Author: medieval_support

Mac WelchMac Welch

The AGM is over for the 2018 year and a very successful and a worthwhile event it was too, after the ructions of previous years.
Congratulations must go to Tom O’Connor (Immediate-Past President) for his capable Chairmanship and conduct of the meeting. Congratulations also to the Delegates attending for their happy demeanour and excellent contribution to the debate and smooth running of a good meeting.

WHAT CAN I BRING TO THE POSITION OF NATIONAL PRESIDENT
An in-depth knowledge of the organisation and its strengths and weaknesses.
A good working relationship with current Board Members.

I feel there is still room for improvement in the direction which Grey Power is currently moving. I intend to channel my energies to encourage the Board to make the following changes. Keeping in mind that the President only has one vote on the Board and to make changes, he requires the agreement of a majority of Board members.
An increased public profile of GP Federation nationally
Media statements that appear to be controversial to encourage dialogue and attract input from members and the public alike.
More input from Associations and Zones –
I feel that we often do not make proper use of the many skills, talents & knowledge that are available to us in Grey Power.
There is amongst the membership some highly intelligent people who though not willing to take up full-time positions either on the Board or at Association level, would however be willing to contribute their skills/expertise to one-off projects.
These people need to be encouraged to contribute to their full potential and the Board needs to be made aware of their existence.
Better communications between Federation, Associations and members.
Current methods are clearly in-effective as witnessed by Remits to Annual General Meetings asking the Board to introduce as new policies items that are already current policies.
This would be an excellent topic for discussion at the next Annual General Meeting. Rather than publish National Advisory Groups and Standing Committee Reports in the bulletin, they should be published in the Grey Power Quarterly Magazine, this will ensure they reach all members.
Changes need to be made to the AGM format.
The remit system we currently use is cumbersome and time consuming. While I would suggest that it is retained for Constitutional Remits, other remits or motions should be able to be put to the meeting, debated and then voted upon. Non-attending associations can give their proxy to other attending associations marked to vote “As Proxy holder sees Fit”. This ensures that no association is dis-enfranchised as has been the reason given for using the current system. This would enable the business of the Federation to be conducted far more efficiently and in a timely manner. We need to have more open forums at the AGM to discuss and decide what should be Grey Power core business and what battles we should be fighting. The current Board has tried to focus on what they consider to be core Grey Power business but in some cases this has been unclear, that is because no clear direction has been given by the Annual General Meeting to the Board. This needs to be rectified.
Structure of the Board/Modernisation Plan
The modernisation plan was written for the most part from a corporate point-of-view. We have job descriptions setting out required skills & qualifications for Board representatives and Zone directors, all very well when these positions are positions appointed by a panel or by the Board. They are however not appointed by anyone. They are voted on by the Zones with very little reference to job descriptions or CV’s. These persons are elected by the zones on the basis of whether or not they feel that they can best represent them at Board level, or occasionally because they are the only person prepared to commit to the task.
The insistence we have under the Modernisation plan that every Board member must either chair a National Advisory Group or a Standing committee often makes no allowance for whether or not that person has the required knowledge, expertise or interest. I feel we would be far better to seek persons from within the membership with the required skills to chair these National Advisory Groups or committees unless such a person is already on the board, obviously not as convenient as having the chair sitting at the Board table but I would suggest far more effective.
In my view it is critical that the person elected to the position of National President has a solid background & experience at all levels within the Grey Power organisation.
It is necessary that the individual has this experience to enable them to understand the structure of the organisation, the membership and the constitution.

