Friday, 12 March 2010


We were not surprised to see that Steven Joyce is looking to review the free travel for pensioners that was championed by Winston Peters.

Now we are all for making the lot of oldies as comfy as possible. But its about time we redefined old.

Now we went to lunch with a bunch of 60 - 65 year olds earlier this week. They aren't old. Definitely showing signs of excessive wear and tear but not old. One was some computer guru and was flat out on his iphone. The other was an ex merchant navy captain. One was ex PR and the birthday boy was a landlord and book keeper. They all have lived a bit and by hell they still are.

Now BB's ma and pa are closing in on 70 and 70 plus. Are they old? hmm probably best described as oldish. Rickety Hoons who sleep a bit more than they used to.

Now Joyces dilemma is that due to the popularity of the travel subsidy of $18 million and the growing numbers of those eligible, the budget is about to blow out like a fat girl after a feed of cabbage.

We reckon its about time to up the ante on the eligibility.

To 70.

Nice round figure and for some reason the age where people get oldish.

Now according to statistics there are abut 384 thousand people older than 70.

And there are 173 thousand between 65- 69.

But the really scary thing is there are 226 thousand between 60 and 64. And other big dollup between 50 and 60.

So its pretty obvious the budget will be blown to smithereens if the criteria stays the same.

But there would be big savings if they shift the criteria out to 70. Its time we, as a nation, recognised that old isn't old anymore - 65 is still pretty young and 70 is just getting oldish.

We are currently riding the Wairarapa train and as its an off peak its full of cottontops and we overheard a few talking about the possible changes. Those who are eligible dont want it to go but those who havent got it yet can see the sense in it being raised. Its easier not to give than take away.

So those who are already eligible should retain that eligibility but those who are not yet 65 should now have to wait till they are 70.

Its a big change but one we have to make in light of the big bubble of an aging population that will impact on the countries economy soon.

However, we think that the subsidy is a great thing. We have seen people widen their horizons with a bit of free travel. The 65 plus demographic have seen out wars and paid their taxes with the full expectation that those taxes would provide a goodly sum to live on in their dotage.

And we owe it to them to ensure that they can.


Anonymous said...

Isn't public transport subsidised? Hence, if it is correct to say that no additional train/bus/ferry services are put on to cater for the demand from the oldies, this seems to me a simple transference of subsidy from one part of the budget to another; who cares in other words, let this continue. I catch a ferry on occasion, e.g. yesterday to connnect with the train to Eden Park; it is great to see the service being used more, and I suspect that the opportunity for getting out at moderate cost might improve the health of the oldies and hence potentially reduce costs elsewhere.

Cactus Kate said...

You see here is where you are in danger BB of being booted from the VRWC.

Why are oldies entitled to this in the first place?

Why not free flights on airlines? Seems like a natural extension.

Every seat taken up by an oldie on your full train is a seat the train cannot sell on the market. Students get a discount, children get half fares...beneficiaries are using money that taxpayers gave them in the first place.

I mean how many people on public transport are actually paying for it themselves?

The oldies have left NZ with a legacy of debt and poor infrastructure. They overspent on welfare and other mad arse schemes that young people now pay for.

And the bastards want free travel?


Good idea Roarprawn.
Trouble is, National might be accused of pennypinching.
I am sure there are major savings elsewhere that can be made.
There's little point upsetting people over a few million dollars.

H Stewart said...

You are swo right, it would be a step backwards to see it dumped. I have 2 ninty year old friends who have a life again because of Peters policy. A lot of my approching 65 years friend have no intention of retiring. The whole 65 super age needs to be looked at

Anonymous said...

Must agree that 70 is an age that reflects todays aged ..

Turning 71 on the 14th..

Still pulling a wage of over $70K in a physical job.

The " Super " what is left after tax, is all pure cream :-))