than $4. If, on the other hand, you or family members contribute to their fund and help the balance to grow, the impact of the monthly fee will diminish. 
 
Grandparents can contribute by sending a cheque to the fund manager with appropriate instructions, or by internet banking. There is no limit to the amount they can contribute, but bear in mind that contributions from family members will be available to your child under current laws if he or she makes a First Home Withdrawal in due course. 
 
It is a good way for family members to show their support for young people and help them plan their future.