Thursday, May 08, 2014

‘In the interests of all New Zealanders’

In a speech to Grey Power today, Labour Leader David Cunliffe declared that, “My promise to you is that we will work together in the interests of all New Zealanders, old and young alike.” That’s the gist of the policies Labour has announced so far, but particularly for older New Zealanders.

Today David Cunliffe announced that the Labour government elected in September will establish an Aged Care Commissioner to investigate claims of elder abuse, neglect and financial mismanagement. This has been sought by advocates for the aged for many years now.

“Labour,” he said, “is also committed to eventual pay parity for nurses and caregivers working in the aged care sector.” The fact that these workers are so awfully underpaid has been a national disgrace.

Labour has already committee to raising the minimum wage in its first 100 days in government. This, too, will help the poorly-paid aged-care workers.

Labour is committed to helping older Kiwis stay in their homes: “A little bit of help can make the difference between staying safely at home or being forced to move to a rest home,” Cunliffe said. “Labour says that everyone should have the support they need to stay safe and well in their own home for as long as they choose. And it should be their choice. Not one dictated by health cuts signed off by the current National Government.”

Labour also plans transparency and honesty in superannuation. They will fully fund the “Cullen Fund”, which the current government cut. But to make superannuation sustainable for the long term, they also propose to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67 by increasing the eligibility age by two months a year from 2020 to 2032. This will affect me—delaying my retirement—but I’m all for it. There have been concerns about raising the age, and David Cunliffe addressed that, too:
We recognise that there some are people who won’t be able to sustain work in their normal occupations until they are 67, and who will personally and financially need superannuation from the age of 65. We recognise that there are real concerns for people in manual work, or from communities whose life expectancy, on average, is currently lower. This is why we are also introducing an exemption for these people set at the same level as NZ Super and starting at 65.
David Cunliffe concluded,
We will build a wealthy New Zealand, a New Zealand that is owned by New Zealanders and is run in the interests of all New Zealanders – not just the privileged few.

We will build a country where your kids and grandkids have all of the opportunities they need to stay in New Zealand, to have good jobs, own their own homes, raise their families and grow old with security.

This is my vision. It’s a good and simple vision. A vision where people matter most. It’s what New Zealanders deserve.
I agree. And it’s why so many of us are working to change the government. It’s because we all need it.

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