Dedication of Order of St John Health ShuttlesSenior Citizens
Pitt St, Auckland
Thank you for the opportunity to join you as you dedicate the two new health shuttles for Central Auckland.
Before commenting on how important this service is, I just wanted to acknowledge and pay tribute to the volunteers of the Order of St John. This is particularly appropriate in this the International Year of the Volunteer. Can I thank you for your goodwill, dedication, energy and commitment. From driving to telephoning, to emergency services to youth training and development you make an enormous contribution to every community in New Zealand.
I am here today as Minister for Senior Citizens. Earlier this year I launched the Positive Ageing Strategy, which outlines a vision for:
"A society where people can age positively, where older people are highly valued and where they are recognised as an integral part of families and communities. New Zealand will be a positive place in which to age when older people can say that they live in a society that values them, acknowledges their contributions and encourages their participation. One of the measures of this is to ensure a range of support services, and access to them."
Both the Positive Ageing Strategy and the Disabilities Strategy talk about removing barriers to participation:-
The explicit goals is to ensure that lack of transport is not a barrier to accessing health services.
The concept of health shuttles is therefore fully in line with the Positive Ageing Strategy – I endorse the approach as Minister for Senior Citizens, and I congratulate St Johns for an initiative, that could be described as the ambulance at the top of the cliff.