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Labour Fails To Honour Its Pledge To Senior NZers

NZ Greypower Federation Press Release: 16 July 2002

Labour Fails To Honour Its Pledge To Senior New Zealanders - Grey Power

"By refusing to honour her famous 1999 pledge card promise to reverse National's cuts to superannuation, Prime Minister Helen Clark has betrayed the most vulnerable 12 per cent of New Zealanders," a Grey Power spokesman said today.

"Legislation by the Labour-led coalition government has lowered the married couple's superannuation rate to 65 per cent of average weekly wages" says Grey Power superannuation spokesman Frank Moloney. "This is the lowest long-term payment to superannuitants in more than two decades representing a weekly cut of about $18 in New Zealand superannuation for married couples and about $12 for single superannuitants.

"Six months after the 1999 election, the newly-elected Labour government restored superannuation rates to a level marginally above 67 per cent, the minimal amount necessary to honour that election pledge. Two years later, the same government cut superannuation rates lower than ever, and within a very short time will bring hundreds of thousands of elderly New Zealanders down to a poverty level existence.

"Are we to assume the Prime Minister's election pledge is only a short-term desperate bid to win the votes of the growing numbers of older citizens?"

"It is vital that retired New Zealanders preserve their entitlement to government-funded superannuation with payment levels which provide not only the essentials of existing, but also ensure their continued participation in the normal activities within their community," says Mr Moloney.

"Maintaining the floor-level of the wage band at 65% of the average weekly wage will not meet the increasing costs of day-to-day living. It is an act of betrayal that will alienate many thousands of retired people from the very society they spent their lives to build. This broken pledge by Prime Minister Helen Clark is indicative of the many failed promises made to older voters by a number of successive governments," says Mr Moloney.


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