AREAS WE NEED TO PUT MORE/CONTINUED EFFORT INTO

Health
Health is and will continue to be an area where we focus a great deal of our energies timely, effective and adequately funded health services are critical to our membership. In this day an age living a life with constant pain while waiting months for a simple medical procedure is not acceptable.
The cry we always hear when talking about more and better health services is “needs more money” but I feel its time to look at the system and in many cases the people running it the system needs a revamp e.g. WAIKATO DHB.
Health Insurance Subsidies
At the 2010 AGM a remit was passed that GP would lobby the Government for some form of subsidy on Medical Health Insurance premiums in recognition of the fact that people who have their own health insurance effectively are subsidising the Public Health System. We have achieved virtually nothing in this area since then and members continue to have to cancel their Health Insurance due to the prohibitive cost in the latter years when they need it most. You can expect to see an increased effort in this area.
ACC
The Senior Citizens of NZ are not well served by ACC as are majority of all New Zealanders, in my opinion. We gave up our right to sue on the grounds of the implementation of a system that was going to remove the need for lengthy Court battles with Employers and Insurers for fair compensation for accidents when they were not the fault of the victim. This system has been steadily eroded over time to where employees are now paying a large portion of the costs of ACC. Many Providers are only part funded by ACC which means the client has to make up the balance, difficult if not impossible for someone trying to exist on only Superannuation. ACC continues to invest billions of dollars while continuing to short-change and nit-pick NZ citizens. This situation needs to be rectified urgently. For this reason I will be recommending to the Board at its May meeting that ACC portfolio become a stand-alone N.A.G. and it be given urgent priority.

I trust the foregoing has given you some insight into my thoughts and views as to the direction that I wish to take Grey Power over the coming 12 months. All the points raised are topics for discussion and I ask for full and frank input from the Board and Associations.

Mac Welch
National President
Grey Power Federation

Tom O’ConnorTom O’Connor

Hi Folks,

We have an issue developing in the South Island which could have serious implications for the vulnerable elderly and very young throughout the rest of the country.

Like many coastal towns Timaru has a serious winter air quality problem with industrial coal fired boilers, heavy trucks and solid fuel home heaters creating heavy smog during the winter months. Some regional councils, which are responsible for the development of Regional Air Plans have taken a practical approach to the issue but others, including Environment Canterbury require log burners over 15 years old to be replaced regardless of efficiency. We now have people, who can’t afford a new log burner, living in unheated homes in the South Island winter, through fear of a penalty for having a smoky chimney.

Apparently a number of engineering companies offered to upgrade older style log burners to meet the new standards. It is a relatively straight forward operation which is done on a regular basis and in most cases can be done with the log burner in place. That offer was either declined ignored. There was also a suggestion that older style log burners should only be replaced when the house was sold but that was also rejected. There are also available in New Zealand Swiss made electrostatic chimney filters which have been successfully trialed and approved over most of Europe. They would cost around $2500 to buy and have fitted but, compared to between $5000 and $10,000 for a new log burner which many people simply cannot afford. Once again, the Canterbury Regional Council has refused to consider anything other than taking out older log burners.

More recently when the possibility of upgrading older log burners was again raised, Environment Canterbury refused to consider the possibility, claiming that it was too late for amendments and it would take a prolonged and costly plan change process. They also claimed the log burners would need to be taken out of the house to be rebuilt and laboratory tested. As abatement notices and penalties can be imposed for visible chimney smoke regardless of the age of the log burner the 15 year restriction and claimed laboratory testing of upgraded log burners are unnecessary.

South Island district health boards advise that air quality and home heating are intrinsically linked and both have implications for human health. That means they must be managed in balance. It is irresponsible to frighten people into living without winter heating with illogical rules to clean up the air they breathe. Cold winter homes pose a major threat to the health of the elderly and the very young. To put these people at unnecessary risk because a regional council is too stubborn and arrogant to listen to the community they are supposed to serve is simply unacceptable.

All political parties will be asked if they would allow older style log burners anywhere in the country to be upgraded and their responses will be published in the Grey Power Magazine before the general election.

Tom O'Connor
Former National President
Grey Power Federation

Tom O’ConnorTom O’Connor

New Retirement Age

The recent announcement by Prime Minister Bill English, that the age of entitlement for national superannuation would rise from 65 to 67 by 2037, should not have been a surprise to anyone.

