Grey Power gets to hear elec­tion prom­ises

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By MARY-JO TO­HILL

Grey Power Cen­tral Otago mem­bers may beat a path to Na­tion­alMP Jac­qui Deans’ door if her party gets re-elected this month, to hold her to the elec­tion prom­ise that the Gov­ern­ment will invest more into their health care.

At a fo­rum to meet Waitaki elec­toral can­di­dates at Alexan­dra on Mon­day hosted by Grey Power, some mem­bers ex­pressed their con­cerns about health sec­tor cuts.

Deans said that with New Zealand’s age­ing pop­u­la­tion, the Gov­ern­ment had in­vested $1.55 bil­lion into care of the el­derly over the last six years, since its elec­tion in 2008.

Last week, Na­tional an­nounced it would pump a fur­ther $40 mil­lion into this area, with the ex­tra funds to in­crease rest-home bed sub­si­dies by 5 per cent from Oc­to­ber 1, and pro­vide fur­ther support for de­men­tia care.

She also said new clin­i­cal test­ing would be made avail­able to as­sess the needs of el­derly, and she urged peo­ple to con­tact her if they knew of ‘‘some­one who needed help’’.

As well as in­creas­ing elec­tive surg­eries, Deans said Na­tional had ear-marked an ad­di­tional $50 mil­lion to go into pain man­age­ment and to in­crease mo­bil­ity and in­de­pen­dence. ‘‘Green Pre­scrip­tions’’, which were sub­sidised by the gov­ern­ment, would also help f pre­vent health prob­lems, she said.

As a grand­mother ap­proach­ing su­per­an­nu­a­tion age, Labour can­di­date Glenda Alexan­der said she felt sym­pa­thy for older peo­ple ‘‘try­ing to sur­vive’’ be­cause of high heat­ing and liv­ing costs, there­fore health and aged care were a strong party fo­cus.

A cut in the al­lo­ca­tion of hours for aged-care work­ers, their low wages and work-load was of con­cern to many Grey Power mem­bers, a prob­lem that ‘‘had no magic an­swer’’, but war­ranted a re­view, Con­ser­va­tive party mem­ber Don­ald Aubrey said

‘‘It makes plain eco­nomic sense to keep el­derly peo­ple at home for as long as they can.’’ Greens can­di­date Sue Coutts said this was also a party man­date ‘‘to pro­vide a high level of home support’’ and to stop the ‘‘ca­su­al­i­sa­tion’’ of aged-care work­ers, who were dip­ping into their own pock­ets, for in­stance us­ing their own cars and re­sources, to help the el­derly.

Grey Power mem­bers were re­minded that while the elec­tion day was on Satur­day Septem­ber 20, vot­ing of­fi­cially started to­day.

Democrats for So­cial Credit, Hes­sel Van

Wieren

Na­tional, Jac­qui Deans

Labour, Glenda

Alexan­der

Con­ser­va­tive, Don­ald Aubrey

Greens, Sue Coutts

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