POLICIES

We expect Government to:

KEEP US SAFE    KEEP US HEALTHY   KEEP US EDUCATED
AND TO LOOK AFTER SENIORS WELLNESS IN THE LATER YEARS
OF THEIR LIVES


“The NZ Seniors Party exists for the common good of all New Zealanders. The activities we support encompass the needs of all New Zealanders but with an emphasis on the needs of seniors. All will get old eventually and what is good for seniors now is good for those that follow and reach that point in time when they also become a senior!”

On SENIORS

We are committed to a campaign to empower and encourage our seniors to engage in an active and fulfilling life style where they can remain independent for as long as they are able. Seniors are to be acknowledged as a critical asset to our communities and will be encouraged to undertake leadership and contributory roles to the betterment of their communities.

• The NZ Seniors Party will boost existing Pensions immediately to provide a ‘Living Wage’    pension for single and married seniors to be raised from below the national poverty line
   to a level equivalent to 80% of the official minimum wage of working New Zealanders
   and to be paid free of tax. In addition, NZ Seniors Party will review for a living Pension
   for Seniors at the point in time when they retire that provides for 80% of the retirees    average salary/pay over the five previous years, from full time employment to
   retirement from full time employment but not less than 80% of the minimum average
   wage for those retirees who opt to retire at 65.
• No fixed date for retirement.
• We will introduce a grant of $20,000 where needed to enable retirees to move into a
   retirement village. This will encourage retirees to move into Villages and free up much   needed housing for young people.
• We will initiate a Ministry and Commissioner for seniors.
• Community roles for seniors.
• Programmes will be available for seniors to enhance their skills and competencies
   particular to our digital era.
• We will review the appropriateness of cost, level of care and standards for aged care
   facilities.

On SENIORS HEALTH

• Increase health funding and review services to cope with the rise in the elderly and the
  demands on the Health system. Analyse aged care demands to assure all aged citizens
   have fair affordable access to their health care needs. Plan for long term sustainable    solutions for aged care; therefore NZ Seniors Party proposes to provide Health and
   Wellness Clinics.
• The NZ Seniors Party proposes the establishment of a national system of health and
   wellness clinics for the ageing, similar in style and operation to post-natal clinics for babies
   and their mothers.
• Nurse practitioners experienced in the relevance health care regimes, with the capacity
  to call on specialist medical care and facilities as necessary, would operate the proposed
   clinics (like the baby clinics).
• Free Hospital car parking.


Comment:
Many health issues affecting older New Zealander’s are the result of very particular lifestyle issues: including diet, exercise, physical and mental degeneration, loneliness etc.

The role of the clinics for the ageing seniors would be to monitor their clients on a regular basis and to provide a point of contact for information and help in living life to the fullest.

There could often be a significant cost saving by dealing with many health issues through these clinics before they become serious and this would take the pressure off costly doctor and hospital services. However, access to special (or specialist) medical help, when needed, would in no way be restricted by the operation of such clinics.

Regular health monitoring is proven to greatly reduce serious health issues in all age groups. With the family home remaining exempt from the residential care assets test, there will be an increasing number of retirees wanting to stay in their own homes, which often isolates them from the care they need.

The aim would be to provide a much better lifestyle outcome for older New Zealander’s.

• All 65 plus citizens to be exempt all GP consultation fees or a maximum of $5-$10.
• Review the increasing practise of Doctors to discuss one medical issue per consultation and
   charging additional fees, for services such as stitches being removed, taking blood pressure
   readings etc.
• Review the need for the number of current DHB administrations to encourage DHB
   amalgamations and cost efficiencies including the number and size of DHB’s
• Return rest homes and care facilities back to State ownership. The investor required
   levels of profit are the causation of poor and often unacceptable practices of care.
   The profit would then be available to pay for implementation of improved standards of care    and in recognising the work done by careers and increase their pay.

On HEALTH GENERALLY

Health must to be affordable, accessible and available to all New Zealanders. We must provide access to healthcare and ensure quality services for all.

In particular we must plan for our burgeoning numbers of seniors as the baby boomers enter this period in their lives. As a cohort this group are demanding an active and healthy lifestyle that is free from medical concerns and where medical issues will be dealt with in a timely manner.

