National Puts Kiwi Supergold Card Free Travel Scheme At Risk Again...
The possibility that pensioners in Dunedin may have to pay for what have been free bus trips under the SuperGold Card free travel scheme shows National can't be trusted to keep the scheme going anywhere, says Labour transport spokesperson Darren Hughes.
"Grey Power has every reason to be fearful of a report in the Otago Daily Times today that says the Transport Ministry has told the Otago Regional Council it wants to cut the SuperGold Card bus subsidy from 75 percent of the adult fare to 65 percent," Darren Hughes.
"Grey Power knows how important it is to keep the pressure on John Key's National Government over this issue.
"Since March this year, when Transport Minister Steven Joyce seemed to suggest consultation was starting on a review of the scheme, Grey Power has been left in no doubt how slippery National is on this issue," Darren Hughes said.
"As soon as National realised at that time how angry pensioners were, it quickly backtracked, of course.
"Steven Joyce lamely and unconvincingly tried to explain that his media release might have been confusing --- and that he was never really talking about eligibility, but just about getting a better deal from transport operators," Darren Hughes said.
"Now, six months after John Key asked people to watch his lips, and promised that the scheme would not be cut back, the Transport Ministry, no doubt acting on Mr Joyce's instructions, is trying to back the Otago Regional Council into a corner where it is forced to try to screw more funding from bus companies.
"Steven Joyce's office says nothing has yet been approved by the cabinet, but who can trust National given what was first said in March, and given what Steven Joyce tried to fudge a few days later," Darren Hughes said.
"Otago Regional Council is not making this up. Nor is the newspaper making it up. Nor is the Transport Ministry making it up.
"Grey Power knows that, and that's why it smells treachery.
"The problem that National is finding is that when you start being slippery on an issue, people stop trusting you," Darren Hughes said