Members will be aware that the Government has changed the rules around KiwiSaver. From the 1st April 2009 the maximum amount of employer contributions that are eligible for the Employers Superannuation Contribution Tax (ESCT) exemption has been reduced from 4% to 2%.

This means that the amount of savings for tax exemption has been reduced. Up until the end of March 2009, if you contributed part of your New Zealand Fire Service Superannuation Scheme contributions into the KiwiSaver complying fund at 4% you received the tax savings on the full 4%. After the 1st April that tax saving will only be applied to 2%.

All of the other tax savings that apply to KiwiSaver have been retained. The tax savings are essentially in return for “locking in” your superannuation savings in the KiwiSaver complying section until the age of 65 (or the age of eligibility for Government Superannuation) or five years membership in KiwiSaver, whichever is the greater.

The Union has worked out some figures that will give you an idea of the tax savings that can be made from April onwards. These relate to Senior Firefighter Driver Grade 2 members. Other ranks should get a fair idea of their savings by comparison.

No KiwiSaver contributions;
  With KiwiSaver contributions;   
Total Weekly Wage  $ 1,019.15  Total Weekly Wage   $ 1,019.15 
    SUPER 2% (to KiwiSaver)  $ 20.38 
    EMPLOYER $ FOR $ (to KiwiSaver)  $ 20.38 

between 2% 
untaxed employers contribution
and $for$ KiwiSaver contribution) 

$ 25.89 
$ 61.15  SUPER 4%  $ 40.77 
EMPLOYER 2.27  $ 138.81  EMPLOYER 2.27  $ 92.54 
TAX ON EMPLOYER @ 33%  $ 45.81  TAX ON EMPLOYER @ 33%  $ 30.54 
TOTAL IN SUPER  $ 154.15  TOTAL IN SUPER (KiwiSaver and normal super)  $ 169.42 

As can be seen from the tables above the savings per week is $15.27. On top of that there is the tax rebate of $1040.00 paid into your KiwiSaver complying section of the New Zealand Fire Service Superannuation Scheme after April each Year. This gives a total saving of about $1834.00 per year.

The total amount locked into KiwiSaver is $40.76 per week.

If members have any questions regarding this please contact your Union elected Trustees,

Steve Warner, Athol Conway or Denis Fitzmaurice

Officer - Leadership Development 360 Survey

All Officers have recently been e-mailed a substantial pack “offering the opportunity to develop your leadership skills by participating in the 360 degree leadership development process”.

As well as taking part in the process a one-on-one feedback session with an external consultant is also provided.

The Union has a number of problems with all this -

  1. What will any results be used for?

    The Union notes that the Participant Communication information provided states “No one from the New Zealand Fire Service (NZFS) will have access to individual survey responses”.

    But further down, the same document states “A copy of your 360 degree report and your draft personal development plan will be available to your manager….”

    So the process and its outcome are not so confidential after all.

  2. The Participant Communication indicates that 15 to 20 respondents for your Survey should be selected.

    That is, for every Officer 15 – 20 persons are required to fill in an assessed response for 91 questions as well as providing additional verbatim comments.

    Around 450 Officers x 91 questions gives around 50,000 individual assessed responses plus verbatim comments. This, along with the session with the external consultant and subsequent discussions with your manager etc., is a massive time commitment – over and above what is already expected.

    Presumably the Fire Service believes you and all those respondents filling in forms have plenty of time.

3. Cost.

A fair estimate of the direct cost for each Officer choosing to participate would have to be at least $200. This gives a potential total cost of close to $100,000. The indirect costs of lost time would be considerably more. And yet, everyone is being told of the tough economic circumstances the Fire Service now faces.

The All Personnel Survey had direct costs of close to $100,000 as well.The Union sees some obvious targets for quite legitimate cost containment in these areas.

Consequently the Union’s strong recommendation to members is not to participate in this 360 degree Survey.

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