Labour likely to trim free visits to GP

The Labour Party's free doctor visits for over-65s could be for a limited time only, MP Ruth Dyson said yesterday.

Speaking after a Grey Power meeting at the South Canterbury RSA, Dyson, the party's senior citizens spokeswoman, said Labour might raise the age of entitlement for fully subsidised doctors' visits, along with the superannuation age, to 67, if it became the Government after the next month's election.

Health spokeswoman Annette King said the party had not decided when it might raise the age of entitlement for the subsidy, but the idea was "logical".

During the meeting, which was attended by about 40 people, Dyson said a Labour government would re-establish a system of "alternative home support" to allow for flexible use of elderly care funds by support organisations, and introduce minimum heating and insulation standards for rental properties.

Labour's Rangitata candidate, Steve Gibson, said he was particularly concerned about cold homes in the region after seeing lots of of toxic stachybotrys mould in rental properties he visited.

Dyson also challenged claims made in Timaru last week by Finance Minister Bill English that New Zealand was "an egalitarian society," arguing it was "a resentful society" in which the gap between rich and poor people was always increasing.

Audience questions included negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, the health effects of generic pills, and delays in cancer and cataract surgery in South Canterbury.

The Timaru Herald