Unisys has been named preferred supplier for the Winston Peters-sponsored Supergold Card for senior citizens.
The Ministry of Social Development’s general manager senior services, Barry Shea, says contract negotiations will be entered into within a fortnight.
The contract is for the supply, production and dispatch of 540,000 cards to people over the age of 65. The card replaces the community services card, providing a New Zealand superannuation identity card, a card for a non-qualified spouse and a separate veteran’s version.
There is provision to replace the card in September with an optional card that carries photographic ID.
Recipients will get access to quasi-government and other negotiated business discounts.
The Government committed to the Supergold Card through a confidence-and-supply agreement with New Zealand First to “develop a Seniors Card able to be used to identify the holder’s eligibility for all public sector entitlements and which is capable of also being used for claiming negotiated commercial discounts.”
It will come into effect in August.
Shea says the card will carry a magnetic stripe and a barcode. “The legislation provides for a chip in the future, but the Government won’t take any action [on that] until it has had full consultation.”
In May, the Associate Minister for Senior Citizens, Winston Peters, responded to media and parliamentary criticism of the scheme, saying any move to use microchips in the cards would not occur “without thorough consultation with the Privacy Commissioner and the State Services Commission, which was always going to be the case despite the ignorant claims of some politicians.”
“Microchip technology is already used in our passports and by some transport companies,” he said. “In the next year or so it will become the standard technology used by banks and retailers, simply because it is more secure, not less, than magnetic strips and barcodes.
“The government has no desire to see information related to our seniors abused or misused, and the checks are already in place to provide the strongest-possible protection against this.”
Shea says there is no intention to include other information on the cards, such as an individual’s health details.
All Supergold Card holders will be given the option to opt in or out of receiving direct marketing material.
In the event of the ministry not receiving a response from a cardholder, the default response will be to opt out of receiving the material.
But card-holders will be able to change their option to either opt in or out at any time. The card will be free.