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Elderly need strong coalition partner in Govt.

News Release: 5 June 2005

“Elderly need strong coalition partner to keep Government honest” - Grey Power

“Every voter in New Zealand should use their party vote to secure a strong coalition partner to keep the government of their choice honest,” says Grey Power superannuation spokesman Don Robertson.

“This is especially true for the retired and elderly voter dependant on superannuation,” Mr. Robertson says.

Speaking from his home in Palmerston North, the national board member and chair of the superannuation portfolio says Grey Power has lobbied and campaigned for an increase in the level of New Zealand superannuation for two and a half years.

“The Minister of Finance has consistently rejected our claim, and disputed the need for an increase in superannuation which fails to meet the Minister’s own requirement in his New Zealand Superannuation Act, 2001,” Mr. Robertson says.

“Mr Cullen initially ‘poo-pooed’ the work by NZS researcher Frank Moloney, economist Petrus Simons and others, demonstrating that the benchmark level of superannuation paid to each individual in a marriage where both were entitled to the retirement benefit, was falling below the base level of 32.5% of the Nett Average After Tax Ordinary Time Weekly Wage (NAATOTWW), set by Mr. Cullen four years ago.

“The major coalition parties, New Zealand First, Progressive and United Future support Grey Power in its bid for a progressive increase in New Zealand superannuation, and even the Minister of Finance now agrees with these figures.” says Mr. Robertson.

“When the Labour Alliance Coalition gained office, it promised to overcome the ravaging of superannuation by Jenny Shipley’s National Government. It did, by lifting the level of New Zealand Super to 33.7% of NAATOTWW. Labour has since seemingly ‘washed its hands’ of retired people, and the coalition members are not strong enough to force the government to adhere to its own Act.

“The annual Cost Price Adjustment of NZS is retrospective, so pensioners are in a constant state of catch-up.

“Grey Power policy calls for a superannuation level of 35% of the Nett Average After Tax Ordinary Time Wage,” says Mr. Roberston. “This may not be achievable in the immediate future, but we can justifiably argue that an increase to 34% on April 1, 2006, is both realistic and warranted.

“If honesty in government is the objective, a strong coalition partner is the answer,” Don Robertson says.

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

Ends. Text 406 words.

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