Funding split great news for older New Zealanders

  • Lianne Dalziel
Senior Citizens

Senior Citizens Minister Lianne Dalziel has today welcomed the decision to separate the funding of disability support services for older people from funding for young people.

This follows the announcement by Disability Issues Minister Ruth Dyson that government will split disability support services funding into two streams – people aged 65 years and over, and those aged under 65 years.

Ruth Dyson has said both age groups would benefit from the funding split, and Lianne Dalziel says she is pleased for both groups.

"The announcement recognises that older people do not have the same disability support needs as younger people. In fact, many older persons' disabilities arise from their health needs. People in the disability sector have been trying to avoid the medicalisation of disability for years. The models are quite different," Lianne Dalziel said.

"A fundamental flaw the previous government made was to include older persons' health within the Disability Support Services framework in the first place.

"Last year Ruth Dyson and I released the 10th report of the National Health Committee (NHC) which called for this separation. I said at the time that the NHC had put five years into looking at older persons' health and that Report No. 10 would not sit on the shelf and be ignored. I said that it would form the basis for making important decisions about the future of older persons' health and the Ageing in Place philosophy that lies at the heart of this government's approach.

"The previous government was presented with nine reports – this government was presented with one and we have delivered.

"What we need in older persons' health is a comprehensive assessment, treatment and rehabilitation focus, as well as better access to elective surgery when needed and better integration of services, particularly between institutional care and the community.

"This is the vision of the Positive Ageing Strategy and I am confident that with this announcement today, together with the Older Persons' Health Strategy, due out shortly, we will achieve that vision."