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Age Concern: Settings New Issues For Advocacy

Settings New Issues For Advocacy: Age Concern Gathers For National Meeting

25 March 2002

On April 1, 2 and 3, over 80 people from local Age Concern Councils around the country are joining together for Age Concern New Zealand’s 28th AGM, in Hamilton. With the theme of Reaching out in partnerships, key outcomes include a new mandate for Age Concern’s advocacy on issues, and discussion on the range of relationships it has locally and nationally.

A prominent partnership is the relationship with Government. This continues to be an area in need of remedy. “Across the board, Government departments have a way to go before there is a real partnership approach with NGOs,” says Dave Henry, Age Concern national president. “For example, involving Age Concern at the start of policy development, instead of being presented with a final version for comment, would be a great start. Sadly, this rarely happens.”

“We believe whenever policy is being talked about, the needs and impact on people should be put first. Age Concern has a critical role in advocating issues that promote the quality of life of older people today, and to safeguard the health of future older New Zealanders,” Mr Henry said. “What have the young of New Zealand got to look forward to if older New Zealanders are unhappy with their situation today?”

Setting policies as a basis for advocacy over the next three years has involved consultation and feedback with local Age Councils and the people they represent. A new Policy Manifesto will be finalised, putting forth what Age Concern believes the Government and society should follow on older people and ageing issues. This will be released publicly in late May.

The Minister for the Voluntary and Community Sector, the Hon. Steve Maharey, will speak to the meeting dinner on Tuesday 2 April, about funding and the decreasing resources available to the community sector.

Also, guest speaker Dorothy Wilson, chair of the Government’s group working on its relationship with community organisations, will participate in a workshop on how the community and Government can better work together.

ENDS

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