Pertinent to other OECD countries health NZ has declined in recent years and ideally we will want significant improvement in our health rankings to make up for these declined services.

The NZ Seniors Party will:

Increase primary health education into schools targeting low decile areas

• Review management of dental care in schools and plan improvements.
• Manage Health as a Primary Care Service not a business.
• Improve health services and transport to essential health services for rural areas.
• Those with disabilities will be empowered through direct funding to purchase and manage
   their disabilities and services. Review the culture of the ACC Agency in their provision of    services.
• Develop a standardised NZ health insurance policy.
• Review the provision and appropriateness of midwifery services within the community and
   plan for community agreed changes.
• Adequately resource elective surgery.
• Assist with medical training fees, and look at bonding NZ trained medical practitioners
  along with regional service requirements.
• Review Pharmac's operations and the adequacy of pharmaceutical funding.

On EDUCATION:

Education needs to be accessible and available to all New Zealanders.

Acknowledging our fundamental difference to other parties we will listen to the education sector interest groups and in collaboration with them develop a collective plan for education that will ensure the development of new market relevant skills, digital-age cognition and competencies particular to our NZ work force requirements. This will be a partnership venture which will ensure and enable all interested stakeholders a voice and ownership of a united plan moving forward.

We support the fundamental introduction to education for all from pre-school programmes through to tertiary learning. We acknowledge the levels of commitment within this industry and the requirement for the provision of high government level resources.

We will plan for an Education system developing new market relevant skills, digital-age cognition and competencies including the ongoing funding of electronic devices.

• Curriculum for children, young people and existing workforces with training designed to
  close digital skill gaps. All people need the know-how for developing a meaningful human-
  mind and machine-mind digital literacy.
• Planned degree allocation funding.
• Planned progression for bonding and zero fees.
• Review teacher workloads and teacher only days during term time.
• Abolish the current National Standards, children are not expected to achieve at the same
   level at the same time.
• Free swimming lessons for all primary school students.
• Enhance alternative education pathways.
• We support the development of collective regional programmes for the gifted and talented,
  recognising that giftedness is multi-faceted.
• We are strongly opposed to “charter” or “partnership” schools.

On TERTIARY EDUCATION

The whole thrust of the NZ Seniors Party Student Policy is fairness. We are proposing a package of reforms to make the current system more equitable for students regardless of background, and, to enable their pursuit, to be that of excellence. Our goal is to ensure that all barriers to higher education are removed and it is accessible to all.

We have a five-point plan to address current failures in tertiary education.

First, we will overhaul Study Link and take away the mindless bureaucracy that is frustrating so many of our students. Some of the complaints we’ve heard include long wait times, students being cut off while on hold, and even being sent blank letters. This causes undue stress and is simply unacceptable.

The NZ Seniors Party will introduce a new strategic and operational plan for Study Link that treats students equally and with respect. To meet this challenge, we will increase the operational budget of Study Link so it can improve the quality of service.

• Incrementally move towards a zero-fees model for tertiary education.
• Introduce a universal student allowance by abolishing the parental income threshold for
  eligibility.
• Restore eligibility of students aged over 55 to get loans for living costs and/or course-
   related costs.
• Restore post-graduate students’ entitlement to allowances.

Post-election, the NZ Seniors Party will work with experts in the tertiary education field such as the Tertiary Education Union, Iwi, the NZ Union of Student Associations, the Association of Pasifika Staff in Tertiary Education and others to ensure flexible, workable and fair legislation.

On EMPLOYMENT

We seek to equip our future workforce with the opportunities to fully develop and manage the required up-skilling and re-education to protect their futures in our ever changing workforce.

We advocate for a relationship between the worker and employer that is fundamentally fair, flexible, open and transparent. For employers this means they will have workers skilled for the moment so as to improve productivity.

We will identify skill gaps in our economy and rather than import expertise, offer training incentives and preferred degree courses with bonds for zero fees.

We advocate for a fair wage economy that distributes that wealth fairly. Excessively large and unfair wages will be discouraged and that money will be better distributed about the work force.

