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Govt is not removing asset testing

Govt is not removing asset testing

The Government is raising the asset testing threshold for older people in care instead of removing asset testing as it is claiming in an announcement today, says National Senior Citizens Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

"Labour is leaving the legislation in place which means older people in long-term residential care will still be asset and income tested to assess what part of their assets can be used to pay for their care.

"All they have done is raise the level of what you can keep, Raising the exemption threshold by $10,000 each year after that will not remove asset testing - it will barely keep up with inflation and appreciation of assets.

"This will be the third time Labour has used this issue as a cynical election carrot.

"Labour's promised through two election campaigns that it would remove asset testing, and the changes to the threshold announced today won't even happen until 2005.

"National raised the threshold level in 1998 to $45,000, also exempting a car and house if one of a couple was in care, and raised it to $15,000 if a single person was in care. After five years these thresholds needed to be raised.

"We believe adjusting the threshold is fair. We have done this in the past.

"However no one should be left under any illusion that asset testing has been removed. To say it has is pure Government spin," Dr Scott said.

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