Providing for our future

Column Articles
Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A challenge that we will face in the near future is providing for our aging population. The number of people over 65 is predicted to double over the next 20 years to around 1.2 million, placing demands on our health system and services.

So how can we ensure that our seniors are well-supported in their twilight years? Given it’s a question of money, we need to start with a stable, growing economy.

The Trans Pacific Partnership was agreed to last month – it progressively removes most tariffs between twelve countries accounting for 36 percent of the world economy and connects us to 800 million potential customers. It’ll be worth $2.8 billion each year to our national economy when fully implemented.

If we boil it down to the Bay, the TPP will benefit the average kiwifruit orchard grower $6,000 each year, amounting to $15 million for the industry.

Behind these figures are businesses that will be better off, employing more staff, and families with higher incomes. That means that the country will be better placed to provide care for our seniors.

Under National our seniors have benefitted well. Despite the challenge of a recession and the Canterbury earthquake, we’ve increased superannuation by 31 percent since taking office, well ahead of inflation. We are committed to keeping the age of entitlement at 65, and the rate will remain at 66 percent of the average wage.

The average wage is now $57,000 – that’s $10,000 more than when National came to office in 2008 – and seniors benefit with that.

After all, the value that our seniors bring to our communities is phenomenal and we must recognise that. A report this year showed that seniors contribute around $8.5 billion in unpaid and voluntary work to our communities – that will rise to $35 billion by 2051.

Our seniors are a blessing and we need you. In turn we’ll keep the wheels of the economy moving to ensure the books balance in the future.

I wish you and your families all a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!