Research does not support the trickle-down theory. We seek to reduce the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor.

• Creating pathways to prosperity.
• Introduce a living wage.
• Initiate a Ministry for job Creation.
• Planned trades training for a balanced productive workforce.
• First Workforce employment programme for young people with qualifications starting out
  in employment for the first time, for the young with disabilities and the socially disadvan-
  taged.
• New workforce employment programme for over 50’s.
• Job commitment bonus of $2,000 for staying off the benefit for 12 months.
• Introduce pay parity with Australia for essential services ie. Nurses.

On the ECONOMY:

We will develop an economic plan to boost manufacture, trade and exports. Supporting NZ based research and development and focusing on job creation including planned trades training for balanced and productive workforces.

Our current economy fundamentally supports profits at all costs. However; the average New Zealander does not feel a lot better off as many of these profits disappear off- shore. In spite of our economy currently being on a high, the betterment of the average New Zealander has not improved and our youth disappear overseas to get their head start in life.

We will:

• Generate a fair living wage economy.
• Introduce legislation for the implementation of a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT). FTT
  will be a focus following the lead of France, Germany and other European countries with
  an end goal to lower taxation by 20%.
• GST removed from fresh foods, medicine and local body rates.
• Enable ease of access for New Zealand businesses in the international marketplace.
• Guarantee the first $100,000 of investment in New Zealand-owned banks by New Zealander
   based investors.
• Support the development of technology parks.
• Stop the sale of farmland industrial land to foreigners.
• Focus on economic policies that will effectively reduce child poverty and the ever widening
  gap between rich and poor New Zealanders.
• Support research, development and commercialisation initiatives for New Zealand business
  toward not being captured by large corporations and taken off shore .
• Support initiatives for struggling small businesses.
• Review the insidious powers of the IRD, in particular the penalties and interest regimes
  which frequently cause business’s to go into liquidation.
• A period of support and review of continuingviability prior to businesses going into
  liquidation.

On the ENVIRONMENT:

New Zealanders pride themselves on the beauty and cleanness of our natural environment. We define ourselves internationally as clean and green. The NZIC logos colours represent from the land to the sea and we consider our environment as a critical economic asset and tourist magnet that must be maintained.

We intend to stand up and be proactive in respect to maintaining the integrity of this asset. We must conserve the country’s natural and cultural heritage as an international treasure.

On TRANSPORT:

We will ensure that transport developments will be future proofed to enable the development of a sustainable, integrated, safe, efficient and affordable robust transport system, with funding used where the revenue is raised. This will enable equitable development of regional roads so that the majority of funding is not consumed by large metropolitan city transport issues.

• Encourage and extend the development of sustainable transport modes not reliant on
  fossil fuels and encourage a shift away from the reliance on the car as a primary vehicle
  for small trips.
• Fully develop Public transport options across the regions and in particular realistic transport
   options at low risk decile districts that require access to critical services.
• To encourage Electric cycles through the development of safe and proper cycle ways as
  opposed to the current policy of shared use of the existing road networks.
• Begin developing cycle programmes in areas that are potentially high cycle use areas,
  such as inner city environments and school routes.
• Reduce mindless extensions of concrete and asphalt roads and further develop current
   networks in line with emerging safer road technologies.
• Provide for safer routes to schools for children to return to cycling to school and to save
   on early morning congestion (and obesity rates for children) as children are transported
  to school.
• Use emerging technologies to assist in the management of safety on our roads. This will
   include the likes of point to point blue tooth speeding technologies, in-vehicle alcohol
  sensitizers that will disable the vehicle and car backing technologies to prevent driveway
  fatalities.
• Return to community based driver education programmes to enable road safety education   initiatives relevant to localised road safety issues.
• Develop regional roads to enable safe travel for large transporters and the movement of
  stock and rural produce.
• Expand costal shipping and NZ Rail to better manage the movement of large and heavy
  product.
• To raise all road user charges (taxes) at the pump and remove the burden of
   unnecessary bureaucracy currently associated with diesel tax. Systems will remain in place
   to manage off road diesel use.
• No vehicle can be registered until that vehicle has secured third party insurance, paid for at
   the same time as the registration.
• Limit the time that learners can remain on graduated licenses to two (2) years maximum.
  Enable funding to manage full licensing, where needs are defined.
• Rail will remain public property, and be the preferred transporters of heavy cargo. Some
  current railway land in regional centres will be retained for potential light rail transport
  options in the future. We will ensure the maintenance of current rail stock and identify
  routes of major significance.
• We are committed to the development of coastal shipping and future proofing significant
  ports for national and international trade.
• We will retain Public ownership of Air NZ.

