The Country

Grey Power recently received a report of an older woman who went into her local Westpac Bank to withdraw $1000 from her bank account. When asked to provide proof of her identity she took out her Super Gold Card with a photo ID on the back. The bank staff refused to give her money from her own account and stated that she needed to have a passport or driver license in order to verify who she was. The woman sought advice and was told that the bank would accept a Kiwi Access Card – the card was previously used by students 18 years and older who needed ID. Alternatively, she could approach the Banking Ombudsman or her local MP for assistance. All of these options were going to take too long as she needed the money now! I recently went to a local Mitre10 store to purchase some items I needed. Despite all of the promotional material from the Office for Seniors that we get, extolling the virtues of using our Super Gold Card, I could not get any discount on the items I had purchased from Mitre10. “No, we don’t give discounts on those products”, I was told. And not for the first time in that store. The first comment I would make about the Super Gold Card is that it appears to have little or no value beyond being another one of those ‘glorified’ shopping loyalty cards that we get from every chain store in town. And in the case of Mitre10 even that is questionable. Over the past two years Horowhenua Grey Power has sought to have the Super Gold Card listed as a primary source of identity, particularly for those of our seniors who have no passport and no driver license. In every case we have been told by successive Ministers and governments that it would be too expensive to implement. We would suggest that such comments are little more than trite rubbish put out by bureaucrats who cannot find simple solutions to issues that plague so many of our seniors. When you apply for a passport, you have to fill out six (6) pages on the application form. When you apply for your pension, and this includes an application for a Super Gold Card, you have to fill out twenty-four (24) pages. Having filled out those 24 pages you then get (a) your superannuation; and (b) a Super Gold Card. Why is it so difficult or so expensive to be given a Super Gold Card that you can use as a primary source of identity when you can fill out just six pages of paper and get a fancy passport or you can sit a driving test/s and get a license that is used for identity? None of this makes sense to me, particularly the argument that it is too expensive to produce Super Gold Cards that can be used to support our senior citizens. The other question is: how is it that a bank can with-hold your money, knowing that it is your money, simply because you do not have a passport or a driver licence? From that come two suggestions: use an Eftpos machine outside your bank to take out cash going to the maximum over a couple of days; and, go and talk to the other banks and find one that is more user friendly. You may have banked with them for years, the staff in the bank may know you, but they do not make the rules. The rules are created by nameless, faceless creatures who don’t know you and can I suggest, that they just don’t care. If you are reading this and have experienced any or either of the problems outlined here, please contact Horowhenua Grey Power and tell us your story. We try to help as and when we can.