New SuperGold cardDeputy Prime Minister
It is a pleasure to see you all here today.
Ladies and Gentlemen the picture on the screen is the very first SuperGold Card we had.
The delivery of this card – card 001 – was a watershed moment just as today is a watershed moment.
Today’s event is what it looks like when a government delivers on its promises.
We promised you a new SuperGold card in the last election campaign.
We made the SuperGold Card upgrade part of the Coalition Agreement.
We obtained funding for the new the SuperGold card in the Budget 2019.
And today we are launching the SuperGold card.
We promised it, and today we are launching and delivering it
There is an old saying “the Kumara doesn’t say how sweet it is” – but sometimes it should.
Taking a good idea and making it so much better is something we can’t and shouldn’t hide from.
It speaks for itself.
What you see today is not just window-dressing, it’s more than a revamp, it’s taking the SuperGold card to the next level.
It’s not been an easy road to protect the spending power of our seniors.
For over 30 years I have been advocating for your interests, and to stop the many attacks on the security of your retirement income.
There were past governments who treated our senior citizens as second class citizens.
My political party doesn’t forget, and none of us should forget the tawdry history of your income being kicked around. That is something you all remember, and is something our young should learn.
Back in the late 1980s political parties started means testing retirement income, or promised to remove means testing but instead put it up to at its worse 92 cents in the dollar.
It’s a long time now but many of you remember the Mother of All Budgets in 1991.
Then political parties also acted with all the cynicism of a cartel.
In 1993, they tried to take the issue off the electoral agenda by mutually agreeing to index super to 65% of the average wage. Only one political party was opposed to that – and you are looking at it.
And then there was the sorry saga after Jenny Shipley rolled Jim Bolger as Prime Minister. She then in 1998 drove super down to 60 percent of the average wage.
Two months prior, and as coalition partners, we told Mrs Shipley if she did that the coalition would be over. That threat to senior citizens was one of the principle reasons why the National-New Zealand First Coalition ended.
We vowed to always fight for seniors who had spent a lifetime of paying taxes but were seeing their super eroded. The Helen Clark government restored super back to 65 percent but by 2005 the value of your retirement income slipped to 63.28% of the average wage.
So when my party was in government in 2005 we represented the interests of our seniors by taking the level of the superannuation index up to 66% of the average wage.
And then pushed for what was known then the SuperGold card as a way of stretching seniors’ incomes further.
This card came into existence in 2007.
You can’t suppress a good idea.
But sadly our super card and its benefits were allowed to slip into a state of neglect over a nine year period under the last National lead government.
The previous government argued that even if a senior citizen had paid a lifetime of taxes it was too expensive to expand the benefits of the super gold card. You all remember that.
And Steven Joyce in effect cut the public transport benefits by capping transport benefits at a time when the retired population was increasing.
What a load of facile argument we have had to witness from previous governments.
In contrast, nothing has changed with my party. The income of our seniors has to be protected. And that is why we are all here today.
We have taken the SuperGold card to the next level.
It has been modernised and it has a new supercharged buying power.
And this includes the App that gives you the smart way to use senior buying power to get the best deals – to your mutual benefit.
Over the last three months your Seniors Minister, Tracy Martin, has been working with business leaders to put this SuperGold package together.
In the last three months 500 new businesses have signed up.
Let us welcome all these business leaders for their participation, and for their recognition of the buying power of seniors.
It means we’ve gone from 180 business partners to more than 5,500 today.
They’re offering cardholders discounts and special offers in over 9,500 locations around New Zealand.
These businesses are helping stretch budgets across all sorts of things, including the many everyday items that people need.
We have harnessed the technology, we have harnessed the business community, and we have served the interests of our seniors.
And it is only just the start.
It’s going to get better.
More businesses are wanting to sign-up to give you greater buying power.
And you again are going to receive the respect you deserve.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the next generation SUPERGOLD CARD.