The National Party

The New Zealand National Party has lead the New Zealand government for the past 7 years. Under the helm of Prime Minister Bill English the National Government plans to sustain and build on the growth we have experienced under their government. Lets take a look at some of their policies directly impact to the older sector of the New Zealand pubic.

Superannuation:

Prime Minister Bill English announced the National Party will go into the election with a policy of lifting the age of entitlement for NZ Super from 65 to 67 starting in 20 years’ time. Under their policy, the age of entitlement for NZ Super increases by six months each year from July 2037 until it reaches 67 in July 2040. This means everyone born on or after 1 January 1974 will be eligible for NZ Super from age 67.
Other settings such as indexing NZ Super to the average wage and universal entitlement without means testing will remain unchanged.
National’s policy also proposes doubling the residency requirements for NZ Super to ensure applicants have lived in New Zealand for 20 years, with five of those after the age of 50. People who are already citizens or residents will remain eligible under the existing rules.

Housing:

National has a package of measures underway to address the challenge of housing supply and affordability.
Their package includes:

  • Creating special housing areas in high demand areas across New Zealand to fast-track the building of homes.
  • A $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund to accelerate new housing in the high-demand areas where it’s needed most. The new fund will focus squarely on financing infrastructure like roads and water needed to support new housing.
  • Setting up independent Urban Development Authorities to speed up housing development in high-demand areas – they’ve proved successful in many other countries.
  • Reforming the Resource Management Act to make it easier for councils and developers to get houses consented and built.
  • Tightened rules to ensure people buying and selling property for profit pay their fair share of tax.
  • Requiring Councils to ensure land supply for housing keeps pace with growth.
  • Passed legislation to restrict Council development charges to reduce the cost of building.

They believe that the best way to address housing affordability is to build more houses and build them faster and we have a programme underway to help make this happen.
“We will not allow unresponsive planning and slow infrastructure development to lock New Zealanders out of much-needed housing.
National also has a comprehensive programme of work underway around social and emergency housing to ensure people can get help when they need it most.
Our focus will continue to be on addressing this housing challenge and helping New Zealanders and their families get ahead.”

Healthcare:

National believes New Zealanders deserve high-quality health services and delivering better services remains our top priority. In 2016/17, a record $16.1 billion will be invested into health.
700,000 New Zealanders aged 60 to 74 will be screened for bowel cancer once our national bowel screening programme is fully implemented. Around 3,000 New Zealanders are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year and it’s one of New Zealand’s leading causes of death.
ACC is investing $31 million over four years to support new and existing initiatives aimed at preventing falls and resulting injuries. A record 167,188 elective surgeries were delivered last year – 50,000 more than in 2009. Of those 70,130 were for over 65s, which is 42 per cent.

Immigration:

The Government is also proposing a number of changes to temporary migration settings to manage the number and settlement expectations of new migrants coming to New Zealand on Essential Skills work visas.

The changes include:

  • The introduction of remuneration bands to determine the skill level of an Essential Skills visa holder, which would align with the remuneration thresholds being introduced for Skilled Migrant Category applicants
  • The introduction of a maximum duration of three years for lower-skilled and lower-paid Essential Skills visa holders, after which a minimum stand down period will apply before they are eligible for another lower-skilled temporary work visa.
  • Aligning the ability of Essential Skills visa holders to bring their children and partners to New Zealand with the new skill levels.
  • Exploring which occupations have a seasonal nature and ensuring that the length of the visa aligns with peak labour demand.

“I want to make it clear that where there are genuine labour or skills shortages, employers will be able to continue to use migrant labour to fill those jobs. However, the Government has a Kiwis first approach to immigration and these changes are designed to strike the right balance between reinforcing the temporary nature of Essential Skills work visas and encouraging employers to take on more Kiwis and invest in the training to upskill them”

Aged Care:

National has supported seniors’ health by increasing funding for aged residential care by $250 million while in Government. They’ve invested $76.1 million in Budget 2015 to improve hospice and palliative care. Also, they’ve increased the rest-home bed subsidy by $10 million a year from 1 October 2014—a 5 per cent increase.

About Eve Williams

Eve Williams is the Content Developer and Social Media Administration for Eldernet. She is currently studying towards her Masters at the University of Canterbury. She has a passion for learning new things.