Basically KiwiSaver is a private retirement savings which is subsidised by both the New Zealand Government and also employers. The scheme is voluntary (but once joined cannot opt out) and open to most New Zealand citizens and permanent residents.
Contributions are “locked” until the person qualified for “Superannuation” which is currently 65 years old. There are exceptions to an early withdrawal however as follows:
It may be used to assist a “first time home buyer” or depending on circumstances used as a “grant for previous home owners” provided they have had at least 3 years of membership.
May be released for a serious illness
If the person decides to emigrate permanently.
Employers are required to contribute towards a person’s KiwiSaver at a minimum of 3% of the gross remuneration but may voluntarily contribute up to 10%. The employee must contribute at the same rate agreed to.
Provided an individual contributes a minimum of $1,042.86 a year, the government will contribute “currently” a maximum of $521.43.