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Your Guardians – New Zealand First

1 September 2005

An address by Rt Hon Winston Peters to members of Kapiti Grey Power on Thursday, 01 September 2005, at the Southward Car Museum, Otaihanga Road, 10am

Your Guardians – New Zealand First

Two things have become crystal clear as this election has unfolded.

The first is that the lolly scramble and open auction that the two tired old parties are conducting this election has not been extended to our senior citizens.

To them you are an “after thought”.

You are the group that Labour and National try and give the smallest amount possible with the view that you will be grateful for any crumbs that they throw your way.

But you deserve better.

So lets look at what they have to offer.

Labour is offering more joint, hip and cataract operations. But about 40,000 less than is required.

But this is not new – they offered it to you last time.

Ask yourselves this question - have your waiting lists gone down or up?

You see they have simply regurgitated the same old promises.

Labour has also offered a rates rebate scheme – again one that already exists.

Unlike New Zealand First, which ensures you will get your rebate automatically through our Golden Age Card, Labour will hide it away with bureaucratic red tape.

Now they are also claiming to be putting extra money into elder care.

Well, we have been reliably informed by Healthcare Providers New Zealand – the group which is running a campaign for an injection of funding into this sector – that not only is there nowhere near enough money going in, but that it is at the discretion of DHBs whether they spend it on the elder care sector or not.

This just is not good enough.

So what does National offer you?

Well, they are claiming that their proposed tax cuts will benefit you – but they haven’t been quite honest.

You see they are say that married couples will be better off by about $10 a week because they will scrap the carbon tax.

But here’s the thing.

The carbon tax doesn’t exist yet – it is only a Labour party proposal (supported by the Greens I might add) at this stage.

And this is typical of National – they are offering you a tax cut on a tax that doesn’t actually exist yet.

And sadly Ladies and Gentlemen – that is it from the two old parties.

But here is what they are not telling you – their secret agendas.

You see it is not just what they are telling you that you have to worry about – it is what they are not saying.

If you thought Labour’s gender-bending agenda ended with gay marriage and legalised prostitution, think again.

If they get to form a government with the fruit loop Greens, then these silly policies will be just the tip of the iceberg.

You’ll see adoption for gay couples, legalised marijuana, compulsory mediation, everybody consigned to bikes instead of cars and that’s all before lunchtime.

And it is worth noting on these matters that National’s leadership offers you little better when it comes to values.

Don’t forget that Don Brash voted to legalise prostitution and the gay marriage law at different stages.

In fact, there was only one vote that decided the prostitution Bill – Brash’s vote.

Those are your grandchildren he ensured had prostitution as a career option.

Had he voted the other way, as New Zealand First did, the law would never have passed.

So there is some irony for our seniors that this election is being portrayed as a choice between Helen who apparently knows best, and Don who thinks he knows better.

We actually think you know best – and we are willing to ask your opinion on important issues.

And I would remind you of the famous quote by John F Kennedy, "Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names."

You must never forget the names of Ruth Richardson and Roger Douglas, and Roger Kerr – “the three R’s”.

You must never forget the hurt they inflicted on you – our valued seniors.

It is these same culprits who orchestrated Brash’s rise to National’s leadership.

Do you seriously think you can trust National again which these people pulling the strings behind the scenes.

You must never forget the broken promises of “no ifs, no buts, no maybes” over the superannuation surcharge from National.

Now the second thing which is clear from this campaign is that the only real guardians that seniors have are New Zealand First.

Our seniors policy – including the Golden Aged Card – is the most comprehensive and worthwhile package for seniors this election.

But there is a problem – it seems that some among your number, after initially seeing the value of supporting New Zealand First, have fallen for the lies of Labour that our package is not affordable.

Well let me put that to rest once and for all.

This package was affordable when we outlined it, and it is even more affordable now.

Let me put it to you this way.

The hidden chest of secret money that Labour unveiled with its student loans policy and then its extension of working for families – well just a fraction of this would cover the cost of our Golden Age Card package.

When we launched our Golden Age Card earlier this year we told you it was our pledge card to you in return for your party vote at the next election.
That offer still stands – but I would make this point. You must vote on mass to give us the bargaining power to make it a reality.

