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New KiwiBank product to help retirees

Hon Jim Anderton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity
Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education

Progressive Leader

22 February 2008

New KiwiBank product to help retirees

KiwiBank is to respond to the needs of older New Zealanders by launching a “reloadable” credit card, Progressive Party leader Jim Anderton announced today.

Jim Anderton told a meeting of the Horowhenua Grey Power Association in Levin that one of the issues that has worried Greypower members and himself over the years has been retired New Zealanders not being able to get a credit card.

“A lot of retirees don’t want one - but if you want to make airline bookings on the Internet or stay at a hotel when you are on holiday, then a credit card is essential.

“The problem is - banks keep saying that if your only income is your superannuation, you don't earn enough to have a card. I think that is ridiculous and assumes that people can't budget in order to manage their finances.”

Jim Anderton said KiwiBank had made a number of changes to its policy for credit cards after representations from Greypower.

“But now I understand they have something new they are about to announce with New Zealand Post that will appeal to many older New Zealanders. They will be launching a reloadable credit card. It will use your money - not money borrowed from the bank.

“It is a variation on NZ Post’s Prezzie card that operates now, but with this card you can top it up, not use it then throw it away.”

Jim Anderton said the card would be excellent for people on low incomes who have been denied a conventional credit card and for people who don't like using borrowed money at all.

“With this card, it is your money to use as you like and you can put more money on the card if and when you like.

“I understand it will operate through Visa and so can be used anywhere Visa can be used.”

Jim Anderton said he was pleased with the progress KiwiBank has made.

600,000 New Zealanders have now joined up, after six years of operation, and it is still growing at about 1500 to 2000 new customers a week.

“It has more than seven billion dollars of deposits and loans. And the bank is making a profit. It will declare a profit of $40 million this year - that’s half of what it cost us to open it - in just one year!

“So it’s paying for itself, even before we look at the economic advantages to New Zealand of not sending those profits overseas.

“The KiwiBank story shows that smaller parties can make a real difference to the flavour of a government.

“The Progressive Party generally goes along with the direction and content of Labour in government. That is why we stand and fall as a committed coalition partner with them.

“But MMP also gives us the opportunity not only to support the direction of the government but also to emphasise our own priorities.”

Jim Anderton said the Progressive Party would be emphasising several policies that distinguish it from Labour this year – drug policy, free tertiary study, and affordable housing.

“And, like KiwiBank, they are possible if we can win the support of New Zealanders for them.”

ENDS

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