Grey Power and the NZ Seniors Party

Published: Thu 13 Oct 2016 01:43 PM
Grey Power and the NZ Seniors Party
October 13
From the President’s desk
In spite of several clear explanations that Grey Power is not aligned to any political party, we are still getting requests to join with the New Zealand Seniors Party. In fact, it appears they do not yet have sufficient members to be registered as a political party. However that may be, they seem unable to understand or accept that the Grey Power New Zealand Federation is a non-sectarian and non-party political, advocacy organisation. The only reason we get invitations to speak with senior MPs from all political parties in Parliament is because we are not a political party ourselves. That is too valuable to give away.
There now seems to be an air of desperation in the attempts by New Zealand Seniors Party to persuade us to join them which is probably because they have yet to get sufficient members to register their party before the general elections next year.
Some of their messages to association secretaries are also inaccurate and misleading.
Their latest message includes the bizarre suggestion that the Grey Power Federation Board, which our members elect each year, should be disbanded and a new joint committee be formed to amalgamate Grey Power with their party. That suggests to me that they want to use the Grey Power credibility, as they have little of their own, as well as our membership to boost their numbers.
Most of these people are not NZ born citizens who want to bring their overseas pensions with them to New Zealand and expect to collect our national superannuation as well.
New Zealand is part of an international protocol which prevents this double dipping from happening.
In discussions with the Ministry of Social Development it was explained that, under S70 of the Social Security Act, all New Zealand benefits and national superannuation are reduced by the value of an overseas, state funded, pension. Private funds are not included in those calculations. Where New Zealand national superannuation is paid to a couple their joint incomes from other offshore, state funded pensions are calculated as a single unit. That means the off shore pension of one spouse will affect the New Zealand national superannuation of the other. They accepted that, in the case of a high value offshore pension collected by one spouse it could in fact completely eliminate the New Zealand superannuation of the other. A number of reviews and investigations over many years had failed to address that situation but the basic policy of stopping double dipping is in keeping with Grey Power philosophy.
I had previously invited the leaders of the New Zealand Seniors Party to send us a list of issues they might want to discuss with us, as I would for any other political party. However that has been ignored and they have continued to spread misinformation about Grey Power and continued to attempt to infiltrate associations. That invitation has now been withdrawn and I suggest all associations should simply ignore them as we have much more important issues to be working on.

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