New Zealand First Policy Announcement
Seniors and Superannuation:
· NZ First will keep the age of National Superannuation entitlement at 65 years and the current 66% of net average wage maintained, and not lowered by shifting the link to inflation.
· NZ First will fund rates relief for Super Gold Card holders, who are mostly on fixed incomes, to apply for a 50% local authority rates rebate for those who own and live in their only home or equivalent such as an apartment, up to a maximum of $1,600 each year. When retired couples are taken into account the estimated cost will be approximately $480m.
· NZ First will fund two free Doctor’s Visits annually, including an annual eye test, for Super Gold Card holders, and acting to prevent thousands going blind who may not have if they received earlier treatment. If two out of every hundred don’t need to be admitted to hospital as a consequence of this policy the cost is fiscally neutral.
· Work to increase the accommodation supplement for Super Gold Card holders, and retain the Winter Energy Payment
· Develop a Seniors Housing plan to address the increasing number of Seniors in rental accommodation and requiring Accommodation Supplement support.
· NZ First will boost retirement savings through Kiwisaver Mortgage Clearance by evaluating the utility of the Singaporean model where at a certain level of savings in Kiwisaver, kiwis can apply savings above that level to downsizing their mortgage.
· NZ First knows we will need approximately 78,000 residential care beds by 2040, but on current progress, there will be just 33,000 and if nothing is done, it will place impossible strain on the public health system. NZ First commits to:
- Immediately fund 2,000 new standard residential care beds over the next term of Parliament
- Begin to address standard bed residential care support to providers by indexing it to inflation
- Engage openly and constructively with the aged-care sector
- Undertake a Select Committee Inquiry into aged care provision to include supporting people with early onset conditions and what asset thresholds are appropriate in 2023/24
- Secure bi-partisanship agreement to fully fund the care and dementia beds that New Zealand needs now and with a focus on the long term needs by 2040.
- NZ First will liaise with retirement village owners and occupiers to seek a mutually agreed way forward to safeguard the interests of the 50,000 plus New Zealanders living in retirement villages, having been assured by retirement village owners that this is achievable.