"Active Ageing" - Goal For Government

  • David Carter
Senior Citizens

"Active ageing" is a goal the Government will pursue because there are clear benefits for New Zealand if we can encourage as many older New Zealanders as possible to keep active as they age," says the Minister for Senior Citizens, Hon David Carter.

Commenting on tomorrow's World Health Day theme "Active Ageing makes the difference", Mr Carter said quite clearly keeping fit and busy improved the health of older people.

"It's commonsense, but it's still an area we need to publicise. Involving older people in exercise, social activities and community work greatly improves more than just their fitness - their general health and well-being improves as well."

Mr Carter said Government had three key platforms in 1999, the International Year of Older Persons, which would improve the involvement of older people in the community.

"On February 1, we introduced a Human Rights Act amendment which has outlawed age discrimination in the workplace. Older people can now make their own minds up about whether they leave the workplace at 65 years of age, or continue to participate."

"Secondly, the Hillary Commission is encouraging more older New Zealanders to be active through their internationally-recognised Kiwi Seniors Programme. The Commission has persuaded older people around the country to try new pursuits like line dancing and skiing - activities they probably wouldn't have tried on their own."

"Thirdly, Government has allocated $50,000 for a unique research project to identify the factors which allow older people to remain independent in the community. This research, which will be with Government in October, will help us in developing more relevant policy for older people."

Mr Carter said the challenge for the new millennium was encouraging a greater proportion of older New Zealanders to become active as they aged.

"Many older New Zealanders fear becoming irrelevant. But there are many ways in which our older community can continue to contribute."

Mr Carter will speak on these themes to the Wellington Gerontology Conference tomorrow at 9.30am, Wednesday 7 April, Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand.