Seniors skeptical over promises

Age Concern Otago members (from left) Keith Williamson, Syd Pledger, Noeline Pocklington, John...
Age Concern Otago members (from left) Keith Williamson, Syd Pledger, Noeline Pocklington, John Eakacs, and Tom Cockerill share their thoughts on the election with The Star over lunch at the Octagon Club on Friday. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD
After watching the televised leaders’ debates and observing political campaigns gathering speed in recent weeks, Dunedin seniors remain skeptical about promises from politicians.

"They are all over everyone during the campaign, but once they get in, you hardly ever see them," Syd Pledger said.

"Mind you, people have a lot of expectations of the government, when we have a small taxpayer base for paying for everything."

Mr Pledger and fellow Age Concern Otago members Keith Williamson, Noeline Pocklington, John Eakacs, Tom Cockerill, and Denise (surname withheld) shared a lively discussion with The Star on Friday at the Octagon Club.

Without giving too much away, the group revealed they would be quite pleased to see Labour leader Jacinda Ardern return as Prime Minister, saying she had handled the many challenges of the past three years well.

Among the issues they felt needed more attention from political parties was the cost of a visit to the dentist, which all felt was too high.

"I think there is a case for free dentist’s visits — it is an important part of people’s health," Mr Pledger said.

The hottest local issue was the Dunedin Hospital rebuild, with the group split on whether it should remain in the central city or be moved to a less congested site — such as the former Carisbrook site.

Former nurse Denise (surname withheld) believed the hospital must remain central in order to allow access for as many people as possible.

Overall though, the congestion in the one-way system was of concern to the seniors, who felt it would only get worse once the hospital was built.

The two referendums facing New Zealand — the End of Life Choice Referendum and the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Referendum — sparked discussion and a variety of opinions.

Most did not feel that cannabis should be legalised, expressing concern at the potential response from gangs and the criminal fraternity to such a move.

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