AMP might be sliding down the popular KiwiSaver rankings but it remains the scheme of choice for NZ parliamentarians, a review of the latest MP ‘pecuniary and other specified interests’ register reveals.
An Investment News NZ analysis of the just-published parliamentary asset disclosures shows 21 MPs listed AMP as their KiwiSaver provider, equating to just under 20 per cent of the total 120 sitting members.
The AMP ratio bumps up to exactly 20 per cent of all those MPs who have a KiwiSaver scheme (15 members have not joined the government-assisted savings vehicle). AMP currently holds about 10.5 per cent of the overall KiwiSaver market.
ANZ, the largest provider to the general population, is second favourite KiwiSaver among the political class, garnering support from 19 MPs followed by ASB (12). Behind the Australian-owned giants, local identities Booster and Fisher Funds have won the votes of 11 MPs apiece while the government-owned Kiwi Wealth counts 10 parliamentarians among its KiwiSaver membership.
The almost fully passive NZ-owned KiwiSaver scheme, Simplicity, is the next-most liked provider to politicians with 17 MPs aboard. All other KiwiSaver schemes can count MP members on just one hand, led by Mercer (four), BNZ and Westpac (three each), Milford and Craigs (two apiece) and a single Generate supporter (National’s Paulo Garcia).
While the 120 sample size might be statistically insignificant, the raw data does not reveal any obvious correlation between political party and KiwiSaver provider choice – bar the fact National MPs are more likely non-members.
Of the 15 political KiwiSaver refuseniks, 10 are National Party members and only two fly under Labour colours. However, 100 per cent of Act Party MPs (David Seymour) don’t have a KiwiSaver scheme along with NZ First leader Winston Peters (who is on a gold-plated government pension) and rogue member Jamie-Lee Ross (who is looking after number one).
Otherwise, party leader KiwiSaver choice is widely distributed among providers headlined by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (ANZ).
National Party head, Simon Bridges, is a member of the high-flying Milford scheme while Green Party co-leaders – James Shaw and Marama Davidson – both belong to the Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver.
But more than half (about 70) of all MPs also hold other non-KiwiSaver superannuation assets including roughly 30 MPs with self-managed or family-operated funds. AMP is also the most popular political retail superannuation fund choice, name-checked by 10 or so MPs.
Furthermore, close to 80 MPs own at least two properties. Trusts are also must-have items for a large number of parliamentarians.
The 2020 pecuniary interest gift register, however, is a disappointingly dull affair, featuring mainly helicopter rides, sports events, subsidised Airbnb sleepovers and the odd babyboomer musical event (see Amy Adams, National, Phil Collins ‘Not dead yet’).
Nonetheless, some MPs did accrue a few colourful gifts during the year:
- Jacinda Ardern includes a ‘Deadly Ponies’ (a leather bag allegedly, for “use and onward donation”) among a list of a dozen or so freebies;
- National’s Melissa Lee scored some “golfing paraphernalia”;
- NZ First’s Shane Jones discloses some Waitangi Day refreshments “including alcohol”;
- Aupito William Sio (Labour) received a “specially commissioned Indonesian guitar”;
- a horse float (goes to National’s Chris Penk);
- Finance Minister Grant Robertson now has a “model of golden gate at the Temple of Literature”;
- Jonathan Young (National) took some travel money to attend a board meeting of Alphacrucius College in Australia;
- Act leader David Seymour accounts for his ‘Dancing with the stars’ fee, courtesy of MediaWorks; and,
- the Putianese General Society of NZ gave Labour’s Michael Wood a Huawei P30 phone.
Despite his many travels as Foreign Minister, Winston Peters reported just a few free gifts including two season passes to the Ellerslie races (unused) and a box of Fidel Castro’s favourite ‘Cohiba’ cigars (probably used) from the Cuban ambassador to NZ. National’s Gerry Brownlee also accepted a box of Cuban cigars, going one better than Peters with a side of rum to boot.
Also in traditional political gift style, Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki (Labour) received a “whole roasted pig”, which she redistributed to carers and needy families in South Auckland.
Sir Maarten Wevers, registrar of the pecuniary interest list, said the third and final disclosures of the current parliament presented “no matters of particular concern”.
Wevers says in the introduction that “almost all members of Parliament submitted their returns to me in accordance with the requirements of Standing Orders”.
“I was disappointed that three members—the Hon Peeni Henare, David Seymour, and the Hon Willie Jackson—submitted their returns after the deadline,” he says. “All three are experienced members who have submitted previous returns correctly, and I expected the same this year.”