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Grey Power Reminds Politicians of Pledges

21 February 2006

Grey Power Reminds Politicians of Pledges

Grey Power has reminded Labour and New Zealand First of their duty to honour their pre-election pledges to ease the plight of the elderly.

Mana Tawa Grey Power president, Kilian de Lacy, says a survey recently carried out of 345 Grey Power members in her area shows that:

40% of those who own their own homes are having difficulty in affording maintenance on their houses;

20% would be unable to replace their fridge and washing machine if both failed in the next two years;

40% restricted heating in their homes last winter because of power prices.

“Mana Tawa Grey Power would constitute a typical cross section of the elderly throughout the country, so financial hardship appears to be fairly common among them.

“Both Labour and New Zealand First made an election issue out of concern for the elderly so Mana Tawa Grey Power has brought to their attention the following points:

1. The basis on which Government decisions are made appears to relate to the 2001 document Living Standards of Older New Zealanders, which implied the needs of the elderly are being met. Our survey shows this is not so.

2. The annual adjustment of superannuation is due on 1 April. By this date most other New Zealanders will have enjoyed substantial pay increases while the elderly, without superannuation increases, face higher charges imposed by Telecom, power companies, oil companies, local councils and other commercial providers. We think last year’s financial statistics are not a sound basis for this year’s adjustment and ask that the present increased charges be taken into account.

3. April 1st would also be an ideal time to end anomalous situations such as that involving a superannuitant and a non-qualifying spouse, in which a married couple is treated as a single financial unit. It seems to us that every person should be treated as an individual when it comes to superannuation entitlements, as everyone is for taxation purposes.

4. Local Council rates are another burden on the elderly. While a new threshold has been established for qualifying for rates relief, many superannuitants fall just outside the criteria.

Both Labour and New Zealand First are challenged now to fulfil their promises and ease the burden on the elderly citizens of our country.


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