Richard Long writes in the Dom Post:
Just what on earth does Grey Power think it is up to? I’d always thought the organisation existed to campaign for pensioners, to ensure superannuation was inflation proofed and that privileges such as the gold card were maintained and extended.
But now the pensioners’ organisation is out there with the Council of Trade Unions, the Labour Party and assorted lefties, leading the charge against the selldown of state assets by means of a citizens-initiated referendum.
What’s next? Can we expect Lucy Lawless-type acts by the oldies to stop mineral exploration, mining and anything else that might bring economic benefit? This highly politicised new role by the oldies’ lobby group is batty, for a host of reasons.
It is a new level of partisan activity for Grey Power. The more partisan they become, the less influence they have on parties they campaign against.
For a start, with the electorate balanced practically evenly between Left and Right, our half a million pensioners, and the half million approaching retirement, are also likely to be split fairly evenly down the middle in terms of political allegiance. So why has Grey Power opted for the Left-wing route? If those on the Right cancel their subscriptions in protest, Grey Power would be emasculated as a lobby group.
Richard could lead the way by resigning his membership
If I were John Key I’d be inclined to drop the mild-mannered courtesies for a bit and fire a warning shot across the bows of the activists who have clearly captured Grey Power.
For example, if Grey Power is not interested in reducing debt, through these sales, perhaps he should warn it a logical result would not only be an increase in the pension age and limits on inflation-proofing, but other changes as well, such as gold card restrictions, or even the dreaded means-testing. That would put the cat among the retirement pigeons.
Mr Key could also put the boot in by noting Grey Power, which is supposed to have the interests of retirees at heart, has absolutely no sympathy for the thousands of pensioners who tragically lost their retirement savings in the post-2008 collapse of the finance houses.
If Grey Power was genuinely concerned, Mr Key could note, it would welcome the addition of such safe investment havens as the partly privatised state assets, so pensioners in future can invest with confidence and safeguard their funds.
As Richard notes, I suspect that Grey Power members will be some of the biggest investors in the SOEs.