Another group who has championed the rights of older people is Grey Power. Grey Power is a voluntary organization founded in February 1986 by a group of angry Superannuitants protesting against the imposition of a surcharge on New Zealand Superannuation. First started as the Auckland Superannuitants Association, the founders were very vocal in their anger at the surcharge. At that time, there was a media campaign against the Government of the day, so meetings were well publicized and attracted a media presence which meant the movement quickly spread and further Associations formed in other areas. The protest gained momentum and the surcharge was abolished.
Grey Power as a whole is an advocacy group. While the original reason for forming the movement was the opposition to the surcharge on New Zealand Superannuation, Grey Power now work in all matters pertaining to NZ Superannuation, as well as in the areas of Aged Care and Retirement Villages, Energy, Fifty plus, Health and ACC, International treaties, Law and Order, Emergency Management, Transport, Local Bodies and Housing, Retirement Income and Taxation, Social Services and Telecomunications. These areas of importance are allotted to Board subcommittees as National Advisory Groups. Each “NAGs” responsibility is to progress the aims and objectives of Grey Power.
Grey Power continue to meet with and lobby politicians who have the power to determine our future living standards.
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 (net after tax ordinary time weekly wage)
- Rate Rebate Scheme revitalised and more recently extended to include retirement village residents
- 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
- Increased funding for Gloucoma operations
- Annual clothing allowance for grandparents raising grandchildren (In conjunction with Grandparents raising Grandchildren)
- Winter Energy Payment
- Security doors on most Council owned pensioner flats
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.