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The Gingerbread House Generation?

The Gingerbread House Generation?

Are we creating a gingerbread house generation?

Remember the story of Hansel and Gretel, who broke bits off the gingerbread house in the forest becausethey were hungry? Current rates of superannuation payments are creating this situation among the elderly.

The 2006 census showed that 75,500 people over 65 were living in poverty. A further 230,000 superannuitants had a very small secondary income which barely rescued them from the poverty line. Given the ever-escalating prices of food, power and petrol, there must be many more than that number in 2008.

Contrary to popular belief, the majority of superannuitants are not well off. If they own their home, they are considered rich. But how much of your house can you break off to buy a set of dentures or a hearing aid? Could you exchange a few tiles off your roof to pay the power bill, perhaps?

The current rate of $426.74 a week for a couple with no other income needs adjusting upwards fast. Take from this princely sum a few standard expenses: $150-$200 rent or rates/house maintenance; $80-100 for food (no meat or cheese here); $50 for power (unless they stay in bed to keep warm); $20 house and contents insurance; $20 for toiletries and household cleaners; $50 for petrol or public transport. That is a total of around $370 a week and you're not even contemplating visits to the doctor or dentist, social activities essential for mental and psychological health such as taking the grandchildren on an outing, car maintenance/registration, clothing. What happens if the washing machine or fridge dies, or you break your glasses or dentures? Forget such luxuries as going to visit your children in another part of the country, or going to a movie now and then.

In this election year, our politicians need to face squarely the ever-increasing demands made on the basic superannuation on which none of them, incidentally, will ever have to rely, given their own generous superannuation prospects. Why should those who have worked hard to make the country what it is today have to take out a reverse mortgage on their house just to survive? This is definitely gingerbread house territory. And what happens when the equity in the house has gone?

Newly elected National President of Grey Power Federation NZ Inc, Mr Les Howard, today announced that he, together with his Portfolio Holders, will focus on the apparent hardships facing many New Zealanders at the present time as strategy factors for the forthcoming elections. Mr Howard will be asking Grey Power Associations to be more demanding on Political Parties and the personel standing for political positions to address the many anomalies in some areas of the present legislation and to completely review and rectify these issues to acknowledge present day circumstances.

The people who aspire to political power at the end of this year need to remember the fairy story and what happened to the witch!


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