Eastern Courier : January 28th 2011
www.easterncourier.co.nz Friday, January 28, 2011 Seniors' time to quiz PM By MELISSA KINEALY Tough times: Retired policeman Ron Wilkins from Manurewa is part of a group of over-65s gearing up to question Prime Minister John Key. Photo: MELISSA KINEALY THE PAIN in Ron Wilkins' knee is so bad he sometimes falls to the ground. The 68-year-old just wants to enjoy his life but has been waiting more than two years for surgery to fix his knee. He's had enough and he's not alone. Counties Manukau Grey Power is so brassed off with the way it says the govern- ment is treating the over-65s it has called a meeting with Prime Minister John Key to talk about high living costs. Mr Wilkins is a Grey Power committee member and says he can't afford life or health insurance. He's also had to stop going to the dentist because it's too expensive. Sometimes I just let my teeth fall out.'' The retired police officer is approaching 69 and has had severe pain in his right knee since September 2008. He's been on a waiting list for surgery since November 2009 and has just secured an appointment for February. The pain wakes him up at night, he's given up golf and finds it difficult to mow the lawns or do the gardening. It's just dragging on so one of my questions to the prime minister will be about sur- gery waiting times and the high cost of after-hours medi- cal care for over-65s.'' Mr Wilkins says he went to work at age 15, worked all his life, paid his taxes and has never been on the dole. Now he wants to see something in return. He's calling for a decrease in the cost of medical insurance and suggests higher premiums should be paid when people are younger and earning. I would say at least two- thirds of Grey Power members can't afford life or medical insurance.'' He'd also like to see a rebate system or some sort of discount for phone and power bills for superannuitants and GST removed on basic food items like bread and milk. Some of his fellow Grey Power members are cutting back on buying food to cover increased costs on items such as petrol, he says. The Grey Power committee has been phoning hundreds of members across Counties Manukau and out as far as Pukekohe to let them know about the upcoming meeting. They're expecting a decent turn-out, Mr Wilkins says. All superannuitants are invited to the meeting with Mr Key on February 3, 10am, at the Methodist Church Hall, 37 Kolmar Rd, Papatoetoe.
January 26th 2010
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