Lost your job, keen to start a business? National's BusinessStart policy enables $20k KiwiSaver withdrawals

New Zealanders who have lost their job since March would be able to withdraw $20,000 from KiwiSaver to start a business if the National Party wins in September, it says.

National says its new BusinessStart policy would allow Kiwis who lost their job after March 1 to start their own small business with at least $30,000 available to help them set it up. 

Kiwis would be given a one-off $1000 voucher to purchase advice and support from a chartered accountant or registered financial advisor to develop a viable business plan. 

The start-up would then receive BusinessStart approval from the Ministry of Businesses, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), and the perks would start rolling in. 

The business owner would be able to access up to $20,000 from their KiwiSaver account to invest in the new business and they would be given a free company office registration worth $130. 

Those who have been made redundant could claim back the entire taxed portion of their redundancy as a tax credit with IRD, which could be used to pay GST or other tax obligations created by the business. 

For those who lost their job but did not receive redundancy, they would get a tax credit of $5000 to meet tax obligations and after 90 days a second tax credit of $5000. 

The policy would begin on November 1 and run for 17 months through to the end of the financial year, March 31, 2022. 

"We'll let you withdraw up to $20,000 from your KiwiSaver account to get your business going," National leader Judith Collins said on Wednesday. "It's your money that you've put aside for a rainy day. Well, if you've lost your job, it's not raining, it's pouring.

"National says it may be more valuable to you invested in your own business. It's your choice whether to leave it with the fund managers or invest it yourself," Collins added. 

"We know people will criticise us for this. We want them to tell us why it's better for Kiwis to have their money invested in Wall Street rather than in their Kiwi High Street."

BusinessStart also includes a new $10 million contestable fund for additional advisers, for the likes of chambers of commerce, employers and manufacturers associations and Business Mentors New Zealand to pitch for. 

Collins said the new policy is a "companion" to JobStart, a policy unveiled under former leader Todd Muller back in May.  

JobStart would allow give $10,000 per new full-time employee to business owners. They would get an upfront payment of $5000 and the rest would be paid out after the new worker had completed 90 days.  

But Finance Minister Grant Robertson raised concerns. He was "prepared to consider" the policy but said a business owner could get the $5000 to hire someone new - and then fire them after 90 days. 

Robertson suggested that leaves room for dodgy employers to exploit the system and get cash payments of $5000, regardless of whether they intend to keep the employee for 90 days and receive the additional payment.  

National released another policy earlier in May under former leader Simon Bridges to help businesses struggling because of COVID-19.  

Businesses that could demonstrate a revenue drop of more than 50 percent across two consecutive months due to COVID-19 would be eligible for GST cash refunds worth up to $100,000. 

Bridges said National would offer the GST cash refunds to small businesses most affected by the COVID-19 economic fallout, and the refunds would be based on the GST they paid in the six months to January 1 this year.