This week we have one of those successes which come from quiet diplomacy, attention to detail and working with kindred groups.
On Friday, September 23, the Government announced that the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) will now not be reported back to Parliament until March next year. It was originally going to be reported back by the Local Government and Environment Select Committee on October 28.
The Government introduced the Bill to Parliament earlier this year which, if passed into law, would have removed much of our rights and abilities to have any say at all in how our local bodies operate. In particular the Bill included a proposal to extend the powers of the Local Government Commission to re-structure district councils without consultation with rate payers.
That would have meant that the Local Government Commission could require neighbouring district councils to amalgamate some or all of their functions and ratepayers would have no say in the process.
If we want to keep local body rates affordable it is essential that we must not lose the right to have our own local government and to elect who we want to represent us locally.
Zone Four Board Representative Pete Matcham presented a submission to the Select Committee considering the Bill and we joined forces with Local Government New Zealand which also opposed that part of the Bill.
The Government has now agreed to have further discussions with those who opposed the Bill in its original form with a view to making some radical changes and we will be part of that process..
It was a good initial result brought about by hard work, cooperation and sound strategic planning.
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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.