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Labour moves elderly vote to centre stage

Labour moves elderly vote to centre stage

Monday, 20 June 2005,

Labour moves elderly vote to centre stage

Prime Minister Helen Clark responded last week to the recent drop in polls for the government by indicating a “mid-winter offensive” against new gains by Winston Peters. The thrust of the “offensive” reportedly will be directed to the elderly vote.

Sources in Parliament suggest Winston Peters and his “hold” on retired and elderly voters is more of a concern to Labour brain trusts than the threat from the opposition National Party. A Labour Party spokesperson denied any targeted “offensive”.

National Grey Power Federation president Graham Stairmand speaking from his home in Christchurch welcomed

“further dialogue with the government.”

“There have been times when retired people in this country feel completely ignored by this government. Quite a few times, in fact,” Mr Stairmand says.

“But having said that, it is only fair to say that when this government actually listens and gets down to serious talk, there is usually a significant improvement in the state of things. All the more pity, then, that it seems to take an election to bring them out of hiding.”

Mr Stairmand says the recent promise to abolish older driver testing, the additional subsidy for cataract operations, and the rates rebate scheme were welcome moves by the government. “But much more needs to be done.”

Prime Minister Helen Clark says she has “addressed many Grey Power meetings over the years, including this year. And with the month long parliamentary recess, there is an opportunity to do more. I value the opportunity Grey

Power gives the government to talk to its members, and I look forward to doing this over the next few weeks.”

Minister for Senior Citizens Ruth Dyson believes “the government has consistently supported a partnership with Grey Power in developing policies for the betterment of older people.”

The Grey Power election strategy focuses on a number of key issues including hospital elective waiting lists, cost of energy, and raising superannuation to 37.5% of the average wage. Aged health care is also a big issue.

The Grey Power Federation with 85,000 active members is recognised as the leading support organisation for many of the three-quarters of a million retired New Zealanders.


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