Minister Welcomes Report Into AgeingSenior Citizens
Minister for Senior Citizens, Hon Robyn McDonald welcomed the Statistics New Zealand report New Zealand Now - 65 Plus as a wake up call for the country.
"The fact that over one-quarter of our population will be aged 65 years and over by 2051 is a real wake-up call to New Zealanders to seriously consider the potential of older people in our country.
"This report shows more of us are going to live longer. We have to think about what we will need to support us in our later years and what sort of a role we want to have in the running of the country," the Minister said.
"Older people are a large and growing resource of experience and ideas that can be of benefit to our country if they are given the opportunity.
"They already make up a large proportion of the volunteer sector in the community providing support and care to people who are disabled and other older people. Senior citizens also provide invaluable support to organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureaux across New Zealand.
"The Senior Citizens Unit of the Department of Social Welfare is working with government departments to develop policies that will enable older people to live independently for as long as possible and to contribute more fully to the New Zealand society.
"In this way we will enhance the lives of senior citizens today and pave the way for an even greater level of acceptance and support for the growing numbers of older people in the future."
The Minister also noted that in October the United Nations Year of Older Persons will be launched.
"One of the key objectives of this year is to prepare for an ageing population. The Coalition Government has set aside $500,000 to celebrate the United Nations Year of the Older Person and I am personally committed to getting the best value for our money by ensuring the money is allocated to community-based initiatives.
"Our needs change as we grow older and as more people live longer we will be faced with new challenges," the Minister said.
"I will continue to do my best to meet these needs in my role as Minister."