Man with Down syndrome turns down donation offers, just wants early access to KiwiSaver

Within minutes of his story going to air on 1 NEWS last night, a generous member of the public offered to help fund a trip to Italy for a man with Down Syndrome – a gesture which was appreciated but declined with thanks.

Tim Fairhall, 39, wants to use his KiwiSaver to visit his brother overseas while he's still in good health, but is unable to do so under current guidelines.

"Thank you for being so nice but this is my money," Mr Fairhall said.

His mother and carer, Joan Fairhall, said, "It's his. He's saved it and as soon as we can get access it, we can start planning the trip of his lifetime".

By the time Mr Fairhall is able to access the money at age 65, he will be "the equivalent of about 90", she said.

The family's call to allow Mr Fairhall to access to his KiwiSaver funds before his health deteriorates is supported by one of the country's leading tax experts.

Geof Nightingale, a PWC tax partner, says there are solutions, including simply widening the current KiwiSaver exemptions.

"Those regulations would be perhaps recommended by a minister - maybe in conjunction with the Retirement Commissioner - and that might say, 'Here's a special class of case we hadn't thought about that might allow for an early withdrawal,'" Mr Nightingale said.

The Government responded, saying, "KiwiSaver on the whole is working well and doing what it's designed to".

However, minister Kris Faafoi says that doesn't mean he is unsympathetic to Mr Fairhall's situation - or that there are no changes or improvements which can be made.

Mr Faafoi says he will respond to a letter he has received from Mr Fairhall's mother, and adds that the terms of reference for a three-yearly review of retirement income policies will be set by early December.

"We don't need any contributions, we don't need Give a Little or anything like that - we just need to be able to access his KiwiSaver," Ms Fairhall said.

Members of the public have offered money to help Tim Fairhall travel to visit his brother after access to his KiwiSaver money was denied. Source: 1 NEWS



NZ authorities to consider putting ingredient in Roundup weed killer on hazardous substances list

Authorities in New Zealand may look at putting one of the ingredients in the herbicide Roundup on the list of hazardous substances following the Monsanto scandal in the US.

A US Superior Court awarded $440 million to a man who alleged that heavy contact with the weed killer caused his cancer. 

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage says she has asked the Environmental Protection Authority to consider putting glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, on its Hazardous Substances list.

Monsanto denies its products cause cancer, but 5000 other court cases against the company are pending in the US.

A US Superior Court awarded $440m to a man who alleged heavy contact with the weed killer caused his cancer. Source: 1 NEWS

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Economists say Auckland housing market could suffer same price falls as some big Australian cities

Auckland has seen a massive growth in house prices, but leading economists say prices could fall like those in Sydney and Melbourne.

"The risk has arrived on the horizon and that would be contagion from a more marked slow in the Australian market than otherwise expected," ANZ chief economist Sharon Zollner told TVNZ1 Q+A's Corin Dann.

The Reserve Bank Governor, Adrian Orr says New Zealand's housing market shares common ground with Australia because it has benefited form the same global investment trends of recent years. 

He says it's possible prices in New Zealand could fall too.

"You could see a similar fall, that's not in our projections, but it's in the realm of possibility, likewise you could see a rise," he said.

In a forecast this week the Reserve Bank predicted house prices across the country to stay positive at around two to three per cent per year for the next few years.

 But Mr Orr says even if prices fall, there's little cause for concern.

"House prices relative to income is highly elevated and there is an enormous amount of wealth captured in the equity of homes they own, now a house price decline does not mean a housing market crisis, far from it."

One factor likely to help underpin house prices is low interest rates with Mr Orr surprising some in the market this week by pledging to keep rates low until 2020.

In addition, Mr Orr countered the gloomy view of some in the business sector by delivering an upbeat assessment on the economy.

"The signs are very positive, you have a lower exchange rate so we are earning more for our off-shore efforts, the world growth is still very strong, the government is out spending and investing."

Mr Orr says given all those factors now is a good time for businesses to invest.

The Reserve Bank Governor told Q+A’s Corin Dann, even if prices do start to turn, it’s not something that should cause major concern. Source: 1 NEWS