There are a number of technical changes - although I am yet to work my way through the 160 pages of the legislation.
However, the media will be focusing on the increase to the home deposit saving facility. It allows $1,000 for each year a saver is in KiwiSaver as a contribution by the government to the savings. The Maximum is $5,000. It applies per individual, so a couple saving for five years would enjoy $10,000 of assistance, plus their own saving. This is quite substantial.
Note that the technical Q&A says that regional house price caps (presumably on eligible homes) and income caps will be used to target the assistance - meaning that it will not be a universal benefit.
Whether it is entirely sensible is another matter:
Our UK friend at the ABI thought that this was a thoroughly bad idea - that only confuses the picture. Is owning a home the best allocation of resources? Are we getting too prescriptive? Why don't we have $10,000 incentives for starting a business (i.e. a 'productive' investment? These would be the kind of issues.
The Retirement Commissioner, Diana Crossan, on the other hand, thought that owning your own home was a foundation for good provision. Her research indicates that there is a substantial level of difference in quality lifestyle between those that own their home and those that do not in retirement. It creates more options for them in the use of Home Equity Release products to supplement income as well.
Raewyn Fox at the NZ Federation of Budget Advisory Services on the other hand has focused on the behavioural aspects of the scheme and so would probably be supportive also.
At the same time there is some concern that we should be providing government assistance to get people to save for assets that have been the target of comments about being overvalued, lova affair with property etc.
I will plough through the rest of the material and post more summary comments later. If you would like to register your interest in a copy of these please drop me a line. Russell.email@example.com