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Brash eyes return of asset testing for older NZers

11 August 2005 Media Statement

Brash eyes return of asset testing for older NZers

Don Brash has raised the spectre of a return to National's much-hated asset testing regime for older New Zealanders just weeks after Labour began phasing it out, says Associate Minister of Health Pete Hodgson.

"Dr Brash has given a very clear signal that he doesn't like universal healthcare provision. It follows that he would re-introduce means testing for aged residential care," said Pete Hodgson.

National introduced asset testing for older New Zealanders last time it was in office, forcing many older New Zealanders to sell their family homes in order to receive care.

"Don Brash has once again made his ideological position quite clear by once again backing a return to a user pays system based on asset testing. His approach captures cheaper doctors visits, prescription charges and hospital services, as well as aged residential care."


Labour's policy to remove asset testing for older New Zealanders in residential care

From 1 July 2005 single people and couples with both partners in care will be able to keep up to $150,000 in assets, including both property and savings, before their assets are used to contribute to the cost of their care – up from $15,000 and $30,000 respectively.

Couples where one partner is in care will retain their current exemptions of a house and car and their cash asset exemption will rise from $45,000 to $55,000. Alternatively, they can choose to be tested against the $150,000 threshold for total assets.

The asset testing regime will continue to be phased out with the government increasing exemption thresholds by $10,000 a year from 2006.

Honouring this commitment to older New Zealanders will cost $93 million in 2005/06.

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