For many months prior to the announcement a steady campaign of misinformation and scare tactics about the long term unaffordability of national superannuation, coupled with ill-founded suggestions that the so called baby Boomer generation were “greedy oldies”, were a clear indications that some changes were in the wind.

National superannuation is not a benefit or a charity and amounts to less than 4% of GDP. Even if the amount currently paid doubles over the next twenty years GDP will probably increase by a similar amount or more. To even suggest that those people in physically demanding occupations should carry on working until 67 is simply unacceptable in a country as wealthy as New Zealand.

The proposed new age of entitlement of 67 will only affect people currently younger than 45 and it is these people, our children and grandchildren we are concerned about, not ourselves.

The generation now in their retirement years and the one before them built the hydro dams, steel mills and the industrial infrastructure which underpins todays thriving economy. Certainly they earned good wages but they worked hard in dangerous industries and paid massive taxes, up to 33%, to fund those developments. Many did not live long enough to collect national superannuation and that includes high numbers Maori and Pacifica people A portion of the big taxes they paid was, supposedly, set aside, by agreement with Government and matched with a Government contribution, to fund national superannuation. The Government suspended payments into the scheme in 2008 and still gave the pension to immigrants after only ten years residency in New Zealand so it is a bit rich to now suggest the scheme is unaffordable.

Those people looking for someone to blame for the serious economic ills faced by some sectors of the community today should look to the successive governments who have sold off New Zealand’s heritage to the highest bidder not the older generation who created that heritage. Many of those who accuse the older generation of taking everything and leaving nothing for those who follow don’t know what hard work and hardship is and they seem to know very little about working for the good of the community. When we, in Grey Power, negotiate with government for better access to health care and the continued viability of national superannuation we are doing it for those who will follow us into retirement in the years ahead.

Lifting the age to 67 has the potential to create more problems than it will solve, if indeed there are problems to solve. What hasn’t been announced, yet, is how those people in physically demanding jobs will survive. It is simply unreasonable and unnecessary to expect these people to remain in full work until they are 67. Bodies wear out well before that age for many people.

Age is not a disability and these people should not be dependent on a benefit. Social benefits are too easily discounted and reduced by all manner of rules and regulation which do not, and must never, be applied to national superannuation or those too old to work.

It is unlikely that any government decision today will bind a government twenty years in the future but we have an obligation to ensure there is proper provision made for those who reach retirement in twenty years time as previous generations ensured there was provision for us twenty years and more ago.

I have already made my disappointment at the lack of consultation known but the door is still open for further discussions. We have a firm policy to retain a state-funded, universal, non-means tested pension payable at age 65 years. Any changes to that policy can only be made at our AGM in May and I have made provision for a detailed debate on the subject on the agenda. Hopefully, by that time, there will be more details of how the new system will work and we will need to do more listening and careful thinking before deciding on how we will respond.

Tom O'Connor
Former National President
Grey Power Federation

Tom O’ConnorTom O’Connor

A number of national and international developments have the potential to cause us some problems and hard work over the next few months and we need to be united and focused on what we do and how we do it.

These developments include the election of Donald trump to the presidency of the United States, the election of Bill English as New Zealand’s Prime Minister and the resurfacing of the New Zealand Constitution conversation, among others.

As was predicted in the long lead up to the election of Donald Trump the United States has now officially withdrawn from the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Arrangement. (TPPA). While some in Grey Power might be elated at that news, as we were strongly opposed to what little we knew of the international trade treaty, it has not gone away.

Our concerns were the potential loss of access to affordable medications which would probably have impacted on older people more than most others. There were also issues of the loss of New Zealand’s right to make our own laws without pressure from international corporations seeking easy access to the New Zealand market place.

