The Grey Power Magazine is a prime national news source for its readers – New Zealand men and women over 50. Circulated quarterly to more than 68,000 members, Grey Power Magazine reports on the policies of the Grey Power Federation, and the concerns of the elderly, backgrounding and interpreting official decisions which affect their lives.
36 NZ GREYPOWER MAGAZINE » MARCH 2018 A word from New National leader Simon Bridges After Bill English stepped down as National Party Leader, the National Party MPs had the task of democratically electing a new leader. I would like to thank Bill for his tremendous service. Under his leadership, New Zealand has become a better place and we are grateful for all that he has done. After a short and friendly leadership contest, I am honoured to have been confirmed as the new Leader of the National Party and I’m delighted that Paula Bennett has been selected as Deputy Leader. Paula brings great experience and an ability to draw people together and I know she will continue to do an excellent job. This is an enormous privilege and I want to thank my colleagues for giving me the opportunity to lead a strong, united and focused Opposition with the ideas and talent to continue to take New Zealand forward. National is truly blessed to have such an incredible depth of talent and abundant energy in our caucus. I believe that’s part of why we continue to receive so much support. Our team believes in our vision for New Zealand. My focus as Leader will be ensuring we build on those policies to improve the lives of New Zealanders. The National Party that I lead will do at least three things – firstly, we’ll hold the Jacinda Ardern-Winston Peters coalition to account. In that regard, we’ll be firm but fair. We’ll support the things we think will take our country forward, that are making a difference and that are providing opportunities for New Zealanders. But we’ll oppose the things that we think are merely seeing us tread water and, in the worst cases, going backwards. We’ll also be an alternative Government-in-waiting, with a clear and positive plan for the 2020s. Today’s National Party has very strong foundations to build off from the Key-English Government, and we’ll continue to develop and modernise from those successes so we are a truly compelling choice at the next election. And thirdly, we’ll continue to develop our talented team of MPs and our wider party members as the strongest in New Zealand politics. We are highly energised and will be getting out and about talking and listening to New Zealanders. Our MPs are in every corner of the country and they all want to hear from you and your families about what you want to see from us. This Labour-NZ First Government is big on lofty intentions, but struggling to turn that into real gains for New Zealanders. We know that you and your families deserve better than a Government that is merely muddling along. Good intentions are fine, but it’s turning them into actions that counts. More reviews and working groups won’t get us anywhere. There’s no point in the Government saying that it supports regions and small businesses while it messes with employment and immigration laws. Hearing from young people is pointless if the Government doesn’t develop the policies that get them jobs. My focus is on ensuring New Zealand continues to be a place with great opportunities and aspiration for everyone. Over time National will continue to develop positive policies for our economy and other areas, such as health, education, environment and law and order. We will outline our positive plans to improve New Zealand First delivers for seniors Last September Kiwis went to the polls and elected a new government. The path for New Zealand First was tumultuous but thanks to our supporters we are the third party in parliament with a significant role in government. We stayed true to our record of standing up for senior New Zealanders during negotiations. As an active coalition partner in this government, your voices will be heard and we have a direct role in addressing the issues closest to you. As part of our coalition arrangement, New Zealand First’s Tracey Martin is your Minister for Seniors. Along with the other portfolios she has taken on, she will work tirelessly for you as a community. You’ve told us that health and welfare are top of the list and we are already working on some key changes to make life better for you. Ten years after the introduction of the hugely New Zealanders’ lives and opportunities. We will also continue to present an ambitious and strong successful SuperGold Card, it is time for a revamp. The SuperGold Card has given more than 680,000 over-65s free access to off-peak public transport with and access to a wide range of entitlements, business discounts, and concessions. The new generation SuperGold Smartcard will contain provide the same access to entitlements and concessions but will be better suited to today’s modern technology. As part of this Super- Gold Smartcard package, New Zealand First secured an Annual Free Health Check, including a free eye test every year. The government will also progressively increase free breast-screening to age 74. Being proactive about health issues will ensure our most vulnerable can live a fulfilling life in dignity, reducing costs to our health system by getting ahead of avoidable health woes. Too many seniors and alternative Government, heading into 2020 because New Zealanders deserve better. low-income New Zealanders spend winter in cold and damp homes, unable to afford the seasonal spike in their power bills. The government’s new Winter Energy payments introduced as part of the Families Package, offers tangible help. You will receive $20.46 a week if you’re single with no dependent children, or $31.82 a week if you have a partner or dependent children. This year it will be paid from July 1 to September 30. From next year, it will be paid from May 1 to October 1. You don’t need to apply for it and you don’t need to pay it back. It is not acceptable that many New Zealanders are cold in their own homes, and face increased health risks as a result. During the election, various political parties threatened to raise the age of Super eligibility. For 25 years New Zealand First has fought against these threats and in 2017 we took up the battle on behalf of our Seniors again, and won. This government will keep National NZ Superannuation eligibility at 65. Continues page 37 “I'm incredibly proud to be a Kiwi. I'm incredibly proud of this country. As Opposition Leader, my focus will be on holding this Government to account and presenting an ambitious and strong alternative, heading into 2020.” NatioNal BeNefits Negotiated by Grey Power NZ federation inc. Simon Bridges New National Party Leader facebook.com/Simon.Bridges.MP • national.org.nz Funded by Parliamentary Service and authorised by S Bridges, Parliament Buildings, Wellington. The following organisations are of benefit to Grey Power Federation and the membership at large. • ail insurance • Duty free stores • inter-island ferry • Grey Power electricity • Reduced to Clear (discounted groceries) • Challenge fuel Further details can be obtained from: federation office phone: 0800 473 979 email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.greypower.co.nz
