Jo Goodhew: SuperGold Card translated factsheet launch
29 October, 2013
Speech: SuperGold Card translated factsheet launch
E aku rangatira, tēnā koutou katoa. Ka nui te honore ki te mihi ki a koutou.
And, given the reason we are all here, I would like to also say – nǐ hǎo, namaste, namaskar, annyeong, talofa, mālō e lelei.
In short – welcome!
Thank you Blair, our MC. I would also like to welcome Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy, and a special mention to Mervin Singham, Director of The Office of Ethnic Affairs. Your office does great work, as you say, helping our increasingly culturally diverse nation learn to “celebrate our differences and take comfort from our similarities”.
And just aside, while we are all gathered here together, I would like to thank Mervin for his passion and dedication over the last eight years. My congratulations on your new position as a Deputy Chief Executive of the Strategy and Governance branch within the Department of Internal Affairs.
I acknowledge my colleagues who have joined us today, Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi and Alfred Ngaro, and Rajen Prasad from Labour.
As you well know, Auckland is home to a growing number of ethnicities. So we are here to celebrate cultural diversity as we launch these newly translated SuperGold Card factsheets.
For the first time these sheets are now available in Chinese – both simplified and traditional – Hindi, Gujurati, Punjabi, Korean, Tongan and Samoan. These eight languages have been selected as they are the languages spoken by the largest ethnic groups in Auckland.
These translated factsheets explain exactly who is eligible for a SuperGold Card – so essentially, that’s any New Zealand resident aged 65 and over. The sheets also explain how you get a card and – importantly – what these cards can be used for.
Now, I wish I could lay claim to the idea of translating the factsheets as my own, but it was one of those great ideas that come from listening to people in the community.
In this case it was Volunteer Community Co-ordinator Chong Bao Hu who suggested we translated these forms so more older Aucklanders could understand what SuperGold Cards were all about. Unfortunately Chong couldn’t be here today, he’s off on a holiday until the end of the month. Lucky him!
We have several Volunteer Community Co-ordinators here with us today – this group works with the Office for Senior Citizens and are a part of a national network. VCCs dedicate their time to promoting positive ageing in the community and advising me, as the Minister for Senior Citizens, on issues that affect older people.
So thank you Chong Bao Hu, I’m glad that you spoke up. And a thank you to all of our other VCCs – if you have any other suggestions I’d be happy to hear them!
We all got ourselves here today using different means of transport, if you’re lucky enough to have a SuperGold Card, I certainly hope you used it! As these now translated fact sheets explain – SuperGold Card holders in Auckland can travel for free on public transport after 9am on weekdays and all day on weekends and public holidays.
Those concession trips are funded by the government, and I’m proud and happy to say the government is super supportive of the SuperGold Card. To keep pace with the increasing numbers of SuperGold Card holders, the Government upped funding for the SuperGold Card transport concessions for 2013/2014.
And cardholders are certainly benefiting from that funding. From the time the free concessions were introduced in October 2008, to June this year, SuperGold Card holders took around 46.5 million trips. And a little over half of all those trips were taken here in Auckland.
Auckland’s our largest city, so that’s perhaps not so surprising – but it does show the importance of making sure Aucklanders who are eligible for the SuperGold Card can get the full use of their cards.
The other important fact about Auckland – one that Mervin well knows – is that Auckland is far and away our most ethnically diverse city.
In fact, the 2006 Census showed that 40-per cent of Aucklanders were not born in New Zealand.
Auckland has the world’s largest Polynesian population. Also, over the past 15 years, people from Asian countries have made up a growing proportion of brand new Aucklanders.
Many organisations around this city are already responding to the changing demographic – I know the city’s libraries, for example, are increasing the number of books in other languages on their shelves.
We are always looking at ways to get more people participating and making use of the SuperGold programme and we want all SuperGold Card holders to know they can get on a train or a bus during certain hours and ride for free.
Access to transport is so important for older people, and any barriers to travel must be broken down. You’ll know how important it is for older New Zealanders to stay connected to their friends and family. Research from the United Kingdom shows loneliness carries a similar health risk to smoking 15 cigarettes each day! You know how easy it can be to become isolated at home if getting out and about becomes too hard – or too expensive.
That cannot happen. I will not let that happen. And that’s where the SuperGold Card comes in. It’s my mission to make all older New Zealanders – whoever is eligible for a SuperGold Card – fully aware of the full value of their little gold card. That, of course, includes people who may not easily read English.
And it comes at the right time, because that gold card is now worth more to older New Zealanders than ever before.
The SuperGold Card has gone from strength to strength. Like any good discount system, the more businesses that come on board the better, so I’m also out there, cheerleading for the card and encouraging businesses to offer a SuperGold discount.
And it seems to be working! In fact, in the past 18 months or so, the number of businesses offering discounts has nearly quadrupled.
There are now 10-thousand business outlets across the country that offer discounts to SuperGold Card holders.
Not only is this a good way for businesses to show older New Zealanders that they’re valued, it’s also smart business.
Earlier this month I launched two documents to do with older New Zealanders, both analysing what it’s like to be aged 65 or older in this country – and what it’s likely to be like in the future.
One of those – an update on 2011 The Business of Ageing report – looks 40 years into the future. The document’s projections indicated very clearly that the older generations now and in the future will be wealthier than any previous older generation.
That makes them an important consumer group.
By offering discounts to SuperGold card holders, business people will be doing the right thing – in giving discounts to people who have contributed so much over the years – but those discounts will also attract more cardholders to spend their money with them. Now, that’s smart business.
These translated factsheets we are launching today are about recognising and celebrating the cultural diversity of Auckland.
They are about saying to all of Auckland’s older population “you are worth something to us” – it’s about saying “we appreciate you”.
I’m happy to say that’s something I’ve been saying all month!
I’ve had a fantastic October. This month feels like it’s been one long celebration of older people. It started with the International Day of Older Persons on the first of this month.
Actually, for me it started even before that when, in late September, I was in Cambridge celebrating older people with a community walk that attracted about one thousand walkers! What a great day that was!
All through this month it’s been fantastic to see older people the subject of such positive attention.
The SuperGold Card has been a major part of that and I’ve loved seeing so many businesses trumpeting their support, showing off their SuperGold Card stickers and posters.
These factsheets will ensure that even more people can use their cards. After all, there is no point offering a fantastic – super – discount card if an increasing proportion of the people who are eligible to use it don’t know how to.
But as I say, these translated factsheets will help fix that!
Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.