29th July 2016
Now that the shouting and humbug surrounding the recent call to legalise medical cannabis has died down
we can examine the issue in some detail.
First and most importantly it was quite in order for the Otamatea Association to call for the legalisation of medical cannabis. However, as the Grey Power Federation, as the representative national body of all a Grey Power Associations, did not have a formal policy on the matter we were not able to give public support to the idea.
I got involved when a political party seemed to be attempting to hijack the Otamatea initiative to push for the legalisation of so called recreational cannabis, which is a very different issue to medical cannabis. The last thing I want is for associations to be used by outside groups to further their own campaigns. I was a bit aggressive in that and make no apology for protecting the Grey Power credibility. Pot smokers and other social misfit groups can run their own campaigns and they interfere in ours at their peril.
That is not to say medical cannabis is not a worthwhile issue to get involved but simply that, as president, I cannot make policy decisions on my own or at a moment’s notice. I have therefore invited Otamatea Association to present a formal remit on medical cannabis for the board to consider.
That raises another important issue which seems to have been overlooked in recent times. It is not always necessary to wait for the AGM to present remits to the board. If an issue falls broadly within the bounds of established policy the board can make an immediate decision to get involved, coordinate a national response or give an association sound advice on how to proceed and in some cases not to proceed. If an issue is dramatically different to established policy the board can refer it to associations by email for an immediate response or the next AGM for the membership to decide but many remits can be, and should be decided as soon as the boards can consider them.
It is not the board’s role or intention to restrict what associations do only to ensure established policies are supported and board political lobbying is not jeopardised by association activities. All it requires is for associations to let us know when they are getting into issued which are potentially of national importance.
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Grey Power’s Aims and Objectives
- To advance, support and protect the welfare and well being of older people.
- To affirm and protect that statutory right of every New Zealand resident, to a sufficient New Zealand Superannuation entitlement.
- To strive for a provision of a quality Health Care to all New Zealand residents regardless of income and location.
- To oppose all discriminatory and disadvantageous legislation affecting rights, security and dignity.
- To be non aligned with any political party, and to present a strong united lobby to all Parliament and statutory Bodies on matters affecting New Zealanders.
- To promote and establish links with kindred organizations.
- To promote recognition of the wide-ranging services provided by senior citizens of New Zealand.
- To gain recognition as an appropriate voice for all older New Zealanders.
Grey Power Achievements
Brief Overview of some results that Grey Power have been effective in achieving.
- Removal of the Surtax
- Asset Testing Legislation being Phased Out
- Lower doctors’ Fees
- Lower Pharmacy Fees
- Removal Over 80’s Driving Tests
- Removal Simulated Driving Tests by Occupational Therapists
- Lower Tariff Electricity
- Superannuation Increased to 66% NATOTWW
- Rate Rebate Scheme re-vitalised
- Independent Superannuation & Income Centres
- Improved Regulations for Rest Homes
- Code of Practice for Rest Homes
- Abolition of Interest on Student Loans
- The National Superannuation Adjustment for the Tax Cuts in the 2008 Budget is a long awaited recognition by a major political party of the plight of the elderly reliant on NZ Superannuation
- Hearing aid subsidy increased
- Rates Rebate Scheme indexed to CPI. Amount now $580 (originally $500) and threshold now $23,240 (from 20,000 originally)
- Spot Audits for Rest Homes
- Retention of Graduating Doctors – (Student Loan)
- Lowering Electricity Increase for ETS
- Retention of SuperGold Card Off-Peak Travel
- Retention of SuperGold Card Waiheke Island Ferry Travel
The Student Loan achievement was recognised in a letter from the Co-President of the NZ University Students Association, Connor Roberts, and also by the Prime Minister in an address to the Students Association in 2006.
We are also mindful of the fact that there are many gains still to be made and that our members can be assured of our continued efforts on their behalf.
In addition to the above, Grey Power has been successfully involved in many outside committees in Energy and Health in particular. Hard of Hearing, Disability committees, NZ Specifications for conditions in Rest Homes,Community Support Services Industry Training Organization (CSSITO) for conditions for Home Care and Rest Home Workers, Health of the Older Person, (HOOP) and Electricity Commission Committees to give a few examples.