On JUSTICE:

Fair and natural justice is a fundamental right for all New Zealanders, but it is extremely costly and burdened still with copious amounts of paper work. Attempts to bring the court system into the modern era of justice have been frustrated with lack of appropriate resources.

• A justice system review, ensuring all New Zealanders are fairly served.
• Revamp of the IPCA so that it is completely independent of the Police and can lay charges
  when applicable, similar to the SFO.
• The Formation of a Criminal Cases Review Commission to deal with alleged miscarriages of
  justice, based on the British model.
• The introduction of a requirement in Criminal prosecutions for proper and better disclosure,
  in particular evidence that all other potential suspects have been properly eliminated, and
  sworn affidavits from the Officer in Charge to that effect.
• An Anti-corruption Commission to deal with claims of improper dealings by politicians and
  public servants.
• Community based restorative justice programmes with Marae based hearings.
• Reduce custodial sentencing for offences where the offender may be better serving their
   time working without remuneration in a community sponsored role.
• Review the role and value of Community Magistrates as opposed to the service of Justices
  of the Peace and community initiated judgements.
• A review of legal fees and charges to consider fairness and equity of legal fees relative to
  other professions.
• Ensure adequate resources are enabled to manage the transition to electronic court
  processes.

On the Sale of PUBLIC ASSETS

The NZ Seniors Party’s policy on the sale of PUBLIC assets is clear-cut.

• While a partial sell-off of public assets may be justified in times of economic emergencies,
   the Government will have no authority to sell off (or lease) assets to any interests (local,
   national, or foreign) without specific public approval (by citizens/ electors, referendum, or
   other appropriate measures).
• Any proposal presented to the electorate for the sell-off or leasing of public assets (if
   approved as above), must be limited to the Government retaining a minimum of 55% of
   ownership, to ensure PUBLIC control of public assets at all times.
• Public ownership of PUBLIC assets cannot be reduced below the specified 55% by any
   means, at any time, or for any reason, in or by any projected sales or leasing
   arrangements.
• If necessary, Constitutional changes must be made to enshrine this position.

Comment:

The policy reflects the level of community concern at governments’ tendency to go down the ‘corporatization’ track, or to plan the sell-off or leasing of assets, every time they are confronted by budgetary and financial crises due to earlier poor budgeting, overspending, or failed fiscal policies and performances.

On FOREIGN POLICY AND DEFENCE

New Zealand is a small country and dependent on international treaties for safety and trade. Sound International relationships are critical to our economy. Globally the world has shrunk in regard to transport and communications and we are more vulnerable to a multitude of electronic and terrorist threats that, without international assistance, we would be unable to manage. Paramount to our Foreign Policy is the maintenance of goodwill and positive relationships.

• Maintain support within the Asia-Pacific region and further develop relationships.
• Strongly support the UN.
• Maintain transparency in our intelligence service and intelligence gathering.
• Maintain and build upon existing defence agreements and current treaties.
• Overhaul our defence force to use for border protection, fisheries and bio-security as well
  as to assist in Search and Rescue and international events.
• Encourage foreign investment in business and industry but not the sale of primary assets
  such as land.
• Promote and support NZ trade initiatives internationally.
• Maintain our military and promote their use as Peace keepers internationally.
• Remain committed to New Zealand’s anti-nuclear policy.
• Support new trade initiatives and resource small business’ expanding into international
   markets.
• Encourage the uptake and use of broadband and international on-line trading.

