Grey Power thanks Peters for $20 weekly boost

By Paula Oliver

New Zealand First's agreement to support Labour in Government is set to secure an income boost for superannuitants larger than they would otherwise have received.

Figures calculated by Grey Power - and confirmed by NZ First - show that from April 1 a married couple on New Zealand Superannuation will receive an additional $20.24 a week after tax, or $1052.48 annually.

Without the deal negotiated to support Labour, the annual increase was likely to have been a lower $13.78 a week.

The looming extra income in seniors' pockets has won praise from a life member of Grey Power in a letter of thanks to NZ First leader Winston Peters.

The boost comes from NZ First's efforts to secure a commitment from Labour that the rate of superannuation be set at 66 per cent of average weekly earnings.

It would otherwise have been 65 per cent.

Last year, there was concern among NZ First's key senior citizen constituency that the party had failed to deliver on that deal - but that appears set to change this year.

A single superannuitant sharing a home is set to get an income boost of $12.14 a week, while a single person living alone is in line for a $13.16 lift.

Adjustments will also need to be made to bring the veterans' pension into line with the new superannuation rates.

NZ First found itself in a battle with Grey Power last year over the local body rates issue but the lift in super payments could see it win back some favour.

Its efforts to keep the senior constituency onside include MP Doug Woolerton working on a private member's bill that addresses rebates for non-qualifying spouses.

Negotiations are also continuing with businesses to offer discounts to people holding the Supergold concession card for seniors, but little detail is being given away on how the process is shaping up.

A NZ First spokesman said the negotiations were commercially sensitive, but were progressing well.

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