First-home withdrawal

You can apply to access your savings in PSS towards the purchase of a first home in the same way as KiwiSaver members – use the First-home withdrawal form.

Eligibility

To be eligible, you need to have been a member of the Police Superannuation Scheme (PSS) for at least 3 years. If you’ve been a member of PSS for less than 3 years, you may still qualify if you are a member of a KiwiSaver scheme or a complying superannuation fund and have been for at least 3 years. A complying superannuation fund is an employer-based scheme that can offer some KiwiSaver benefits because it complies with KiwiSaver rules.

Funds must be used towards the purchase of a first home in New Zealand. They may be used to pay all or part of the deposit and/or for final settlement. You must intend to live in the home you are buying as your principal place of residence.

You must not have owned property before (except in limited circumstances – see ‘Previous home owners’ below). This includes bare land or a dwelling house on Māori land. You may apply for a withdrawal to buy a dwelling house on Māori land provided you include with your application evidence of your right to occupy the land, such as a licence to occupy or occupation order.

These eligibility criteria mirror the rules for the first-home withdrawal benefit available under the KiwiSaver Act 2006. They may change in future if these rules change.

KiwiSaver members

If you’re a member of KiwiSaver as well as PSS, you may be able to access funds from both schemes. You would need to make separate applications to each scheme. Your solicitor would then pool the funds for settlement.

Limits on withdrawal amounts

You will be able to access your savings in both your employer’s and member’s accounts less any processing fee and minimum to be retained under KiwiSaver rules (currently $1,000). However, if you have a charge registered against your account, the funds available may also be reduced (see 'Registered charges' below).

Funds will be withdrawn from your member’s account first with any remaining amount coming from your employer’s account.

Registered charges

If you have a charge registered against your account to the Police and Families Credit Union or another lender, the funds available may be reduced by an amount determined by the lender. A Discharge of registered charge form will need to be completed and returned. This process can take up to 5 working days so it should be factored into your timeframe.

Fee

An administration fee of $200 will be charged to your account if we consent to the application. This fee is subject to change.

Other benefits while in service

Applying for a first-home withdrawal doesn’t affect your eligibility for a partial withdrawal, in-service benefit or hardship benefit.

Applying for a first-home withdrawal

When the sale and purchase agreement has been signed, you need to complete a First-home withdrawal form and send it with accompanying documentation to Mercer. The documentation required includes:

  • completed First-home withdrawal form, including statutory declaration
  • a letter from your solicitor or conveyancing practitioner confirming the conditional/unconditional status of the offer
  • a deposit slip for your solicitor’s or conveyancing practitioner’s trust account
  • a copy of the sale and purchase agreement for the property you are purchasing (this should clearly show you as the purchaser)
  • evidence of KiwiSaver or complying superannuation fund membership (if you have been a member of PSS for less than 3 years).

Mercer needs to receive the documents at least 10 working days before the terms of settlement under the sale and purchase agreement.

Mercer will process the application with a view to making payment before settlement. Payments will be made to the trust account of your solicitor or conveyancing practitioner, not to your own bank account.

If the sale does not proceed, the payment made to your solicitor or conveyancing practitioner must be returned to Mercer. Mercer will credit the funds back to your accounts.

Previous home owners

From 1 March 2019, you may make a withdrawal to purchase a home as a previous home owner if your financial position in terms of assets and liabilities is what would be expected of a person who has never owned a home. We have adopted the Housing New Zealand criteria for eligibility under this category. Again, this creates consistency with benefits available under the KiwiSaver Act.

Currently the criteria are that you do not have realisable assets totalling more than 20% of the house price cap for the area you are buying in (see table below) The following are realisable assets:

  • Money in bank accounts (including fixed and term deposits).
  • Shares, stocks and bonds.
  • Investments in banks or financial institutions.
  • Any money paid to or held by the real estate agent or solicitor as a deposit on a home.
  • Boat or caravan (if the value is over $5,000).
  • Other vehicles not being used as your usual method of transport, such as classic motorbikes or cars.
  • Other assets valued over $5,000.

Price cap information table (applies only to previous home owner withdrawals)

 

House price cap for existing/older properties

Regional asset cap

 

Auckland City, Queenstown Lakes District

$600,000

$120,000

Hamilton City, Tauranga City, Bay of Plenty District, Kapiti Coast District, Porirua City, Upper Hutt City, Hutt City, Wellington City, Nelson City, Tasman District, Waimakariri District, Christchurch City, Selwyn District

$500,000

$100,000

 

Rest of New Zealand

$400,000

$80,000

First Home Grant

Check out the government's First Home Grant if you're looking to buy your first home. To qualify for a First Home Grant you'll need to have been contributing to the PSS (or a KiwiSaver scheme or complying superannuation fund) for three years or more. The grant is administered by Kāinga Ora–Homes and Communities (formerly Housing New Zealand) and does not come out of your PSS funds. You do not have to pay back the grant in most circumstances. Grants are subject to price caps, which vary geographically, and income caps.

Find out more about the First Home Grant.