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Otaki Grey Power to hear Winston Peters

Otaki Grey Power to hear Winston Peters

The large Otaki sub-branch of the Kapiti Coast Grey Power Association invites members and the public to hear the NZ First leader Winston Peters speak at the Otaki Senior Citizens Hall in Rangitira Street, this Friday (24 June) at 2pm. Mr Peters has not announced his topic.

“We expect a large turnout,” says Peg Hazelwood, convenor of the Otaki Group and vice-president of the Kapiti Association of Grey Power. Mr Peter’s appearance is largely the result of Mrs Hazelwood’s personal insistence. “I’ve known Winston for years,” says Mrs Hazelwood, who turns a spry 80 this month. “He needs to be here.”

Mrs Hazelwood says the major concern for the local population, which includes a high proportion of elderly people, “is struggling to make ends meet. We have a very busy food bank here,” she says. A lesser concern is about immigration. “Too many people from other places are coming and taking our jobs.” She is also opposed to the Free Trade policy with China, which “adds to this problem”.

A previous election meeting for National candidate Guy Nathan had a disappointing turnout. Labour MP for Otaki Darren Hughes will be speaking at the hall on July 20.

A large number of Grey Power associations have been holding public election meetings in their communities, featuring members of Parliament and candidates representing various parties. A number of party election policies have been announced at these meetings.

Last month, the Kapiti Coast Association in Paraparaumu hosted the government’s minister of finance Dr Michael Cullen less than a week after his seemingly ill-fated Budget speech.

The New Zealand Federation of Grey Power has developed an election strategy for 2005, which focuses on five key issues. These include Health (hospital waiting lists and cost of cataract operations); Energy (supply, cost and home insulation); Law and Order (police numbers and young person’s legislation); Local Government (rate increases and the use of binding referendums) and Superannuation (raising the level to 37.5% of average wage and the non-qualifying spouse).

Otaki, with more than 300 members, is one of only two sub-branches among the more than 75 Grey Power Associations throughout New Zealand. The NZ Grey Power Federation is recognised as a leading support organization for many of the three-quarters of a million retired New Zealanders. It has a growing membership of more than 84,000.


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