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SuperGold benefits for travel, hearing aids

Friday 23 May 2008, 4:40PM

By Rt Hon Winston Peters

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SuperGold Card holders will reap the rewards of government enhancements in this year’s Budget, Associate Minister of Senior Citizens Winston Peters announced today.

“Budget 2008 contains $72 million over four years to provide free off-peak travel for SuperGold Card holders on all forms of public transport, and $18 million over four years to fund a significant increase in the subsidy for hearing aids,” Mr Peters said.

“Free off-peak travel on public transport will ensure SuperGold Card holders enjoy far greater access to their local communities. Buses, trains and ferries are a critical means of getting about for many of our seniors, and this step will ensure that cost will no longer be a barrier for their travel plans,” he said.

Land Transport New Zealand and the Ministry of Transport are currently working with regional councils and transport providers to implement this policy and more details on launch dates will be released as they become available. There has been a positive response from all those involved and a commitment to deliver on the programme as soon as possible.

“Hearing aids are also an increasingly helpful item for many seniors as they try to maintain their quality of life. The subsidy for hearing aids will increase from $198 to $500 from 1 October (GST inclusive) for SuperGold Card holders 65 and over. Increasing the subsidy will improve access to, and the affordability of, hearing aids.

“We are working with the government on a second round of enhancements, which will include rebates on power when electricity enters the Emissions Trading Scheme.

“Thanks to the huge support from businesses, New Zealand’s SuperGold Card offers more than similar cards in several Australian states. The additional government subsides announced today mean that New Zealand’s seniors are now starting to get the recognition they deserve,” Mr Peters said.

The Budget allocations add to the baselines of Vote Transport (for public transport) and Vote Health (for hearing aids), and cover the next four years and out years.