New Prime Minister Bill English has signaled that New Zealand and the remaining signatories to TPPA could proceed with a revised treaty. If that is the case then we need to insist that the big multinational corporations should be sidelined and that the process should include a more open dialogue with the New Zealand public.

Bill English has also indicated at least a review of national superannuation but, so far, few details of his intentions have been released. This issue alone has the potential to bring a major impact on our members and, while our new Prime Minister should be given every opportunity to find his way into the job, we can’t afford to relax and are seeking an early discussion with him.

In the last few weeks the proposed New Zealand Constitution has re-surfaced with all manner of wild and unfounded claims being made about the intentions of Government and some political activists. The reality is that all the essential components of a New Zealand constitution already exist in several laws. Some of them, such as the Freedom of Information Act (1982), Bill of Rights Act (1990) are relatively well known but other elements can be difficult to find and identify. Pulling them all together into a single, all encompassing, entrenched and supreme document is both logical and long overdue. Such a constitution would provide certainty for, and prudent constraint on, governments and give confidence and protection for all New Zealanders provided that the constitution could not be amended or repealed without the overwhelming will and mandate of the nation via a binding referendum specifically and solely for that purpose. The fact that some politicians have already said a written, entrenched constitution would be a hindrance to government, suggests it is probably a good idea. Under a New Zealand Constitution the Government we would have greater protection from political meddling or secret negotiations like TPPA than we have now.

In the lead up to this years general election we can expect pressure from all manner of political groups for Grey Power to support their particular ideas on these issues. We have already had a few last year but there will no doubt be more in the months ahead. It is absolutely essential for us to form our own opinions and policies, not support those of other groups. We may come up with similar ideas but they must be ours, decided by our membership alone. To achieve that it is important for all associations to not allow other groups to foist their ideas on them or make submissions to Government on these matters without letting the Federation office know first. That way we can coordinate our efforts and strength rather than be fragmented, contradictory and easy to ignore.

Tom O'Connor
Former National President
Grey Power Federation

Tom O’ConnorTom O’Connor

Any change of leadership can bring a period of anxiety and uncertainty. I know that from the ripples which went through the Grey Power family when I was elected as national president in May this year. It took time and patience to assure people that their fears that some of the changes we introduced would be for the better. So far that has been borne out by results.

However when former Prime Minister John Key stood down to be replaced by Bill English there was a disturbing indication that the security of national superannuation could at least be under review. While John Key was in office he gave a solemn promise that national superannuation would remain unchanged. Like his policies or not we knew we could trust him and he was as good as his word on that important issue.

Within days of Bill English being elected by his National Party colleagues to be the new Prime Minister there were indications that he might not be as willing to leave national superannuation untouched. There have been no policy announcements and nothing more than vague hints but they have been enough to set alarm bells ringing.

We know that national superannuation has been under almost constant attack by all sorts of people and groups, including the Retirement Commissioner, for the past year or more. Some say it is unaffordable and others want the age of entitlement raised from 65 to 67. In reality the scheme cost something less than four percent of GDP and Government had not made any contribution to the fund since 2008. The scheme is obviously affordable now and would be more so into the future if Government honoured their part of the bargain and resumed contributions.

It would be unthinkable to raise the entitlement age to 67, particularly for those involved in physically demanding trades. While academics and those who have never worked with their hands and backs might suggest people in manual trades could retrain for new, less demanding, jobs in their middle years, the reality is very different, For starters the Government has stopped funding adult education schemes and, regardless of qualifications and work experience, it is nearly impossible for anyone over 50 to get a job.

Not all people over 65 are in financial trouble but a significant number, particularly those who live alone and only have national superannuation, live in near poverty.

We know there are parts of the scheme which need a review and some tidying up but the basic entitlements of a universal pension for all New Zealanders at 65 is out of bounds for political meddling. The deduction system for people with foreign state funded pensions who applied for New Zealand superannuation, after ten years residency, was generous and basically sound but there were a few anomalies which need to be addressed and we are working with the Ministry of Social Development on those matters.

