Saturday, 31 March 2012

#206: Gold Carded

Now that I am back in Ontario, I find myself thinking about one excellent benefit enjoyed by retirees in New Zealand.  And it is not just that NZ is the home of Kumpfs.  (Whoops – these super comfy, stylish shoes have been re-branded as Ziera, a name which suggests absolutely nothing to older feet, but that’s just me complaining….)

No, what I love is the Super Gold Card which provides seniors (65 +) with access to discounts and benefits from businesses and government services.  The savings vary, and sometimes they are considerable.  In Wellington I saw this card used by loads of older people every time I took the Johnsonville train into town.  I paid $7.00 for a round trip, but the Gold Carded passengers paid nothing.  During off-hours, they rode for free. Every time. No wonder the train was always full of seniors heading to downtown Wellington.

There seemed to be so many of them out and about that I assumed New Zealand has more folks over 65 than Canada.  But, this is not the case.  Fourteen percent of Canadians are seniors, but in NZ, they account for thirteen percent of the population -- in spite of the above average number on the trains.

The trains on that line were brand new and very flash.  So perhaps those older passengers were just going for a test ride.  But I prefer to believe that they knew enough to take advantage of a golden opportunity when it was going in their direction.

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