Anna is a reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Grey Power petition against SuperGold Card changes


Tauranga Grey Power members will be among those presenting a petition to Parliament today to halt the changes to the SuperGold Card by the Government.

However, MP Simon Bridges is adamant the changes will not have any negative ramifications.

Former Tauranga Grey Power president Christina Humphreys started the petition, which had been signed by 4000 people, six weeks ago.

"[Younger people] will want the Gold card and the pension when you get to that age. If we don't do the fighting now you won't have it.''
Grey Power's Christina Humphreys

She travelled to Wellington yesterday to give the petition to New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters who would present it to Senior Citizens Minister Maggie Barry in Parliament.

The Government wants to replace the current system of reimbursing rgional councils per SuperGold bus trip to a capped $28.1 million bulk funding model.

The petition requests that no change be made and that the capped bulk funding model be examined to ensure the SuperGold Card free off-peak scheme was adequately funded and appropriately resourced by central government, as opposed to regional council funding.

"At two o'clock it will be presented from Parliament, so we can watch from the gallery and see what debate goes on about it," said Mrs Humphreys.

She hoped for "a good showing" by Grey Power members of all ages.

"[Younger people] will want the Gold card and the pension when you get to that age. If we don't do the fighting now you won't have it."

The petitioners also wanted the SuperGold Card to be a smartcard, with photo identification, because many of those utilising the card no longer had their driver's licence for identification.

Mr Bridges said there had been no changes to entitlements for SuperGold card holders, and the funding adjustments were to ensure best value for money.

"The Government wrapped funding for the SuperGold card scheme into recent changes to the overall public transport funding model. Card holders can continue to use their SuperGold cards as they always have," Mr Bridges said.

"The Government has mandated that councils will need to transition to smartcards eventually but made the decision to leave it entirely up to each council to decide on timing for implementation for their regions."

He said the Government understood there were no plans to introduce a smartcard in Tauranga.

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