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Grey Power 'disturbed' by decision

Last updated 14:22 12/11/2012

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Grey Power North Shore is ''extremely disturbed'' at proposed restrictions to SuperGold travel concessions.

The move would hurt older Shore residents who have had massive rates increases and rely on travel to beat isolation and loneliness, says spokesman Bill Rayner.

''The benefits to the older community have been immense, the ability to travel conveniently and exceedingly cheaply has allowed many people to have a greatly expanded social and family life, and community contact.''

Increased travel by the older community also benefits the hospitality sector and visitor destinations like the Auckland Art Gallery and Waiheke, he says.

Mr Rayner prepared a submission on the issue to the New Zealand Transport Authority that proposes to remove public travel concessions after 3pm.

The authority's draft transport plan is seeking a review of evening concession fares ''on the grounds it is nationally inconsistent and unaffordable.''

Mr Rayner says about 30 per cent of rates' income is spent on transport but mainly on coping with the needs of commuters.

Many elderly are no longer working yet  pay rates and removing the one major concession they receive will be strongly opposed by Grey Power, he says.

''The benefits to the older community have been immense, the ability to travel conveniently and exceedingly cheaply has allowed many people to have a greatly expanded social and family life, and community contact.

Cuts are also proposed on July 1, just three months before 2013 Auckland Council elections, and the political impact is large because of the 250,000 Super Gold car holders in Auckland alone, Mr Rayner says.

''The political ramifications of any change need to handled with great care by Auckland Transport, and early dialogue with the NZTA and the Minister of Transport and Auckland Council is critical.''

Grey Power North Shore asks that a Grey Power representative be part of the Auckland Transport group that is established to review the concession.

''We also ask that Auckland Transport request a policy directive on the removal of the concession option from mayor Len Brown at the earliest opportunity to avoid undue consultative work and cost on what is going to be an extremely controversial issue that is unlikely to proceed."

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