Golden Card For A Golden Age
Monday 11 April 2005
Golden Card For A Golden Age
A “golden age card” for people over 65 is a feature of the New Zealand First policy for senior citizens announced by Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters today.
The new electronic card will record the holder’s entitlements and guarantee the following:
- A retirement income that will
never fall below 65 percent of the Net Average Wage for
married couples and incrementally move towards 72.5
- A comprehensive review of the method by which superannuation is calculated to overcome historical anomalies.
- A rise in the April 2006 adjustment to 68 percent of the Net Average Wage, for married couples. This is an increase of $18 a week for couples. Singles will rise by just over $10 a week.
- Change the rebate for non-qualified spouses to bring it into line with the widows and domestic purposes benefits.
- Reduced medical and pharmaceutical costs for senior citizens irrespective of location.
- Transport concessions which will make public transport travel more affordable for senior citizens.
- Reduced line charges for power, gas and telephones.
- Savings incentives through generous interest rate schemes for seniors through New Zealand owned financial institutions.
- Raise the level of rates rebates available and the qualifying income and require local authorities to publicise this scheme on rate demands.
- A voluntary discount scheme where the private sector is encouraged to provide enhanced services to our valued senior citizens.
In addition to the golden age card New Zealand First will address other areas of serious concern for senior citizens.
- More funding for the eldercare sector, including specific funding ring-fenced for the wages of caregivers in the sector.
- A review of the size, structure and location of the future demands of the eldercare sector to ensure appropriate forward planning for our ageing population.
- Assure equity of access to health and disabilities services by removing income and asset testing for older people needing long stay geriatric hospital care and removing asset testing for long stay geriatric private hospital care.
- Implement and enforce national standards for geriatric home care.
- Provide more funds and reduced waiting times for elective surgery.
- Ensure that senior citizens receive greater recognition for the thousands of hours of voluntary services they perform in the community and provide opportunities for paid contributions that do not affect their superannuation payments.
- Ensure that where grandparents provide for their grandchildren under circumstances similar to foster care they receive appropriate benefits.
- Review the renewal of drivers licence process, with a view to making it fairer, more cost effective and more applicable to the age of those being tested.
Mr Peters said that after years of deception over superannuation levels by other parties New Zealand First was committed to providing a better future for senior citizens.
“Governments cannot protect citizens from all the vicissitudes of life, but there are some things that the state can provide such as a basic income that allows older people to live in dignity and comfort.
“We want this golden age card to become a universal symbol of the value of our seniors.”
Mr Peters said the estimated cost of the policies would be nominally around $700million but in reality much less because the money would be spent in the local economy.
“We know how to fund this. It represents just over 0.6 percent of present government spending, “said Mr Peters.
“The size of the bureaucracy has exploded since Labour came to office, with much of this involved in politically correct claptrap and it can be eliminated.”
“We have deliberately not gone into Labour’s big surplus to pay for our seniors policy. Instead, we intend trimming a little government fat and redirect and reprioritise some spending more effectively to get a better outcome for all.
“This policy announced today shows there is still one party in Parliament that cares about senior citizens,” said Mr Peters.