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New Zealand’s Wellbeing Budget to aid digitalisation of seniors

There are three initiatives included in New Zealand’s Wellbeing Budget that will help the seniors to stay connected and improve their financial position.

As reported, these initiatives are the SuperGold Card, Digital Literacy Training for seniors, and the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) changes that will provide better support for working super annuitants who are injured.

SuperGold Card

The most significant is the NZ$ 7.7 million to upgrade and enhance the SuperGold Card, which will include building a new digital platform for card holders and businesses.

The SuperGold Card is a discounts and concessions card for seniors and veterans, in recognition of their contribution to New Zealand society.

Seniors can access free off-peak public transport through the programme, and show their card at participating businesses to access discounts.

However, it has been neglected for several years and has become harder for people to know where they can use it. The Government is now doing something to address that.

Minister for Seniors Tracey Martin shared that the SuperGold website will be upgraded and improved for ease of use.

A new SuperGold app, linked to the website, would also be created to help show seniors where the card can be used when they are out. These will be launched before the end of 2019.

Consultation with seniors in 2018 revealed that the biggest barrier to using the SuperGold Card was that they did not know what discounts were available and where.

A mobile app was noted as a useful tool for accessing information and discounts on the go.

Beneficial for consumers and businesses alike

Moreover, businesses will be able to interact with the website better and they will also be provided with standard promotions like posters so people can see where they can get discounts.

There will be one million over 65s within the next decade, which presents a very large consumer group.

There are currently more than 750,000 SuperGold Card holders, more than 9,300 SuperGold Card business partners and over 14,000 outlets around New Zealand where cardholders can access savings.

A key goal of enhancing the card was to help seniors on fixed incomes to stretch their dollar further so they could buy the services and products they need.

Digital Literacy Training for seniors

The ageing population and increasing technology change meant that some older people who no longer work are getting left behind.

The Budget contains NZ$ 600,000 to provide some computer training and skills for those who need it.

Older people should be able to access information and services online, and not miss out. Furthermore, they should be equipped with the technology skills to stay in touch with their families.

ACC changes

Starting 1 July 2019, the ACC changes for older people who are still working and are seriously injured will mean that they do not have to choose between receiving NZ Superannuation or ACC weekly payments.

The ACC provides compulsory insurance cover for personal injury for everyone in New Zealand, whether a citizen, resident or visitor.

If an older person is entitled to weekly ACC compensation for a personal injury, they will be able to receive those payments along with NZ Super or the Veteran’s Pension for up to two years.

This is a change from the current set-up wherein someone eligible for Super or the Veteran’s Pension has to make that choice.

This allows an injured person’s financial situation to more closely reflect their income. That is only fair since they want older people to stay in paid work if they want to.

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