INDEPENDENT NEWS

Delivering a brighter future for seniors

Published: Sat 11 Nov 2006 12:48 AM
Delivering a brighter future for seniors
Embargoed until 12 noon, 11 November
550 words
By Winston Peters, Associate Minister for Senior Citizens
The Supergold Card unveiled this weekend recognises the huge contribution that senior citizens have made, and continue to make, to New Zealand.
The credit-card sized Card will be in the purses and wallets of people aged 65 plus in August next year. It will provide tangible benefits to cardholders by providing easy access to government concessions as well as meaningful discounts across a range of commercial services and products.
The unveiling of the Card coincided with the beginning of a nationwide campaign to bring businesses on board as 'Super Gold Card business partners'.
With nearly 600,000 people eligible for the Supergold Card, it represents a valuable, loyal and rapidly growing market for businesses to be involved in.
Given the initial interest expressed by large and noteworthy businesses, we are confident that cardholders will enjoy significant discounts on a wide range of goods and services that will make a real difference to day-to-day living costs.
Based on the experience of similar seniors cards in Australia, the number of businesses across New Zealand offering discounts to cardholders is likely to continue to grow year by year, offering a growing number of discounts, including high-cost items such as power, petrol and insurance.
The Supergold Card will be sent automatically to people receiving NZ Superannuation (including those receiving the non-qualified spouse entitlement) or a Veteran's pension. War and emergency services veterans will receive a specially-branded Supergold Veterans Card.
Other New Zealand residents aged 65 plus also qualify for the card, but they will need to apply. Cardholders' spouses who are under 65 will be able to access the commercial discounts.
The Supergold Card replaces the Community Services Card and Seniors Card. People who currently hold those cards will be able to access their entitlements through the Supergold Card, and more concessions may be added later.
The Card will carry the cardholder's name, the card's number, and whether the cardholder receives NZ Super, a Veteran's Pension, or has a Community Services Card.
Cardholders can also choose to have their photo on the card, which may be useful for those who don’t currently have photo ID.
Public interest in the card has been such that the Ministry of Social Development has already set up two freephone lines – one for seniors wanting more information, and one for businesses keen to join the scheme.
The Ministry also has information on its website, and next year will establish a dedicated website and a directory of services to promote the range of concessions and discounts available to cardholders across the country.
New Zealand First made a dedicated seniors' card a central feature of its 2005 election campaign. It became a critical part of our negotiations with the government and our subsequent supply and confidence agreement.
Legislation associated with the introduction of the Card will be before parliament before Christmas, while funding for the production and operation of the card has already been set aside.
We wanted a card that was more than a token gesture; we wanted one that delivered real and meaningful benefits. Seniors deserve to be treated with dignity and the Supergold Card will be a concrete step down that path.
Key information:
0800 25 45 65 for public information on the Supergold Card
0508 65 00 00 for businesses interested in being part of the scheme
www.MSD.govt.nz for on-line information.
Ends

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