Little in it for us, Grey Power president says

Grey Power Otago has hit out at a Budget the organisation's president said was aimed at attracting the youth vote.

Jo Millar said the Budget had plenty for children and families, students and tertiary organisations, but little for older people.

''There's not much in here at all, as far as the elderly are concerned.''

Initiatives in the Budget specifically for older people were in the health area, including an additional $110 million for elective surgery, and $40 million additional support for elderly, including people with dementia.

Mrs Millar said it was disappointing the Government had provided $90 million to provide free GP visits and prescriptions for children aged under 13 - something she supported - but nothing similar for older people.

Grey Power Otago would also have liked to have seen money set aside to help older people stay socially active.

''They say they want to keep people in their homes and independent,'' Mrs Millar said.

More money for the social agencies that have the structures to deal with that would have been helpful.

Mrs Millar also raised concerns about the elective surgery budget.

She said extra money needed to be ring-fenced, and was concerned health boards would concentrate on smaller, cheaper operations, rather than hip operations, to keep up with quotas.

Age Concern Otago was more circumspect.

Funding, communication, and projects manager Niall Shepherd said he welcomed the $40 million additional support for the elderly.

''Anything is better than nothing.''

While Mr Shepherd would have liked to see more for the elderly, he said he understood many sectors needed help.



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