Bereavement fund’s future unclear

 Credicare bereavement fund member Wayne White is hopeful he will not have to break out the...
Credicare bereavement fund member Wayne White is hopeful he will not have to break out the shovel for any DIY burials. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Members of an embattled bereavement insurance scheme have received an apology from NZCU South over their treatment, but the future of the fund remains murky.

NZCU South held a private meeting for Dunedin members of its Credicare bereavement fund on Wednesday morning, to find consensus on a way forward after an unpopular announcement earlier this year the fund was to close.

Fund member Wayne White said NZCU South chief executive Gavin Earle opened the meeting by apologising ‘‘profusely’’ for how the fund closure decision was originally handled.

Members were frank in putting forward their concerns at the meeting, one woman expressing concern she did not know who would bury her when she died, Mr White said.

‘‘I said ‘don’t worry. If I’m well and able, I’ll dig the hole for you and it’ll cost nothing.’’

He hoped he would not have to take up his shovel but the meeting had been ‘‘very fruitful’’.

He had been selected as one of three people who would make up a members committee to engage in further consultation with the credit union and he was hopeful the fund would be able to continue, Mr White said.

Mr Earle confirmed he had offered an apology ‘‘to those that were upset’’ and said his organisation had a genuine desire to consult with members on the future plans for the scheme.

All options were still on the table for the fund, ranging from its continuation to a confirmation of its cancellation.

The fund would continue to operate while the consultation process with members continued, and was guaranteed to be open until at least the end of January.

This date would be extended further until a final decision on the fate of the fund was taken, Mr Earle said.

Wednesday’s meeting was one of a series in different locations, Christchurch, Invercargill and Nelson also being on the schedule.

The closure of the Credicare bereavement fund was announced in June and members aged 73 or older, some of whom had paid into the scheme for decades, were offered a one-off payment of $50.

Members of the fund are entitled to receive a payout to their family members of about $10,000 upon their death.


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