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Small super increase welcome- but gone already

Small super increase welcome- but it’s gone already

[Ruth Dyson has announced small National Superannuation increases from 1 April]

Age Concern New Zealand Media release

10 March 2008

Age Concern welcomes the three percent National Superannuation increase but says it’s already been swallowed up by price rises.

A superannuitant living alone will get $285.87 per week (after tax) from 1 April, up $8.81 a week. But all they have to do is buy basics like a block of butter (up by $3 this year), milk, and a block of cheese (up 63% this year) and the increase has all been spent.

But then they also have to pay for this winter’s expected power price rises, extra petrol costs, and big rent increases for some tenants.

“Age Concern fears we’ll see real hardship this winter,” Age Concern New Zealandchief executive Ann Martin says.

“For example, it’s vital that older people can afford to keep their houses warm enough to stay healthy. If they don’t, the results feed into extra costs in the health system.

“A senior living alone will have a yearly income of $14,800 and most older people have very little extra income above that.

“Could you live on $14,800 a year?”

Age Concern also questions the Government formula that ties super for a married couple to the average wage for individuals.

“We don’t see the logic of comparing individual wage earners with older couples, except it makes the increase sound bigger. It’s a very old-fashioned way of looking at it as increasing numbers of seniors are living on their own.

“Government needs to think more creatively to avoid an older people’s welfare crunch. For example in the UKolder people get winter energy payments.

“It’s also vital that companies start offering real discounts on energy and everyday shopping items to older people through SuperGold Card.”


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