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Govt reverses asset testing policy for aged care

25 May 2012

Govt reverses asset testing policy for aged care

An increased number of older New Zealanders will pay more for their residential aged care as a result of changes hidden in the budget, the Green Party said today.

“The Government is scrapping the current asset testing phase out programme and is locking in current asset testing levels,” said Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague.

"The changes mean someone who has been responsibly planning for their retirement assuming that they would receive Government assistance for their care may now find themselves left out in the cold.

“The Government has dug a fiscal hole for itself and is now asking older New Zealanders to lose their assets to help pay for unaffordable tax cuts for the rich.

“The overall health budget spend is well below previous increases. Changes to the asset testing policy are clear cuts to the support we offer older New Zealanders. It is a disgrace.

“The ten thousand dollar incremental phase outs each year were established as a way of progressively removing asset testing entirely. This move locks asset testing in place.

“This policy change means more people will be asset tested and therefore see the value of their assets diminish, denying them the opportunity to move back to their own home or pass on their assets to family and friends.

“We don’t asset test for any other care. To strip older New Zealanders of their assets in order to receive care later in life is exploitative and discriminatory.

“National didn't campaign on this policy change at the 2011 election, and has given no hint of it in the months since. Bill English didn’t even bother to mention it in his budget speech.

“The Government is reversing the country's policy on asset testing for aged residential care without any notice or any opportunity for the public to comment.

“It is undemocratic that this major change was passed in a rush through Parliament today with no scrutiny or chance for older New Zealanders to have a say.

“The Government has no mandate on this issue,” said Mr Hague.

ends

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