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Senior Lives Matter

It’s good to be back in Whanganui and in one of the many regions keeping our economy alive. 

In New Zealand, as everywhere, government is walking a tight rope. 

There is intense pressure to get the economy back to work, whilst balancing keeping the COVID virus in check. 

Given the depth and the extent of the pandemic, at some point the eye watering stimulus and support packages being promised by some parties will have to be scaled back.  That will have to happen if the government’s finances are to have any credibility. 

Given the outlook of great uncertainty and the prospect of severe hardship ahead, what should Kiwi’s think as we vote. 

New Zealand First set out three years ago to get the basics right. 

If there’s one lesson we are re-learning from COVID, it is that our regions are critical to our country’s survival and that investment like the Provincial Growth Fund will be desperately needed in the future. 

In harsh economic times politicians find excuses for spending cuts. 

Senior Lives Matter

You can tell a society by the way it looks after the young and it’s seniors. 

Since the mid 1980s, New Zealand has demonstrated an unacceptable record for both. 

New Zealand First has been the unrelenting advocate for seniors and the young.

Successive governments have tried to devalue our seniors and assign them to the scrap yard.  Forgetting that our seniors, past and current, were and are the backbone to New Zealand’s prosperity, wealth and freedoms. 

Lest we forget, our seniors and veterans that built this country deserve real protection. 

Our seniors in their sacrifices, paved the way for this generation of young, politicians and media, to live their lives, with freedoms rarely enjoyed by seniors.

To some, seniors are not a priority.  For some its glamourous to chase rainbows and short-lived fame.

Beware, history has a habit of repeating itself.  The other parties, as you all remember, have a history of taking from our seniors. 

Examples:

  1. The surtax introduced by Labour and increased by National, to at its worst 92c in the dollar
  2. Means testing a universal benefit
  3. Reducing super payments to sixty percent of the net ave. weekly wage
  4. All have attempted to put the retirement age up

The economy will again be their excuse to attack the old. 

Overnight there’s been a spat between National, Labour and the Greens on the Greens demand for a wealth tax. 

Now National again, for the umpteenth time, has got its figures wrong on this Greens threat, but they’re not wrong on the result if such a tax happened. 

All over New Zealand there are thousands upon thousands of older people living in homes worth more than $1.2 million, let alone their other assets. 

Many are asset rich and cash poor.  A wealth tax against their property will see them paying more than seven thousand dollars a year, which for most, will be coming from their superannuation. 

They’re about to be taxed out of their homes. 

And those that say it won’t happen, should remember Labour’s Geoffrey Palmer saying years ago “anyone that says that Labour’s going to interfere with superannuation is spreading rumor with malice”.

Yet that’s exactly what they did. 

Remember: 

  1. New Zealand First stopped the surtax
  2. New Zealand First stopped increasing the pension age 
  3. New Zealand First had the sixty percent of the net average wage repealed and took it back up, not to sixty five percent, but to sixty six percent in law 
  4. New Zealand First introduced the Gold Card, thirteen years ago
  5. New Zealand First negotiated in the coalition agreement (2017) bringing the SuperGold Card under the control of the Minister for Seniors, breathed new life in to the SuperGold Card by enhancing its features and benefits, rebuilt the SuperGold Card website, and introduced a mobile app for seniors.  We engaged with businesses and have signed up over 5000 already, to offer discounts to make the seniors’ dollar go further. 
  6. New Zealand First added other services like one free doctors visit and one free eye check per annum.  If we can catch eye degeneration earlier, we can save about 7000 seniors from going blind every year and stop this waste in human capital. 
  7. New Zealand First advocated for the Winter Energy Payment.
  8. We’ve helped save the ambulance service by funding their last financial short-fall, and backing their long-term financial viability.  What decent first world society has a critical service like the ambulance having to fundraise their service to the community. 
  9. We have provided St John with the necessary funds they’ve personally asked us for.  And one of the biggest beneficiaries is our seniors. 

 

We make this promise to all seniors that as part of government;

  • We will not allow them to take away or diminish your right to a fair future. 
  • We will not allow them to reduce your superannuation. 
  • We will not allow them to take away your free doctors visit or eye checks.
  • We will not allow them to take away your winter energy heating support.
  • We will not allow them to attack you when you have given so much. 

New Zealand First has unfinished business with the SuperGold Card.  We have completed phase one of its renewal over the last three years. 

Our plan now is for Phase Two of the SuperGold Card.  Our target is to increase the number of businesses honouring the SuperGold Card with discounts to you, to over twenty thousand. 

We will combine the SuperGold Card members into a “Super Buying Group” and create super deals with power companies, telco’s, and internet companies, to give you more savings. 

We’ll introduce online and mobile care services for seniors particularly in isolated and rural areas.  And use digital services and technology to provide immediate and regular connectivity to health care providers and family members. 

It is our intention that a single superannuant is treated fairly, as well as couples.  

We will, with means testing, deliver free dental care to superannuants struggling with teeth degeneration leading to other associated health problems. 

We will not let other Parties add a wealth and property tax on your homes, your savings, your artwork or anything else you have of value.  Many of you paid the highest taxes this country has ever seen during your working life, so we won’t let them double tax you now. 

Some think that “tax is love” - it isn’t.  Instead of seeing you as a role model, they are envious of what you have done and saved during your hard-working life. 

Now as you are entering your twilight years it is disgusting that other parties will target seniors as being past their used by date. 

We will not let over 700,000 retired people, contributing so much voluntarily to our way of life, be forgotten.  

We’re going to stop history from repeating itself with attacks on you.

Homecare and elder organisations will be reviewed to ensure every possible care and human dignity is not violated for profit.  

Aged abuse has to stop, and penalties increased where individuals or organisations are found guilty. 

“Ageism is like racism, but not as attractive to the media”.  

That’s why New Zealand First wants a Commissioner for Seniors to independently hold government to account. 

Seniors, or those soon to be seniors represent well over 800,000 New Zealanders today.  By 2025 there will be 1.2 million of you. 

We, and you, need to rise up and say, “Senior Lives Matter”.

For years we’ve defended vulnerable New Zealanders against political extremes.  For many New Zealander’s, New Zealand First is the only insurance they have in this election to rightly influence the next government. 

For three years we’ve helped form a stable government.  

So, take out some insurance.

Make your second vote count.

And, party vote New Zealand First.

 

Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First

winston.peters@parliament.govt.nz

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