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Progress For Older New Zealanders

3 July 2002

Jim Anderton, Leader

Jim Anderton announced Progressive Coalition policies for older New Zealanders today. These include phasing out income and asset testing on rest care, free GPs visits and continuing support for publicly provided superannuation.

“We will be in Government one of our cornerstone commitments will be progress for older New Zealanders.

“We will progressively remove asset and income testing for geriatric care, by progressively raising levels of assets and income exempt from testing.

“We would raise the asset threshold by $20,000 a year so that within four years the average family home would be exempted. Within eight years, asset testing would have been totally removed.

“This will need to be phased in because to remove all asset testing in one hit would cost at least as much as $250 million and could be as high as $400 million.

“The Progressive Coalition is also committed to maintaining, and where appropriate improving, current levels of rest home subsidy.

“We will be working for free GP visits for superannuitants.

“This will cost over $50 million but will make a huge difference in the lives of New Zealanders who have already made a significant contribution to our communities.

“The Progressive Coalition is committed to the Coalition Government’s Superannuation Fund as it recognises NZ Superannuation should be universally available in recognition of people’s contributions to New Zealand during their active working lives.

“The fund should be sufficient so that the married couple superannuation rate is fixed at 65 and 72.5 per cent of average ordinary time weekly earnings after tax.

“The Progressive Coalition wants to have a regular survey to ensure the living standards of older New Zealanders are maintained,” said Jim Anderton.

“If I retain the confidence of Wigram voters then every vote for the Progressive Coalition will mean more MPs in the next Government and these policies,” said Jim Anderton.

The progressive Coalition has already announced a winter energy subsidy of around $15 a month for superannuitants, beneficiaries and those on low incomes.

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