National’s strong economic plan will deliver an extra $680 a year per couple in New Zealand superannuation payments from 1 April next year, Seniors spokesperson Maggie Barry says.
“Our strong and growing economy is allowing the Government to regularly lift the incomes of superannuitants as well as provide the public services they need” Ms Barry says.
National today released its Seniors policy, setting out its comprehensive set of policies to help seniors and build on its track record of delivering better lives for older New Zealanders.
“New Zealanders are living longer and National is determined to providing the support and security to ensure all of us are able to age positively and lead fulfilling lives in retirement,” Ms Barry says
New Zealand Superannuation for a couple has increased by more than $7000 a year under National - from $24,062 in 2008 to $31,216 in 2017. That is an increase of 29.7 per cent, more than twice the rate of inflation.
National’s Family Incomes Package means 750,000 superannuitants will receive a further increase on 1 April on top of their normal annual increase, with the couple rate going up by a further $680.
“National is also ensuring all older New Zealanders get the health care they need. We have increased our investment in health to a record $17 billion this year, up $5 billion since we came into office,” Ms Barry says.
“We are rolling out cheap GP visits to an extra 600,000 lower income New Zealanders, meaning 300,000 over-65s will have the cost of seeing their doctor capped at $18.
“We are also increasing the number of life-changing elective surgeries for things like joint replacements, cancerous skin lesions and cardiac surgeries, and rolling out a national bowel screening programme.”
National will continue to support and invest in the SuperGold Card, recognising the important service it provides for seniors.
“More than any other party, National has made the SuperGold Card what it is today. We have grown the scheme from less than 300 businesses in 2007 to provide discounts at more than 9,000 businesses for services such as optometrists, dentists, audiologists, lawyers and vets that really make a difference for seniors,” Ms Barry says.
“And we’ve backed the popular SuperGold Card public transport concession with $41 million of additional funding so it can provide more than 10 million trips a year.”
National has taken strong action against elder abuse and social isolation with the launch of the nationwide Elder Abuse Response Service, including a 24/7 helpline – 0800 EA NOT OK – and increased funding for support services, as well as ensuring rest homes are uphold high standards.
National’s Seniors policy also reaffirmed the intention to increase the age of entitlement for New Zealand Superannuation from 65 to 67, beginning in 2037.
“Life expectancy has increased by 12 years over the past 60 years, including by four years since 2001, when the age for NZ Super was increased to 65, so it is fair to increase the age of entitlement in 20 years’ time to ensure Super stays on a firm footing,” Ms Barry says.