Labour Party leader Jacinda Adern says… NZ GREYPOWER MAGAZINE » MARCH 2018 37 Rates rebate for retirement village residents I hope you’ve all been enjoying this long, hot summer! I was lucky enough to have a bit of a break and a couple of weeks off with my partner, Clarke, but it was back to work early in January. It’s been a really busy time for our new Government, and I’d like to give you an update on some of the things we’ve achieved so far – as well as the exciting projects we’re working on now. One of the first pieces of law we’ve passed this year is to fix the rates rebate system, to ensure those of you living in retirement villages get the rebate you’re entitled to on your rates. Previously, we know a lot of people were missing out because of the way their local council collected rates – but the issue had been put in the ‘too hard’ basket. New Zealand First From page 36 Fixing this law means more New Zealanders will get the money they’re entitled to. I’m glad it’s something we’ve been able to get done so close to the beginning of our term. Winter Energy Payment Staying warm in winter is crucial to our health. During last year’s campaign, and before that, we heard from many older Super is future-proofed as this government restarted contributions to the Cullen Fund. Last year, New Zealand First promised Grey Power members it would deliver on Superannuation and improve the lives of those who grew up in this country. Today we have kept our promises, some of which we have delivered in our first 100 days. Without New Zealanders who said they can’t afford to keep their homes adequately heated during the colder months. That’s why we decided to bring in a Winter Energy Payment for people getting superannuation or a main benefit – and it’s one of the first things we’ve legislated for, as part of our Families Package. From July to September this year (and May to your support this could not have happened. New Zealand First will continue to support a strong and stable government that’s delivering practical solutions to make life better for all New Zealanders. September in following years), you’ll get an extra $20.46 a week if you’re single and $31.82 a week for a couple, or if you’re looking after children. You can use this extra bit of income in the way that best suits you to help you through the winter months. Keeping Super at 65 One of the things that’s really important to me and to our Government is that Kiwis are secure in their retirement. The previous Government planned to raise the retirement age and failed to put any money into the Superannuation fund. This was really worrying for many people, who were concerned about what might happen to their pension. We made a guarantee to keep Super at 65, and that’s exactly what we’ll do. As part of that, we’ve already restarted contributions to the Superannuation Fund, which will mean there are savings to help meet the future cost of Super payments for decades to come. Mental Health Inquiry Our health system, and especially mental health, has been starved of resources in recent years. I’m determined to turn that around. In our plans, we’ve allocated money for getting health services up to the standard that New Zealanders expect. We’ve also launched a mental health inquiry to ensure the services that are delivered are best suited to what people actually need. Better housing We recently released an independent report on the national housing crisis, and it made for a sobering read. Older New Zealanders are being particularly affected – both by falling homeownership, meaning more people are renting or paying a mortgage after 65, and by inadequate rentals. We’ve begun our programme to tackle the housing crisis, starting with a new law which we’ve already passed that will require all rentals to be warm, dry, and healthy to live in. We’ll soon begin building houses to help ease the shortage, and we’ll be updating tenancy law so that renting is a more secure option. Lots more to do I’m really happy with the start our Government has made, and all the things we’ve ticked off so far – but we’ve got a lot planned to make New Zealand an even better and fairer country for everyone. As I travel around the country, I feel a real sense of optimism in the air. There are so many amazing people all over New Zealand working for their communities, and looking out for each other. I’m really excited about what we can achieve together. I hope the next months treat you well, and I’m looking forward to checking in again with you later in the year. Until then, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me or one of my team at email@example.com. NEW ZEALAND FIRST WILL ALWAYS DELIVER AND STAND UP FOR OUR NATION’S SENIORS - Rt Hon Winston Peters MP Leader of New Zealand First Delivering our promises We’ve had a busy few months, delivering our 100 day plan and taking the next steps to make New Zealand an even better, fairer country for everyone – including seniors. Our Winter Energy Payment means seniors will get some extra income to help them through the colder months. We’re keeping Super at 65, and we’ve also restarted payments to the Super Fund to help safeguard New Zealand’s long-term future. We’ve passed the Healthy Homes Guarantee into law, ensuring all rentals are warm, dry and safe to live in. And we’ve fixed the rates rebate system so councils have to offer rebates to all entitled seniors, whether in a retirement village or not. Learn more at labour.org.nz Jacinda Ardern Labour Leader and Prime Minister Authorised by Winston Peters, Parliament Buildings, Wellington Authorised by Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, 160 Willis St, Wellington