- John Collyns – Retirement Villages Assn
- Sharnie Warren – Grey Power Electricity CEO
- Dr Suzy Morrissey – Director of Policy-Retirement Commission
- Rachel O’Connor – Lead Advisor to the Race Relations Commission and to the HRC
- Carolyn Cooper – Aged Care Commissioner
- Guest Dinner Speaker Wed 27th – Via Video – Minister of Seniors (See President’s Chat)
- President’s Report (See President’s Chat)
POLICY REMITS PASSED
REMIT 7: Investment policy for board funds
That the AGM endorse the Board’s ability to invest up to 50% of reserve funds in balanced or conservative managed funds available through approved New Zealand Kiwisaver investment management companies, with a maximum of $100,000 invested with any single approved investment manager.
Explanation: To date reserve funds of the Federation have been invested in term deposits at KiwiBank, earning interest significantly less than the CPI annually. This means that the current day value of the invested funds has been reducing over time. While there is no bank guarantee for deposits at New Zealand banks, the government has legislation to introduce a new deposit bank guarantee scheme planned for 2023. The maximum guarantee would be $100,000 deposit per institution.
REMIT 8: Senior housing financial support
- North Shore/Waitakere
That Grey Power lobby the Government to provide specific financial support to local authorities to develop Council-owned senior housing.
Explanation: To ensure that Councils maintain adequate social housing for seniors, especially in this current time of housing inadequacy and spiralling rental costs.
Remit 10: Zone boundary review
That a Working Group be commissioned by the Board to review the boundaries and number of Zones in the Grey Power Federation with final recommendations presented to the 2023 AGM for ratification and that each Zone be entitled to one Zone-endorsed delegate on the Working Group and that the Board have up to three nominees.
Explanation: Some Zones are struggling to engage all their member Associations in Zone meetings due to a combination of issues, including distance, poor internet services and the health of some delegates. Zones currently service a disparate number of member Associations.
Five Zones service only five-eight member Associations while two Zones service 17-19 Associations. Three Zones service significantly less than 10% of our membership each (one is less than 3%). In contrast three Zones service 71% of our membership with the largest having 26% of our national membership.
Remit 11: Health System Privatisation
- Whakatane/Papamoa & Districts/Tauranga BOP
That Grey Power lobby to halt the ongoing privatisation of our Health System without a sound economic case for each implementation and corresponding solid evidence of improvement to the health outcomes of New Zealanders
Explanation: Our present health system is undeniably a two-tier system giving preferential access and superior treatment to those that can most afford it, and evidence suggests that it is becoming increasingly privatised (see Remits booklet for full document).
Remit 12: Volunteer Reduction
- Golden Bay/Marlborough
That the Grey Power Board investigate why volunteers have been fewer in number and takes action to address the issue caused by lower volunteer numbers.
Explanation: Volunteering is an activity that many of our members chose to engage in; however, it has become very apparent that fewer seniors are choosing to volunteer. Many organisations are now finding the recruitment and retention of volunteers is becoming more difficult and many, especially charitable organisations, could not function without this willing group of people.
A Grey Power survey on volunteering in New Zealand would highlight the reasons why our seniors are more reluctant to volunteer and if there is an evident solution that we can take to the relevant Ministers to address.
Remit 13: Water Fluoridation Policy
- Mid North
That the Board strikes out the Water Fluoridation Policy (GPNZF Policies 2022, p35 Miscellaneous)
Explanation: Mainstream science strongly supports fluoridation of drinking water to support public oral health. Both the NZ Ministry of Health and the NZ Dental Association advocate strongly for fluoridation. It is especially important for young children to have fluoride supplemented while their teeth are developing. Mainstream science has always supported fluoridation, but some councils have caved into very vocal protesting minorities who promulgate faux facts via social media.
POLICIES: EXISTING OR EXTENSIONS TO ZONE ENDORSED REMITS
Remit 15: Councils’ Pensioner Housing
- Napier & Districts
That the AGM instruct the Federation to lobby central Government to enable local councils to access the Income Related Rent Subsidies (IRRS) for their pensioner and social housing tenants; and that the Federation Board report back to all Associations on the outcomes of their lobbying efforts within 90 days of the adoption of this Remit if possible.
Explanation: For the last part of the 20th century many Councils built pensioner cottages in complexes established under a successful partnership between local and central Government in which low-interest loans were made available to Councils for this purpose. While the housing stock was relatively new, the rental income maintained the homes. However, now, decades on, significant investment is required.
Remit 16: Funding for dental work
- Golden Bay/Motueka
That Grey Power lobby the Health Minister to provide a mechanism for funding essential, but affordable, dental work for those on low and/or fixed incomes to prevent deterioration and subsequent increased expense.
Explanation: At present the government funds less than half a percent of the dental care spend in New Zealand for seniors. This seems inadequate. Our Association has members on low incomes who don’t get essential dental work done due to the expense involved. Multiple DHBs have recorded a rise in the number of people turning up at emergency departments with urgent dental issues (One News).
There also appears to be an association with increased risk of multiple gastric problems and dementia when adequate dental hygiene is not available – www.mia.nih.gov
Rural patients can be particularly disadvantaged by difficulty of access and lack of competition for private dental work, a problem which could be ameliorated by adequate funding for these patients. We urge support from Grey Power to get behind the Dental Association’s efforts to bring dental care funding up to the level of other medical programmes to ensure that prevention becomes the standard for such treatments instead of possible damage occurring through unaffordability.
Committee & National Advisory Group reports: These are available and can be supplied on request.