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Focus on Health policies at all-party forum

Focus on Health policies at all-party forum

Grey Power will kick off its election strategy when it hosts a seven-party political public forum on health in Porirua next week. It will be one of the first community 2005 election-year forums.

The parties, including Labour, National, Greens, United Future, NZ First, the Maori Party and ACT, will join the panel to discuss and answer questions. The Mana-Tawa Grey Power Association is sponsoring the event scheduled for 1:30 pm next Tuesday (12 April) at the Porirua Club, Lodge Place in Porirua City.

Health Minister Annette King will be represented by Transport Minister Pete Hodgson, who is also Associate Minister for Health. Also attending are MP’s Sue Kedgley, Greens; Judy Turner, United Front; Barbara Stewart, NZ First; Heather Roy, Act; Dr Paul Hutchinson, National and Whatarangi Winiata, President of the Maori Party. Electorate MP Winnie Laban will be present.

Recently reported comments by Health Minister King regarding priority of commitments by elected District Health Board members drew sharp criticism from the National Grey Power Executive last week and local concerns are certain to be put to Mr. Hodgson.

Mana-Tawa is one of more than 75 Gray Power Associations throughout the country. They have earned a reputation for hosting successful political forums.

Last February Winston Peters addressed an overflow crowd on Superannuation. Six months before that, the Association hosted a forum for Porirua City mayoral candidates. “I am certain the forum influenced the outcome of that election,” says Association President Killian deLacy. “I’m hoping there will be a candid and open exchange of views next week, not just from the party representatives, but from members of the community. We need to let the politicians know what our concerns are.” The Mana-Tawa Association will hold at least two more political forums before the election: Law and Order, in June, and Retirement Homes and Asset Testing, in August.

“Good accessibility to health care is a particularly important issue for retired and elderly New Zealanders,” noted Grey Power Zone Director Peter Rutledge. “I think it is probably an important issue for everyone. Grey Power is often the first to raise issues that affect the whole community. It may have something to do with our wide representation, as well as our many years of experience with government promises.”

NZ Grey Power Federation has an active membership of more than 84,000 over-fifties, and is recognised as a leading support organization for many of the three-quarters of a million retired New Zealanders.

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