Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Seniors' Super Gold Card could be clipped

The "ghost" rising from the grave is New Zealand First Party leader Winston Peters, who lost his seat in Parliament in the last election. It was he who introduced the Super Gold Card for seniors (those aged 65 and over), who can get free trips on public transport if they produce it.

On March 11, 2010, an article by Duncan Garner, of TV3 News, reported:

The Government is looking at cutting back the free ferry and bus trips offered to pensioners through the Super Gold Card.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce says the card will remain but it's exceeding the budget, and the former political leader behind the card is furious.

The Super Gold Card gives the elderly free off peak travel. It's been so popular it has blown the Government's budget.

“The Government of the day didn't understand or know the demand — it was an educated guess,” says Mr Joyce.

Two million dollars alone has been spent on the Waiheke Ferry from a total budget of $18 million.

So the services — the free off peak travel and other subsidies on offer — are now under review.

The Gold Card was Winston Peter’s idea — his reaction is unsurprising.

“Penny pinching behind closed doors,” is how Mr Peters referred to it.

At the time of writing, I think I have used my Super Gold Card only once — to take the bus into town.

The cartoon is from the Manawatu Standard of March 17, 2010.

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