We have a firm policy to retain a state-funded, universal, non-means tested pension payable at age 65 years and that is our bottom line. It was a proposal to apply surtax to national superannuation which gave rise to Grey Power more than 30 years ago and we need to be alert to any attempt to dilute what is already a meagre pension.

The Grey Power Federation would rather not get into a fight with Government as we achieve much more by working with them on many important issues but there are limits to what we will tolerate. If it becomes necessary to mount another public campaign like the anti-surtax campaign to protect national superannuation in the lead up to next years general election we will. Hopefully it won’t come to that.

Tom O'Connor
Former National President
Grey Power Federation

Tom O’ConnorTom O’Connor

While the Grey Power Federation does not yet have a formal policy on the ownership and allocation of freshwater we have written to Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith on the issue of affordability of water for home use. The debate on the ownership of freshwater has been surrounded by so much myth and guesswork that an informed public conversation is now all but impossible.

Only the debate on 1080, can rival the water ownership question for entrenched opinion, grandstanding and orchestrated mis-information.

While successive governments have given an assurance that “no one owns water” the difference between that official position and the reality of commercial exploitation is vast. Todays regional councils, and a range of local authorities before them, have been allocating water for domestic use, agriculture and industry in various parts of the country for more than half a century. However questions are now asked about acceptability of commercial extraction of freshwater as a tradeable commodity. There are, at present, about 70 water bottling companies providing water both in New Zealand and a growing export market. These companies don’t buy the water as our regional councils are not authorised to sell it, but they onsell it at significant profit.

The same applies to irrigation companies which take water from rivers or aquifers, without charge under a range of consent conditions imposed by regional councils, and provide it a cost to surrounding farmers. These companies also make significant profits.

The law does not allow regional councils to place meaningful constraints on the extraction and commercial exploitation of freshwater and there appears to be an expectation if not an actual instruction, to facilitate as much water extraction for agriculture as possible.

Adding to the complexity and heat of the argument is the lack of reliable information on the demands of Maori. A Waitangi Tribunal ruling, in 2012, that Maori have traditional rights and interests in water guaranteed by the Treaty of Waitangi, created ill-informed outrage among those who never took the time to find out exactly what the finding means.

When considering the Maori claim, the tribunal found that those rights were equivalent to ownership under the treaty and that there was an expectation that the water would be shared with Pakeha settlers. The tribunal’s recommendations are not binding on the government and can be ignored.

There are important also legal issues attached to Maori claims to water ownership.

The first is the guarantees given to Maori in Article Two of the Treaty of Waitangi which says, in both Maori and English that Maori could retain everything they owned unless they were willing to part with it. This was not a unique or particularly radical promise but was an assurance that existing property rights would be honoured and that the Crown would not assume ownership of anything. That right has existed in British law since the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215.

When the first Europeans arrived in the late 1700s two of the first commodities they traded for with Maori for were fire wood and fresh water, for which they paid trinkets, steel tools and, later, muskets. Ownership was clearly recognised and accepted by both parties to those transactions.

Irrigation companies can be said to own the water they take for free from rivers or, aquifers and on-sell it to farmers. They can keep that water if they choose or trade it for shares in the company or in almost any way that suits both parties. Bottled water in supermarkets is obviously owned for the purpose of sale; ownership is clearly established. It is ownership in everything but name.

The most important consideration is the difference between common or communal ownership of natural resources and commercial exploitation and how those differences impact on the rest of the community.

It is safe to assume that freshwater, which can be claimed as belonging to everyone, is in fact an unowned communal resource unless it is used for commercial exploitation. At that point the community, including Maori, should demand recognition of their rights way of payment and meaningful restraints.

For Grey that means we will seek assurances that water will always be affordable and available for domestic use before any other purpose.

