Australia's "silver nomads" holidaying in New Zealand will enjoy discounts on goods and services many of their Kiwi counterparts of the same age will miss out on under a new reciprocal arrangement for SuperGold Card holders.
Senior Citizens Minister John Carter said the new arrangement meant New Zealand's SuperGold and Australia's state and territory Seniors Card holders could get discounts when travelling in each other's countries.
Mr Carter said 70,000 Australian seniors travelled to New Zealand each year, spending $131 million while they are here.
"The arrangement will encourage more Aussies to head over and bolster our tourism industry."
But Australia's Seniors Card is available to most Australians over 60 while New Zealanders, in most cases, have to wait until the age of 65 to qualify for a SuperGold Card.
That means Australians between the age of 60 and 65 will enjoy discounts both in New Zealand and Australia that Kiwis of the same age can not.
Neither the Seniors Card nor the SuperGold Card can be used for state or central government funded travel discounts outside their home market.
The brain behind the SuperGold Card, NZ First leader Winston Peters, said the new reciprocal arrangement was "not a very meaningful change".
"It will help some people."
Mr Peters said the ability for Australian visitors to secure discounts at an earlier age than New Zealanders was "hardly a case of active discrimination".
"It's two nations with a different policy on age."
Australia is gradually raising its age of entitlement for superannuation but receipt of a pension is not a prerequisite for gaining a Senior Card in New South Wales or Queensland.
The reciprocal scheme will not cover government or state-funded initiatives, such as free off-peak travel for SuperGold cardholders in New Zealand, and the discounts will be met by businesses that voluntarily opted into the scheme.
Arrangements will be finalised over the next few months.
Available to most Aussies over 60
* Discounts of up to 50 % and deals on accommodation, clothing, car rental etc.
* Available to most Kiwis over 65
* Discounts up to 50% from 1300 Card business partners, with 5600 outlets nationwide.By Adam Bennett Email Adam