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Govt Commits U-turn to Buy Votes of the Retired


Govt Commits U-turn to Buy Votes of the Retired

Friday 22nd Jun 2001 Ken Shirley Media Release -- Health

Documents released to ACT under the Official Information Act show that the Government ignored advice and even overturned one of its own Cabinet decisions in deciding to waive the Community Service Card threshold for 1270 superannuitants, ACT Health Spokesman Ken Shirley said.

“These papers quite clearly demonstrate that this Government is desperate to buy the votes of superannuitants – a huge electoral target for them – while ignoring the plight of 48,000 of the working poor who were left out in the cold.

“As is becoming typical for this Government, this decision was against advice from officials – in this case both the Ministry of Health and the Treasury.

“The papers show that last year Cabinet had accepted officials’ advice that there was no justification for the thresholds for CSC to be greater for superannuitants than for other age groups and that income should remain the essential determinant for eligibility.

“And yet less than a year later, fearing that they would lose the support of this key group of voters, the Government changed its mind.

“The Minister of Health was so embarrassed by her defeat on this issue that in her final urgent paper to Cabinet she refused to include dissenting Treasury comment.

“This was a selfish political decision, that clinically ignored the working poor. These papers show that the Minister of Health is increasingly out of step with the rest of the Government and is becoming a huge embarrassment,” Ken Shirley said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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