Tom O'Connor
Former National President
Grey Power Federation

Tom O’ConnorTom O’Connor

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.

Tom O'Connor
Former National President
Grey Power Federation

Tom O’ConnorTom O’Connor

There have been some developments with two very important issues for Grey Power members and we now need to be very careful how we progress them from here.

The first is the ongoing debate about medical cannabis and what we should be doing for our members who need or want these products. In discussions with the Ministry of Health we have now established a very clear distinction between pharmaceuticals professionally produced from cannabis and raw cannabis plants for smoking or including in home-made food products.

Processed cannabis based medicines are already legal in New Zealand but they are strictly controlled by the Ministry of Health and available only on prescription by a doctor. There is a case to make more of these products available and to have Government funding for them as we have for other medical products. We will be having high level negotiations with Government on that matter.

Home grown cannabis for self-medication or smoking is illegal and we see no benefit for our members in attempting to change that. Other community groups are free to pursue that matter if they wish but Grey Power will not be involved.

The second important issue is the complex problem of direct deductions from New Zealand superannuation for those people or their partners who receive state funded pensions from other countries. Under Section 70 of the Social Welfare Act all New Zealand benefits and national superannuation are reduced by the value of an overseas, state funded, pension. Where national superannuation is paid to a couple their joint incomes, either from New Zealand sources, 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.

We spent some time recently in discussions with Ministry of Social Development officials and they explained 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. The intention of the deductions is to prevent people coming to New Zealand with a high value off shore pension, living here for ten years and collecting two pensions. That is called double dipping and we support Government efforts to prevent that from happening. We are also aware that, in a very few cases, there is an element of unfairness involved and we will be having further discussions with Government on that matter.

In the meantime the Legalise Cannabis Party has sought Grey Power assistance with their campaigns to make home grown cannabis legal and the newly established New Zealand Seniors Party has asked Grey Power to join them in overturning the Section 70 of the Social Welfare Act. We will not and indeed cannot become involved with either group. To do so would jeopardise our credibility as an objective and nonaligned lobby group.

These groups are free to pursue whatever campaigns they wish and individual Grey Power members are equally free to join them but they cannot do so under the Grey Power banner. As the general election gets closer there will no doubt be attempts to persuade Grey Power Associations to join one or both of these groups but affiliation to the Grey Power Federation prevents associations from getting involved with them.

Please be very cautious if you are approached by them and call the Federation office or me directly if you need advice or assistance.

Tom O'Connor
Former National President
Grey Power Federation

Tom O’ConnorTom O’Connor

With local body elections being held on October 8 it is timely to remind all members that one of our most important objectives is to improve the affordability of rates.

We have had a number of ideas and suggestions presented for our consideration and we have had long and detailed debates on most of them. Most of the ideas we have considered had merit, a few were simply unworkable and all were the result of many hours of hard work and investigation by dedicated people. We have also had discussions with Local Government New Zealand on a wide range of ways to keep rates down without compromising the provision of essential facilities and services.

There are no easy or single solutions but we have recently been presented with an additional and very serious complication.

The Government has introduced a Bill to Parliament which, if passed into law, will remove much of our right and ability to have any say at all in how our local bodies operate. The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) includes a proposal to extend the powers of the Local Government Commission to re-structure district councils without consultation with rate payers.

That means in effect 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. Government interference which resulted the Auckland Super City experiment and commissioners to replace the elected Canterbury Regional Council back in 2010, have only served to push rates up and reduce efficiency. This new proposal would also make it near to impossible for ratepayers to control or even influence the cost of local government.

While we don’t always agree with our local councils we must not lose the right to have our own local government and to elect who we want to represent us locally.

We have made a submission to the Select Committee considering the Bill and given our support to Local Government New Zealand which has opposed the Bill.

Tom O'Connor
Former National President
Grey Power Federation

Tom O’ConnorTom O’Connor

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.

Tom O'Connor
Former National President
Grey Power Federation

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