Spinoff 100% right about Waiheke Island Supergold card rip off

By   /   May 10, 2018  /   7 Comments

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We all suspected the Waiheke Ferry Supergold Card scam was bad, but I don’t think anyone knew it was this bad.

I’m no fan of  The Spinoff. They’re NZs middle class millennial micro-aggression policing blog for those with too many avocados, but when they’re right, they’re right.

Their damning investigation into the total rort of the Gold Card for the Waiheke Island ferry is jaw dropping in its audacity.

The great Waiheke Island ferry rort
Winston Peters’ bauble from the 2005 coalition agreement allows for discounts on many items, along with free public transport for its 600,000 holders.

For much of the country this is busses and trains, often limited to off-peak times and thus a very defensible effort to allow older people to get around when the load on transport networks is relatively low. In Auckland though, after 9am, it means ferries too – including the 23 kilometre trip from the city’s Downtown Ferry Terminal to Matiatia wharf in Oneroa.

This has created a quite extraordinary situation in which one of the country’s prettiest and priciest commutes, from one of the most expensive suburbs in the country, costs a select group of its users exactly nothing.

Which is not to say that it’s free. You and I and every other taxpayer in country contribute as much as $1.9m a year – from a total Supergold national travel budget of $28m – to this one narrow trip.

The  Supergold card, Winston’s brilliant election bribe for the oldies, is one of the great political coups in NZ history. Every time the blue rinse brigade pull out their Gold card and get free public transport they thank Winston and shed a tear, light him a candle and vote NZ First every 3 years.

The argument that our elderly should be able to travel free on public transport is valid and shouldn’t be compromised, neither should their discounts on other items. Being a superannuitant isn’t all clover and honey and it has done a lot to offset the worst elements of living on the pittance that’s paid out as the pension, but as Duncan Greive devastatingly points out, the wealthy old who frolic on Waiheke Island are making a mockery of the values that underpin the Supergold Card.

It’s an outrageous rort that needs to come to an immediate end!

We all suspected the Waiheke Ferry Supergold Card scam was bad, but I don’t think anyone knew it was this bad.

Kudos to The Spinoff.

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7 Comments

  1. CLEANGREEN says:

    Yes there will always be those who rort the system Martyn.

    This time it is the wealthy rich living on an expensive piece of real estate.

    In am surprised the hole wasn’t plugged by National but of course national don’t want to loose the rich elders voting support among the electorate either i guess.

  2. mosa says:

    Well it is just another example of the hard working majority subsidizing John Key’s friends and the National party voting free loaders who would i am sure not be voting for Winston.

    The well off are always the first to put their hand out for anything that is free and paid for by the wage slaves in this country.

    It is in this country their right to do just that.

  3. Stephanie Honeychurch says:

    A lot of the pensioners living on Waiheke (including myself),have been here a long time and bought when property was cheap. There are many people here who are struggling, both old and young. Today a (now former) neighbour, in her 30s, who has never lived anywhere else, has left the Island, driven off by high rents. Many of the older people here, would find it hard to pay for frequent hospital visits. It is a beautiful place, but it is wrong to assume everyone here is rich.

  4. Tuffie says:

    This quote is pretty indicative of the shoddy logic applied in this story.
    “It’s the equivalent of over 100 one way trips a year – a usage rate which would be near impossible to achieve unless you were working on the mainland and living on the island.”
    This equates to 1 return trip a week. Hardly commuting frequency. This kind of sensationalist claptrap is not journalism.

    • Cemetery Jones says:

      Exactly – who would take a one way trip either to or from the island? Whether they’re visiting for a day or residing full time, they would quite clearly need to make a return trip each time. A one way ticket would be of little use, unless they were going out there to die. Which, incidentally, might be notionally more pleasing to the author than we may realise.

  5. Cemetery Jones says:

    Hahaha, they still couldn’t resist making their point about the new residents of Waiheke without first salaaming to the sultanate of intersectionalism and kissing its imperial slippers with a whispered admission of white self-loathing, could they? Ah well, whatever helps the author sleep at night, I guess.

    This is funny though:

    “Which is not to say that it’s free. You and I and every other taxpayer in country contribute as much as $1.9m a year – from a total Supergold national travel budget of $28m – to this one narrow trip.”

    Oh wow, so now it’s left wing to concern troll a-la Jamie Whyte over what it means when we refer to a service as ‘free’? Really? This is how little we value the left wing tradition of universalism now? This is the politics of bad faith, and despite its cheap appeal, we should actually oppose it wholeheartedly.

    It’s not that I don’t agree that they’ve identified a problem; it’s more that, as usual, the Spinoff’s solutions are terrible. Think back to our finest moments: the pre and post-war Savage and Fraser governments in NZ, the post-war Atlee government in Britain; they exemplified the values of universalism. This was the ground upon which they stuck their flagpole and struck their colours. Free at the point of use (‘free’) services were universal, because the rights which they protected were universal too. Education, health, housing, pensions – what kind of society can deny any group of people these things on the basis of something political or economic and claim to be representative? These governments moved us a way from a past where governments operated that way, and towards one which didn’t.

    These voters well understood that this is why universalism was vital; they were, vote by vote, meeting by meeting, rally by rally, moving the world away from traditions of exclusion, separation, and privileged exception. And they were witnessing, and fighting, a new undercurrent of the same kind – those of Mussolini, of Hitler, of Stalin; people with new reasons to exclude certain groups or individuals from the universal based on political or economic factors which in their mind had greater or lesser value. That’s why anything other than universalism was unthinkable to the generation who fought those forces off.

    It’s interesting that once we’ve established – by the reckons of the author – that these people are ‘whiter, wealthier, and greyer’, we can safely assume that the benefits of the Goldcard aren’t for them, they can afford to pay their own way. And that clearly, it’s a ‘rort’ because they’re not poor. Why? What did they do wrong? What a terrible misunderstanding of 20th century left wing social policy traditions and their intent. It’s a problem that it costs this much, but I think I’ll await a solution from someone who values universalism rather than from someone who throws it out of the window without realising that when you do that, you open the door for the next guy to do it to you, or to someone whose interests do happen to meet with your approval. Heed not this reckless, illiberal neophyte.