President’s Report May 2018

April 30, 2018

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.

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.


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.
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

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