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.
40 NZ GREYPOWER MAGAZINE » MARCH 2018 Surgical mesh operations In recent times the print media have carried stories relative to one of the most common surgical procedures carried out in both public and private New Zealand hospitals. I refer to the regular use of polypropoline surgical mesh to contain hernias which protrude through the abdominal wall. Approximately 5000 surgical mesh procedures are carried out in New Zealand every year with an estimated 12 percent failure rate through postoperative complications. From a personal perspective having experienced two hernia operations within five years, caused through developing a residential property, I was well aware of the risks associated with the two operations however, when you experience a hernia rupture of the abdominal wall twice, the hernias being the size of a lemon and a grapefruit, you really have no option with keyhole surgery being carried out by a highly qualified, experienced surgeon assisted by efficient operating theatre staff. Despite print media negativity regarding the use of surgical mesh, I would have no hesitation in the future if I had to experience another abdominal hernia surgical mesh procedure! Bill Stirling Greypower Member Horowhenua, Levin GST argument I have to say I was amused at the attempt by your correspondent, Mr Pattens’ attempt to refute my suggestion regarding exemption from GST from all purchases upon presentation of the Super Gold Card to respective retailers. Mr Pattens, as a presumably retired bean counter, is obviously arguing his view from a position of some affluence, and obviously indifferent to the plight of many of our superannuitants, who face real penury trying to make ends meet on the miserly provision known as NZ Superannuation. It’s hard enough for those of us who own our homes. Mr Pattens is oblivious to the absolute difficulties of our superannuitants trying to provide the necessities of life, as well as meet ever increasing rental payments to rapacious landlords, who are most likely in similar positions of affluence, as I suspect, is Mr Pattens. I served as Secretary to a Grey Power Association for twelve months and am well aware of the difficulties many of our members face, in making ends meet on the miserable pittance known as NZS. I was employed in Public Service around the time of Muldoon’s introduction of his super scheme in opposition to that proposed earlier by the late Norman Kirk. I can well remember my confreres approaching 60 years of age, expressing their profound amazement of the utter generosity of that early provision. How times have changed in the intervening years. The present provision has been steadily eroded to where it stands at present, nothing more than a sad joke. Peter Grove Misuse of drugs (medicinal cannabis) amendment bill submissions due It is very easy to make a submission to our government when bills are put before a select committee. If you have never taken this democratic opportunity, you may want to have your say on the bill which is dealing with access to medicinal cannabis, as it may affect you if you need the unique therapeutic benefits of cannabis for your own family. Submissions need not be long or detailed, so there is no excuse for us pensioners to sit silently when issues arise that affect us. As award winning doctor, Graham Gulbransen, says, “Cannabis is right down there at the low end of the harm spectrum” and consequently many prefer the natural cannabis plant to the so called safe pharmaceutical drugs which may have serious and unpleasant side effects. If you would like to see the cannabis plant re-legalized please tell the select committee by the deadline on March 28. Keeping the status quo means that only the wealthy will be able to have legal access to cannabis. You can do it online at or post your submission to parliament for free. Victoria Davis Golden Bay Grey Power The Grey Power Federation will present a submission to the Health Select Committee on the Misuse of drugs (Medical Cannabis) Bill. Tom O’Connor President Refuting of accusations Re Les Gassey’s letter (November edition), I would like to begin by making it quite clear that I was not the author of the article on the front page of the September issue. I have read and re-read the article that Mr Glassey has complained about, the accusations he has made in his letter are simply not contained in the article. I will address his points in the order they are written. “Mr Bob Thompson was not involved in the negotiations between Grey Power and Pulse Energy”. Nowhere in the article is this stated or claimed. What is said, is that Bob Thompson was the originator of the idea of Grey Power Electricity, which he was. Bob commenced discussions with Power suppliers prior to any discussions having occurred with Pulse Energy. Terry King was never involved in any meetings with Bob Thompson, myself and Tiny Mighty Power. He continues in the same paragraph to say, “… although reluctant, Mr Welch joined the team”. How Mr Glassey arrives at this opinion is beyond comprehension. I was never reluctant to participate in any meeting with regards to the formation of Grey Power Electricity. In the 5th & 6th paragraph of Mr Glassey’s letter, he writes about, “two stipulations made by Terry King”. None of these points were covered in the article he is complaining of and why he has included them is puzzling. In the final paragraph of Mr Glassey’s letter he writes that “the inference that the Pulse Energy CEO suggested Mr Welsh (spelt incorrectly) was a key instigator, is also not correct.” I can only assume that the term Mr Glassey uses, “key instigator”, is in reference to initial discussions with Pulse Energy. Nowhere in the article is this stated. In the article Mr Holden talks about “the original concept”, which was definitely that of Bob Thompson, who also always referred to it as Grey Power Electricity, shared at a later date with myself. In closing I would comment that I am at a loss as to why this letter has been penned by Mr Les Glassey. I have attended approximately 50 meetings concerning Grey Power Electricity over a period of more than six years. At not one of these meetings was Mr Les Glassey present, part of the discussions or mentioned in the correspondence and yet he now knows so much about Grey Power Electricity. He presumes to criticise persons of the calibre of Bob Thompson who has worked so tirelessly in so many areas and at all levels for Grey Power. Any criticism he has of me I am not concerned with the only people who have never been criticised are people who have never done anything. Mac Welch Grey Power Zone 3 Director & Chair - Commercial Agreements Observations of a road trip I recently drove from Blenheim to Kaikoura, along the Inland Road to Waiau and then back to The Leader before turning back up State Highway One to Kaikoura. If you would like to see what the force of Mother Nature can do then you need to check out this area. It goes without saying that the work the NZ Transport Agency, numerous contractors and others have done is nothing short of superb in the given time frame. I