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National committed to security, wellbeing of older NZers

Hon Craig Foss
National Party
Spokesman for Senior Citizens

17 November 2011 Media Statement
National committed to security, wellbeing of older NZers
National will continue to ensure older New Zealanders get the high-quality financial security, responsive justice system and healthcare services they deserve, says Senior Citizens spokesman Craig Foss.

“National is committed to maintaining the married rate of Super at 66 per cent of the average after-tax wage – and we also promise that, on our watch, the age of eligibility will remain at 65.

“Over the past three years, National’s strong economic management has ensured all rates of New Zealand Superannuation are growing regularly. Since 2008, the married rate has gone up by $166 a fortnight, and the single living alone rate rose by almost $110,” says Mr Foss.

“In addition, we have increased funding for the Super Gold Card public transport scheme by $9 million, and signed reciprocal arrangements with Australian State and Territorial governments so seniors can get commercial discounts when travelling in either country.

“Our across-the-board tax cuts also mean there’s more money in the pockets of older New Zealanders.

“We’ve invested more in frontline health services, so hospitals are focused on priority areas like elective surgeries and shorter waiting times for patients. In addition, we have raised the bar for rest home care standards. We’ve also put more Police on the streets, and we’re cracking down on violent crime and elder abuse,” says Mr Foss.

‘We will continue to focus on older New Zealanders’ health and wellbeing. National will set a minimum standard for the quality of care home and community support providers must deliver for older New Zealanders, no matter where they are or who they work with.

“We’re committed to cutting the waiting time for elective surgery from six to four months by the end of 2014, while making sure an extra 4000 people a year receive the surgery they need.

“We will also make sure emergency patients, patients waiting for important tests and cancer patients face much shorter waiting times. Currently, all cancer patients ready for radiation treatment are receiving it within the world gold standard time of four weeks, and we will expand that to include chemotherapy patients.

“The number of aged-care nurses in the Voluntary Bonding Scheme will grow – we already have 1800 doctors, nurses and midwives signed up to work in regions and specialties where there are shortages, like aged care,” says Mr Foss.

“National will also encourage the Police to work closely with partner organisations, like Age Concern, to share information and improve response to elder abuse. Closer agency relationships and better information sharing will mean older New Zealanders will get higher-quality support.

“The stronger, more sustainable economic growth National will deliver is the only way older New Zealanders will enjoy the financial security and brighter future they deserve,” say Mr Foss.

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