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Asset Test Threshold For Aged Care Subsidy Changed

Changes to the asset threshold level tests for subsidized aged residential care were passed into law under urgency in Parliament on Friday.

The Social Security (Long-term Residential Care-Budget Measures) Amendment Bill changes the asset thresholds used in determining the amount residents in aged residential care have to contribute to the cost of their care.

The adjustment to the aged residential care exemption moves it from a flat increase of $10,000 a year to an annual inflation adjustment.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said the bill was a priority to make aged residential care viable in the long term.

Opposition MPs accused the Government of sneaking in the changes which would make rest homes and other aged care facilities more expensive, more quickly for more people.

The bill passed its third reading by 64 to 54 with National, Maori Party, ACT and United Future supporting.

The Government also completed the first reading of the Customs and Excise (Tobacco Products-Budget Measures) Amendment Bill and sent it to the

This bill amends the Customs and Excise Act 1996 to make cumulative 10 percent increases to the duties on all tobacco products at the beginning of each of the next four years.

The bill was sent to the Finance and Expenditure Committee for consideration to be reported back by Sept 26 and the House adjourned just after 5pm.

Earlier the Taxation (Budget Measures) Bill completed all stages with votes of National, Maori Party, ACT and United Future supporting.

This bill amongst other things abolishes 3 tax credits: the transitional tax credit (also known as the income under $9,880 tax credit), the housekeepers tax credit, and the children’s active income tax credit. These reforms apply for the current 2012-13 and later tax years.

Opposition MPs also mocked the Government for repealing subsidies to encourage earlier student loan repayments just three years after they introduced the scheme.

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