believe that the completion date will be close to the end of this year. The end result will be a magnificent highway for all New Zealanders to use. It is now just over a year since the Kaikoura earthquake and as we all know a lot of work is still being done to recover from this event. The main street of Kaikoura still bears the scars of the earthquake but the feeling in the town is positive. We live in a country that is subject to all major disasters, both man-made and natural. We must continue to be prepared for another event that will definitely happen someday. It will affect some part of the population and that may be you. I cannot stress enough that you will need to be self-sufficient for up to five days before help arrives. When a disaster occurs all our equilibrium is thrown out. Nothing is any longer normal and this is the reason why we are sometimes perceived to be alone and this usually manifests itself by people saying there is a lack of communication. I am confident from my role in these events that the CDEM people will be working very hard for you but in those five days they need to take the time to be very clear with what they are facing. You need to realise that disasters bring together very suddenly a group of people who up until that time are going about their normal business. Suddenly they are faced with a situation that is very new and dangerous that they need to deal with. Their training and previous knowledge helps them to make this transition but it takes time. Regularly you hear complaints about lack of communication. We need to consider some issues here. Perhaps there is no means of external communication early in the event we know that it takes very little activity to take out the mobile phone system. Predominately there is no communication because they are still sifting through what they have so as to make a meaning full press release in a timely manner. It is for this reason that you need to develop your Neighbourhood Support groups or similar so as we can take our strength from a local group we all know. Insurance is also a matter that needs to be taken into account. After the Kaikoura event EQC started the process of insured people contacting their own insurer first which makes sense. However, you need to be confident that what the terms of your insurance policy are what you expect. I doubt that many of you would have read all of your policy but to be sure you need to talk to your broker, as the questions that you want and record their answers. It is too late after the event to take this action. Be prepared by always having a good supply of food available and it is worthwhile recycling what you have stored so as the food remains relatively fresh. The same should be done with your water. The secret to surviving any major event is family planning and being prepared. (Abridged) Graeme Faulkner Chair Law & Order and Emergency Management
Future of transport brings freedom to all ages at almost no running cost As the sport of cycling experiences a dramatic increase in participation, new cycleways are expanding and popping up around the country. And thanks to the electric bike revolution, cycling is something all ages and fitness levels can now enjoy. Conrad Hensby-Bennett is one of many New Zealanders enjoying the opportunities presented by electric bikes. He happily admits that introducing e-bikes to his family changed their lifestyle and interest in cycling and transport. “E-bikes changed my life and my children’s lives by gifting good health and freedom at a low cost.” And now he’s driven to convert many more New Zealanders to the benefits of e-bikes. “I want to retire and see them everywhere, ridden by all ages” he admits. “The contributions to health and freedom of movement are enormous. They have increased distances we range out and explore by almost tenfold. Every day we find free places to enjoy that we never knew existed. We love our electric GG’s (e-GG) “It’s also fun. I’ve put my car away and most of my transport is now done by e-bike. My kids have wonderful freedoms thanks to their e-bikes.” With a professional background as an accountant. Conrad is now embracing a fresh new direction as owner of e-bike business Klevertech, specialising in electric bikes and new life enhancing technologies, the latest of which includes the development and manufacture of a solar suitcase that the Pegasus can fit into folded and get charged. “We are also developing and manufacturing bike stands that will stand outside libraries and businesses and solar charge e-Bikes. “I want to help bring the wonderful healthy lifestyle and freedoms that come with an e-bike, as well as the fact they are so practical, quiet and environmentally friendly.” Klevertech was established in 2017 and specialises in the e-GG Mustang and e-GG Pegasus bikes. “These two styles cover every need from transport to sport. Both have three riding modes and can cover more than 40km on a seven cents, three hour charge,” says Conrad. The e-GG Mustang is a versatile mountain bike suitable for most terrain and the e-GG Pegasus is a folding bike, ideal for commuting, door to door transport of people and goods as well as easy storage.They also feature USB ports for charging devices such as smartphones and tablets. “When I had a pedal bike I hardly ever used it. Now that I have an e-bike I find an excuse to use it multiple times every day,” says Conrad. “I get more exercise than I ever did on a pedal bike. My young kids have more freedom than an adult with a licence and love nicking off and doing my shopping. They don’t think twice about ranging out 10km to visit friends or get to school. NZ GREYPOWER MAGAZINE » MARCH 2018 They are gaining in independence and responsibility. They always make sure their Pegasus’s are fully charged. They always take their phones and ride by GPS or call me if it starts to rain hard out and we just fold them up and put in the boot of the car. “I’ve been slinging two 30 litre bags of compost across the centre bar of my Pegasus and riding them back on throttle only from the Warehouse 2km away. Awesome! “Many businesses will develop amongst youth using the simple maths of costing seven cents to do 40+km; cuisine couriers, pizza delivery, shopping delivery, ad infinitum. I see many business opportunities popping up. My 11-year-old daughter charges me $5 to do my shopping and it’s very worth it. ”My mission is to make 41 these sorts of life enhancing, environmentally friendly, brilliant robust simple technologies available and affordable for everyone, and e-bikes are just the start of a wonderful and possible future. “We’re also exploring the possibilities of bringing in other solar chargeable devices such as lawnmowers and weedeaters. I’m getting tired of hearing lawnmowers and weedeaters buzzing all weekend. As you can tell I don’t like noise pollution either. All tech I think of as clever is simple, passive and quiet. The sort of tech that only generates smiles that go viral and not pollute this wonderful, beautiful world.” The e-GG Mustang is priced at $1599 and the Pegasus at $1399. For more details, call 0800 005 335 or look online at www.klevertech.co.nz