Better Later Life’ consultation launched

The Government has developed a new strategy to shape the policies needed to help older New Zealanders live well, Seniors Minister Tracey Martin announced today.

The Minister opened consultation on the draft strategy Better Later Life – He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034 in Auckland today.

“Better Later Life takes a fresh look at what is required to ensure everyone gets the chance to live well as they get older and help ensure we create opportunities for everyone to participate, contribute and be valued as they age,” Minister Martin says.

“It has also been designed to ensure New Zealand is prepared for and makes the most of our ageing population.

“Like the rest of the developed world, New Zealand has an ageing population,” says Minister Martin. “That’s great news in that more of us are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. But it also means there are some things we have to consider and prepare for as a country.”

The demographic shifts occuring had implications for our economy, for employment and housing, health and aged care, and social services. “For example, two key areas of the strategy are supporting seniors in the workforce and how businesses can better recruit and retain older people; and promoting housing options appropriate for older people.”

“It is also important as a country that we have policies and initiatives that help people to keep connections throughout their lives and stop them being isolated or lonely.”

Better Later Life incorporates feedback from nationwide consultation last year about what people want for the future. The key areas people said were important were: having financial and economic security; access to health and social services; secure and affordable homes; and opportunities to connect and participate in their communities.

“I am conscious that we need to be getting on and taking action on these areas and encourage people of all ages to comment on the draft strategy and whether it is on the right track,” Mrs Martin says.

A copy of the draft strategy is available online, along with details on how to provide feedback at the SuperSeniors website: www.superseniors.msd.govt.nz

The closing date for submissions is 3 June 2019. Following the consultation officials will finalise the strategy and an action plan, to be launched later this year.

ENDS

 Contact Richard Ninness 021 892 536

 Note for editors:

  • Within the next decade it is predicted there will be a million seniors and by 2034, an estimated quarter of the population - 1.2 million New Zealanders - will be aged 65+.
  • In 2001, when the last Positive Ageing Strategy was created, there were nearly 50,000 people aged 85+. Last year there were nearly 87,000 people 85 or older – 15% of the senior population. That number is predicted to rise to 179,000 in 2034.)
  • The senior population is also increasingly diverse.  By 2034 the number of Māori aged 65+ will more than double from 2018 figures (from 48,500 to 109,400) the senior Pacific population will also do this (from 21,300 to 46,700), and there will be nearly three times as many Asian NZers aged 65+ (from 59,500 to 171,900).
  • Seniors currently make up around 6.2% of the workforce.  By 2033 the number of seniors at work will nearly double and they will make up 10.6% of the workforce.
  • It is estimated that by 2061 seniors will contribute $105 billion to the economy through paid and unpaid work, up from $17.5 billion today.