Government services for returning New Zealanders
Find out which government services you may be eligible for when you move back to New Zealand.
The Social Security Agreement between Australia and New Zealand allows New Zealanders who have worked in Australia to claim a payment from either country. It also allows you to add together your periods of Working Age residence in Australia and New Zealand, so you can meet the minimum requirements for the payment.
KiwiSaver, a voluntary, work-based savings initiative to help with long-term saving for retirement, was introduced in late 2007. It's designed to be hassle-free so it's easy to maintain a regular savings pattern. Contributions paid to your KiwiSaver are made up of Government, employer and your own contributions.
New Zealand citizens and residents are eligible for KiwiSaver if they normally live in New Zealand. When you start a new job, if you're not already a member and are eligible, your employer will automatically enrol you in KiwiSaver. If you have paid into an approved Australian retirement saving scheme, it is possible to transfer savings to some KiwiSaver schemes in New Zealand. This varies between schemes, so it is best to check with the provider before you sign up.
As you may remember, New Zealand doesn’t have a national Medicare system like Australia. Instead, once you are living in New Zealand, you should register with the local Primary Health Organisation (PHO) to receive subsidised healthcare.
You will be eligible for ACC cover from when you arrive in New Zealand.
ACC’s website has more information about what is and isn’t covered, and what happens if you injure yourself.
New Zealanders are classified as domestic students, and pay local fees for tertiary education. New Zealand citizens are eligible to apply for Student Loans or the Student Allowance when they begin studying in New Zealand. New Zealand residents need to have lived in New Zealand for at least three years before they can be eligible for a Student Loans or the Student Allowance.
New Zealanders visiting and living in New Zealand are liable for New Zealand income tax on all income derived from New Zealand.
Getting a tax number
If you had an IRD number when you previously lived in New Zealand, you should use this number when you return. If you don't know your IRD number, check the IRD website
If you've never had an IRD number, you should apply for one through Inland Revenue Department (IRD) when you arrive in New Zealand, particularly if you will be working here. You can find the form on the IRD website.
If you do not have an IRD number, tax will be deducted at a no-declaration rate, which is higher than the normal deduction rate.
Working for families
If your children are New Zealand or Australian citizens or permanent residents, you may be eligible for Working for Families Tax Credits when you arrive in New Zealand.
Working for Families Tax Credits are an entitlement for families with dependent children aged 18 or younger. It includes four different types of payments (tax credits).
The types of payment and the amounts you can get depend on:
- how many dependent children you care for
- your total family income
- where your family income comes from
- the age of the children in your care, and
- any children you share care for.
The Department of Work and Income also provides some subsidies to families for early childhood education and before/after school and holiday programmes.
Legally, in New Zealand you must be enrolled on the electoral roll. You must enrol if you:
- are 18 years or older, and
- have lived in New Zealand for more than one year continuously at some time in your life, and
- are a New Zealand citizen who has been in New Zealand within the past 3 years, or
- are permanently residing in New Zealand and have been in New Zealand within the past 12 months..
Only those who are enrolled can vote, take part in a referendum, or sign a referendum petition.
If you have previously been enrolled, make sure you update your details when you return to New Zealand.
A minimum of five years residence in New Zealand is required and certain criteria must be met, including satisfactory character and language references, to become a New Zealand citizen by grant.