Winston Peters has promised his own generational change – pledging to roll out a “new generation” SuperGold card with beefed-up benefits.
The card would be a loyalty card and a debit card issued by a bank, and providing automatic discounts when used to purchase goods and services.
An option would also be made available to let those who want to use their phone instead of a debit card.
Cards will be delivered within 12 months, Peters said. The scheme would cost an initial $5m in set-up costs, and then be self-funding.
The announcement was made at the halfway point of the campaign and to large crowd of supporters at the North Shore’s Bruce Mason Centre, many of whom had been bused in from around the North Island.
Peters said living here was more expensive than London, and the elderly were feeling the pinch.
He was interrupted by an audience member who said it was cheaper to get a beer at the Ritz in London than down the road in Takapuna.
Peters agreed, and said that was why his party would expand the benefits of the SuperGold card, which had been kept by National despite its real opposition to it.
The “new generation” card would include benefits including three free doctor’s visits a year, and one free eye check.
Peters said the latter would stop thousands of people needlessly going blind, and the free doctor’s visits would be fiscally neutral because of money saved on hospital visits.
He said the new card would offer more discounts from businesses and retailers, saying harnessing the power of older consumers would see businesses offer an extra 100 to 1000 discounts per cardholder.
“We might be old but business know you look like gold … the retailers will come to you. You are New Zealand’s biggest buying group and you have been ignored for far too long. Not any longer.”
He would not say what bank he had in mind to run the scheme, including whether it was KiwiBank. The worth of discounts and loyalty bonuses for each cardholder would be in excess of $1000, he said.
Peters negotiated the SuperGold in 2005 as part of New Zealand First’s confidence and supply agreement with the Helen Clark Labour-led Government.
The current SuperGold card is a discount card for New Zealanders aged 65 years or over, and those under 65 who receive NZ Super or the Veterans Pension.
It has to be shown to earn discounts, and its biggest entitlement is free -off-peak public transport to senior citizens.
The Bruce Mason Centre theatre can hold about 1070 people and was close to capacity today.
SuperGold card signs lined a stage where a warm-up band played old classics like You Are My Sunshine and Day-O, with several audience members dancing along.
Peters was slightly late to the stage, leaving the band frontman to fill the void. Asking a woman holding a “save our state homes” sign if it read “free hangi”, he thanked her for sharing. “You’re better than Facebook.”
Then on came a video showing Peters’ tour of the regions in his campaign bus to the music of John Farnham You’re the Voice and Peters rallying against fake news and provincial neglect.
Peters started his speech by returning to well-worn themes, telling the mostly elderly audience if a crisis hit the government, “they will come for you first” – saying his party was the only one that had never compromised on NZ Super.
He also criticised “mass immigration” and attacked the media and political and economic commentators as “Chardonnay-drinking, pinky finger-pointing know alls”.
“There has never been so much of an arrogant, age-istic attitude to old people.”