Minister Dampens SuperGold Talk
The transport minister is damping down talk of SuperGold card users missing out on public transport trips.
He says the government has to look at ways to control the cost of the scheme as our population ages but the government is totally committed to the SuperGold Card, including the transport concession as it stands.
The government will not be introducing any co-payments or any other way of changing those concessions. Grey Power says the Minister’s office told them the review of the card will be focused on two issues:
- The level of subsidy paid to the public transport operators. Currently the price paid to operators does not match the marginal cost incurred of providing the service to Super Gold Card holders. Government will have conversation with operators about this.
- The level of administration costs paid. Currently public transport operators are receiving the fare subsidies as well as an administration cost, which Government believes provides for some duplication of cost recovery. Again this will be discussed with operators.
The minister, commenting on reports the Waiheke ferry concession will go, said that “questions have to be asked as to whether we should be paying $2 million to the operators of the Waiheke Ferry for services they would be largely providing anyway.
It would be fiscally irresponsible not to test whether the current subsidies provided to operators are greater than what is required to maintain the current concessions. The government is committed to controlling costs and supporting frontline services and the SuperGold Card transport concession is no different.
Labour says that hile senior citizens will be relieved that Mr Joyce has given an assurance he won’t be introducing co-payments for SuperGold Card holders, Mr Joyce still has not cleared up how much he will squeeze the “off peak” period.
“Mr Joyce is also deliberately vague on his plan to reduce the subsidies paid to public transport companies,’ says MP Darren Hughes.
“One day on, a rattled Mr Joyce now says cuts were never his intention and that he only wants to reduce the payments made to providers of public transport and not cut the entitlements of elderly.
“The real reason is more likely to be publicity of another of Prime Minister John Key’s broken promises. In March 2009 Mr Key described SuperGold Card as ‘a successful programme … and we will be funding the increase’.