Hundreds of locals were told recently that they should present their SuperGold Card at every opportunity – both to take advantage of the discounts offered at participating outlets, and to encourage more businesses to join the programme.
The advice came from Wellington-based Tim Bryers, key account manager for the SuperGold Card with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), the government department tasked with administering the card. He was addressing attendees at the October 3 SuperGold Card seminar in the Cambridge Town Hall, organised by local volunteer, Florence Shearman.
Tim said the SuperGold Card discounts and concessions programme for those aged over 65 had been going for 11 years and was now an established part of New Zealand society. “There was some uncertainly as to its longevity when it started, but now people look forward to receiving their card. We hear stories of people who hold parties to welcome its arrival, and some who make SuperGold Card cakes.”
He said around 60,000 new cardholders join each year. “There are now 735,000 card-holders across the country, and that number is growing all the time. With the current demographic trends, it will hit the million mark in around 2028.”
Also growing is the number of participating businesses and organisations. Most are increasingly aware, he said, of the significant economic value offered to the business sector by those aged 65 and over and want to be recognised for their support of the discounts programme.
“Consumer spending by people aged 65 and over amounted to $21 billion in 2016. That is expected to rise to $94 billion by 2061,” he said. “Businesses need to be aware that the over-65s is a sector they should be talking to. The more cardholders who carry their card with them and are proactive about asking businesses if they take the SuperGold Card, the more businesses will be persuaded to come on board.”
The programme has grown to include 9200 businesses and around 14,000 outlets nationwide. There are almost 100 businesses and outlets listed in Cambridge. Many display their SuperGold Card sticker prominently, and Tim urged those businesses without stickers to contact their local Work and Income office to access more.
Research done recently by MSD around cardholders’ expectation and motivation revealed the discount areas most valued by seniors.
“Two themes came out strongly,” he said. “One was health-related, which included optical, dental and hearing, while the other was around basic living costs, things like utility bills and food. We are continually making inroads into bringing more businesses on board in those areas.
“After that, they valued discounts in retail, on petrol and travel, and on entertainment. That research showed people valued the programme in terms of “need to have versus nice to have”.
Tim suggested seniors sign up for the SuperSeniors newsletter, which is emailed to cardholders and includes news on matters of interest to seniors, and lists specials. “If you’re not getting a newsletter, and you would like to, simply phone the 0800 number on the back of your card and ask them for one.”
He also said that with technology now more integrated into daily life, MSD was investigating some improvements in this area to increase awareness around the benefits of the SuperGold Card programme.