There are nearly 500,000 seniors in New Zealand. That is a large voting block.
Vote together – and we promise you that you will get your Golden Aged Card.
Let me remind you briefly what it contains.

We will raise the rate of superannuation for married couples to 68 percent of the Net Average Wage in the adjustment period in April next year. That is when you are due for the next rise.

Our increase will mean an extra $20 a week for married couples and just over $10 dollars a week for those who are single.

We will then take significant steps beyond this.

First we will set in place a process to take the rate of superannuation to the maximum 72.5 per cent of the net average wage.

We cannot do this in one large step – but we can over time.

The days of 65 percent being both the floor and the ceiling for superannuation will be over.

We will also change the iniquitous situation that couples find themselves in when one partner is under the age of 65.

New Zealand First will ensure that the non-qualified spouse is issued with a gold card which will give them the same income rebate as widows.

We will also undertake to conduct a thorough review of the issue of the portability of those receiving international pensions. This is complex, but can be rectified.

The card guarantees access to affordable healthcare for seniors whether or not they attend a Primary Health Organisation and greater subsidies on prescriptions.

We aim to eliminate the discrepancy in the fees charges for GP visits by seniors.

This Golden Age Card will also act a smartcard which will ensure that rather than having to fill out forms, all the relevant information will be transferred with the card each time it is swiped at a doctor’s visit.

This will include all current entitlements that you might have through a community service card and that the full impact of the subsidy for doctors’ visits are passed on in reduced costs.

We will also ensure that all benefits related to medicines are continued on the card and that any additional discounts are passed on through the card.
The next item on the card is transport concessions.

We know that in some places they are already in place, but we want to extend these and make them universally available.

The next point on the card is one of great concern to many elderly - the cost of essential utilities such as power, gas and telephone services.

We think it is outrageous that these utility companies make multi-million dollar profits, pay exorbitant wages to their management, while many New Zealanders cannot afford to pay their bills because of huge price hikes.
We commit to reducing these costs for those over 65.

Another significant concern is the substantial rise in the cost of rates.
Put simply, they are out of control as local councils put up the rates at a much faster pace than incomes go up.

As a consequence we will extend the rates rebate scheme for those over 65 and we will make it automatically part of your card

We will also be addressing GST on rates especially those components of the rates bill that are clearly not specific services such as water or rubbish collection.

The last point is the discount schemes available to our seniors.
While groups such as Grey Power have done a marvellous job in securing discounts among various businesses, these are dependent on the strength of Grey Power in that area and are not universally available.

We want this Golden Age card to become a universal symbol of the value of our seniors and for businesses to treat them as such, irrespective of where they live.

We do not seek to undermine the good work of Grey Power and others in this respect, but to enhance and build on it.

Another area which needs addressing, but which is not part of the Golden Age Card, is the rapidly declining state of our elder care sector.
This government’s treatment of the sector is a disgrace.

We will dramatically increase funding in this sector and ring-fence some of it to raise the wages of those working in the sector.

New Zealand First will also look at the make up of the sector, the size, scale and location of this type of care.

We are committed to putting a plan in place to cater for our ageing population.
Now I want to make this point as plain and clear as I can.

Take a good hard look at this Golden Age Card – if we are not there in sufficient force following the election then this will be the last time you will see it for some time.

If we are there – in a few months you will be receiving one from Work and Income in the mail and will be able to actively use it.
The choice is yours – you control your destiny on this matter.
We have the policies – but only you can make them a reality.

Our Seniors policy is one of five we are making a priority this election.

We believe these other four priority policies matter to seniors also.

Our Law and Order policy will ensure more police on the beat.

Our Immigration policy will ensure we let in those we need and keep threats out.

Our Treaty policy, which we did not have to borrow from anybody, ensures that race will never determine the delivery of government services and that the Treaty gravy train is derailed.

Our economic plan ensures that it is New Zealanders who own our assets and land, that petrol prices are lower, and that wages are higher, while business taxes are lower.

These are all good for seniors and they are good for New Zealand.
That is why New Zealand First is your choice for change.

This is an election – so I make this simple promise.
If you give us your party vote we will provide a golden future.

ENDS


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