Christine Tuffnell
Christine Tuffnell

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

Here we are and two months already gone of 2020!
It’s a busy time for our office with member renewals and new members.
Our “Out and About” volunteers will be out in the community over March and April
bringing the opportunity to renew membership or join up in a range of community
locations. See details later in this magazine.
We had a very successful Members Forum at the end of November and there is a
report on the issues discussed in this magazine. We will hold another Members
Forum after our AGM in April.
Your committee remains concerned about the planned sale of council-owned
pensioner housing.
We are not assured that there are sufficient protections in place for existing tenants
and also worry about the future for low income older people gaining access to social
housing. The Hon. Kris Faafoi,
Associate Minister of Housing, has replied to our concerns raised about tenants
transitioning from council-owned housing to public housing:
“ The main subsidy available to public housing providers is the Income Related Rent
Subsidy (IRRS).
I can confirm that local councils are ineligible to receive IRRS but if management or
ownership of local council housing is transferred to a trust who is a registered
Community Housing Provider (CHP) the CHP would be eligible for IRRS.” Properties
which house pre-existing tenants would however only be eligible for IRRS when the
tenancy ends. Tenants who are allocated according to Council criteria have not been
allocated through the required assessment process. A standardized needs
assessment via the Ministry of Social Development would need to be undertaken
where priority is given to highest housing need.
Nelson Grey Power, in December, wrote asking Nelson City Council to reconsider its
decision to sell and at the time of writing this report we are waiting for a substantive
reply.
We get a number of members approaching us with concerns relating to Retirement
Villages and lack of avenues for residents to express their concerns. This edition of
the magazine includes an article from the
NZ Retirement Villages Residents Association which is one possible source of
information and advice for residents.
New Zealand has a new Retirement Commissioner – Peter Cordtz. In contrast to
those previously in this role, in the three-yearly review of retirement income policies
he said the cost of the universal payments to retirees was sustainable for the next
30 years, citing Treasury projections.
“There are other options that government should address in the nearer term and
that are more pressing than changes to age of eligibility,” Cordtz said.
Of the 774 public submissions the review received, many raised concern over the
super policy being wiped and its insufficiency to cover the increasing cost of living.
“This uncertainty is causing unnecessary stress, and we think should be put to bed
so New Zealanders can have certainty that New Zealand Super will provide a stable
level of state support for them to plan around,” Cordtz said.
The government should make clear that New Zealand Super is valued and will be
protected.”
He said Super was good value for money and improved the standard of living for
retirees, so he recommended no changes to it, despite the two previous reviews
recommending increases in the eligibility age.( Radio NZ. NZ Business, 29 January
2020).
Will the Government choose to listen – and with the Parliamentary Elections coming
up in September – will the political parties take the Retirement Commissioner’s
advice?
Nelson Grey Power AGM is on Saturday 18th April – see the poster in this magazine.
We would like to see as many of you there as possible. It is important you
participate in electing your officers and committee for the coming year.
Christine

Comments are closed.