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Grey Power applauds Labour’s move

7 July 2005

Grey Power applauds Labour’s move to reduce anomalies in superannuation

The New Zealand Grey Power Federation gave a “thumbs-up” to Prime Minister Helen Clark’s announcement in Nelson today that legislation was being introduced to ensure all superannuitants living alone can be paid the single living alone rate.

The changes can mean additional income of more than $1,000 a year for superannuitants who have been missing out.

Helen Clark says Labour is removing two anomalies that have prevented some superannuitants living alone from getting the Living Alone Payment of almost twenty dollars a week.

The first change is in support of married superannuitants living alone while their partner is in long-term unsubsidised residential care. The second change will remove the ‘sharing expenses rule’ that prevented a superannuitant living alone from receiving the Living Alone Payment.

Helen Clark says the Minister of Social Development last week ordered an immediate “softening” of the sharing expenses rules, pending the law change. She says the government will table the recommendations this week. She expects the law change to be in effect by July next year.

“We certainly applaud the proposed changes,” says Grey Power Federation President Graham Stairmand. “An allowance to all superannuitants that are living alone, especially those who have a partner in care, whether subsidised or not, will be a welcome relief for a significant number of our members.”

Mr Stairmand acknowledges the immediate lifting of current restrictions from the ‘sharing expenses rule’ is a “major concession,” but admits he would have been happier if these changes could have been included in legislation passed during the current term, rather than a year from now.

“Grey Power has been advocating these changes for a number of years,” Graham Stairmand says. “We supported the petition from the former Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel more than a year ago, when we were told the law could not be changed.

“Part of Grey Power’s election strategy this year, has been to provide public meeting venues throughout the country for Ministers, Members of Parliament and candidates to discuss the issues and present their party’s policies. It seems to have clarified a lot of issues,” Mr Stairmand says.

Grey Power has developed a “focus list” of five key areas that concern older New Zealanders. These include hospital waiting lists; energy costs; law and order; local government rate increases and superannuation levels.

Grey Power with more than 90,000 active members, is recognised as a leading support organisation for many of the three-quarters of a million retired New Zealanders.

ENDS

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