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Day of the Older Person - free off peak travel

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister for Senior Citizens

1 October 2008 Media Statement

International Day of the Older Person celebrated with free off peak travel

Embargoed until 12.30am. 1 October


Free off-peak travel, better subsidies for hearing aids and tax cuts boosting superannuation will provide senior citizens with even more reasons to celebrate International Day of the Older Person today.

Ruth Dyson, Minister for Senior Citizens, said the range of benefits offered extra support and reflected the government’s commitment to helping New Zealanders.

From 1 October 2008 public transport will become more attractive for around 530,000 SuperGold Card holders as they can access free off-peak travel through most regional councils around the country. SuperGold Card holders who show their cards will be able to travel for free on public transport from 9am to 3pm and from 6.30pm onwards on weekdays, and anytime on weekends and public holidays. [see attached for more details]

"Subsidies for new hearing aids rise today from $198 to $500 while the personal tax cuts will increase superannuation payments for married couples by $45.88 per fortnight and singles by $23.84," said Ms Dyson.

"These initiatives recognise their importance and the contribution senior citizens make to society.

"They also form part of the Government’s action plan to improve the lives of older New Zealanders. The latest report of the New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy shows Government and community partnerships are delivering practical initiatives helping people to age positively in their community.

"Actions planned for the 2008-2010 period include huge investment by both central and local government to improve insulation in older peoples homes, legislation to make the Home Equity Code of Practice mandatory and research on the role of grandparents in New Zealand," said Ms Dyson.

ENDS


Notes to editor:
During peak hours, SuperGold Card holders will have to pay for public transport.

SuperGold Card holders should contact their regional councils to find out what services are offered in their areas.

The creation of the SuperGold Card was part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement between Labour and New Zealand First signed after the last election.

The regions ready to roll out free off-peak travel on 1 October are: Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Manawatu/Wanganui, Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury, Otago and Southland. Northland, Taranaki and Marlborough are expected to be ready to roll out the concessions from 1 November. The West Coast does not have applicable public transport and NZTA will be undertaking further discussion with the West Coast Regional Council.

For more information on the SuperGold Card call 0800 25 45 65 or visit www.supergold.govt.nz.

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