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Older New Zealanders secure big gains

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister for Senior Citizens

Older New Zealanders secure big gains

Older New Zealanders will benefit greatly from a range of initiatives in this year’s budget, Senior Citizens Minister Ruth Dyson said today.

"Budget 2007 provides the largest-ever investment in care and support of the elderly with $150 million over four years invested in residential care and another $81.2 million in helping them stay in their own homes if they wish," said Ruth Dyson

"We are building on last year's budget, which introduced a fair travel policy for home-based carers, and are continuing efforts to raise pay levels in the aged care sector while providing quality care and positive choices for older people.

"Older and disabled people will get a further $6 million over the next four years for respite services, building on the existing investment of the past year. The money helps to give both carers and clients a break from their living situation.

"From 1 April this year more than half a million older New Zealanders have been better off due to increases in Superannuation and Veterans Pensions. Single superannuitants living alone receive an extra $13.16 every week and couples, an extra $20.24 a week.

"This is a result of benefits indexation and the Labour-led government's agreement with New Zealand First to ensure Superannuation and Veteran Pension rates are not less than 66 per cent of the net average weekly wage.

As part of this package, the income thresholds for abatement of both the Disability Allowance and the Community Services Card were increased to ensure no superannuitants and veteran's pensioners would lose their eligibility to these entitlements. This represents total expenditure of $280.7 million from 2006/07 to 2010/11.

"All caregivers who receive an Unsupported Child’s Benefit, Orphan’s Benefit or Foster Care Allowance receive an additional $10 per week, per child, to their weekly payments from 1 April this year. This increase provides enhanced support for family caregivers such as grandparents and recognises their value to children who cannot be looked after by their parents. This increase aligns the payments with the increases to Family Support payments."

ENDS


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