On IMMIGRATION

The NZ Seniors Party’s policy on immigration will focus on and support:

• The principle of specific limits on immigration sufficient to maintain New Zealand’s lifestyle,
   social and cultural well-being, development and growth, population, and economic viability
   to sustainable levels and standards.
• Migration to New Zealand by migrants who can contribute to and enhance the nation’s
   professional, trade, and social workforce skills, its economy, culture, and lifestyle.
• Provision, and compassion, for asylum-seekers and others who can be (and are)
   be genuine and legitimate ‘refugees’ fleeing from the ravages of war, life-threatening
  violence, discrimination, personal persecution, or worse in their countries of origin.
• Family reunion immigration for foreign nationals approved for entry into New Zealand.
• Migrant intakes to bolster New Zealand’s best interests nationally, internationally, socially
  and culturally, and specifically in the areas of professional expertise, workplace skills,
  development, employment and productivity.
• A condition of permanent entry into New Zealand, by any migrants, to be either an
  established understanding of and fluency in spoken English – or a capacity to attain such
  fluency within a fixed period on entry, via Government-funded English language courses.
  Have a job offer with confirmed accommodation and on the basis that the job cannot be
  filled by a New Zealander.
• A formal commitment to abide by all New Zealand law, rules and regulations especially
   including the Constitution of New Zealand, irrespective of any conflicting laws or cultural
 differences pertaining to their own personal religious beliefs, or religions with which they
  may be (or may have been) formerly associated.
• Approved migrants on temporary or special visas must live in New Zealand for a minimum
  of TEN YEARS with an unblemished criminal record, to qualify for consideration for
  permanent residency and/or New Zealand citizenship.
• Any approved migrants (and/or temporary residents) on visas as above who are found
  guilty of committing a criminal offence during the qualifying five-year period, be deported to
  the country from which they came to New Zealand.
• An initial signed agreement between New Zealand and the new migrant which will reflect
  that any migrant who is convicted of any crime during their 10 year migrant period will be
  deported.

On MAORI

We acknowledge that Maori have grievances that require fair and transparent resolution, that the Maori culture and language largely defines New Zealand’s culture and heritage and that this must be treated as a taonga and maintained together as a nation.

We also acknowledge that Maori are predominately in the disadvantaged groups in our society. That Maori life expectation is low and that health statistics are poor. We believe that through empowerment and appropriate resource Maori will manage the betterment of these concerns. acknowledge and up-hold the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

• Protect Te Reo and Maori culture.
• Encourage and assist Iwi to manage land settlement claims, grow and use this wealth
   for their Iwi.
• In conjunction with Maori representatives we will provide a fair and suitable future plan
  withappropriate resources to better manage Maori Health, housing, standard of living,
  educationand language protection.

On HOUSING

We acknowledge that home ownership is a primary goal for most New Zealanders. That owning your own home is part of who we are as New Zealanders and part of our character as a nation.

The ability to realise this goal is increasingly becoming a major obstacle for young parents and first time home owners. We believe that everyone deserves the comfort of a good standard of accommodation.

• Introduce a $1 for $1 grant up to $20,000 for first time home buyers who have been
  resident in New Zealand for 10 years for homes up to a government valuation of $450,000.
• Review Real Estate fees charged.
• Ensure that the housing market is affordable, sustainable and achievable for first home
   buyers by introducing low cost housing projects for occupation by seniors and first home
   buyers. (See the Swindon Project – UK and the Porirua initiative below).
• Review the success low cost housing scheme being undertaken by Porirua City Council for
  supported implementation throughout New Zealand.
• Review the affordability of housing insurance and ensure all homes are insured
.

On the ARTS AND CULTURE

The New Zealand Seniors Party will:
• Engage with all parties in an effort to secure an all-party approach to arts and culture.
• Ensure and agree on long term funding commitments for arts and culture.
• Retain open dialogue between all parties to protect New Zealand/Maori cultural heritage.
• Commit to increase annual investment in arts and culture and ring fence an annual budget
  allocated to the Department of Arts Council.
• Implement tax efficiencies/strategies to stimulate corporate and philanthropic giving.
• Continue to maintain and grow cultural funding from National Lottery Funds.
• Appoint an expert panel of artists/cultural managers to function as policy and strategy
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