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Progress on International Older Person's Day

Positive progress on International Older Person's Day

Minister for Senior Citizens, Ruth Dyson, today welcomed the progress many councils and agencies are making in taking the needs of older people into consideration

“Good progress is being achieved by government agencies and local councils in implementing New Zealand’s Positive Ageing Strategy, which is particularly pleasing as we celebrate International Day of Older Persons today,” said Ruth Dyson.

The Day is designed to raise awareness worldwide about the need for older people to be recognised as valuable and to exemplify their contributions to society.

This Labour-led government shares a common goal with you: to ensure that all New Zealanders are able to maintain active, fulfilling lives in their later years, and participate fully in our communities.

The government’s commitment to that goal is expressed in the New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy, which was launched in 2001, eleven years after the United Nations' first International Day of Older Persons.

"The Strategy sets out our vision for a society where people can age positively, where older people are highly valued, and where they have continuing opportunities for participation – all of which fit in with the goals of Older Persons Day."

This year, for the first time, the New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy annual report and action plan has been published as one document. The New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy has been widely distributed to local councils, libraries and community organisations, it is also available to the public from the Office for Senior Citizens and from the website

Highlights of NZ Positive Ageing Strategy actions by the Labour-led government 2005 – 2006

Ministry of Social Development promoted legislation that extended eligibility rules to allow all superannuitants with a spouse or partner in long-term residential care to receive the higher single rates of New Zealand Superannuation from 1 July 2006

continued preparations for the launch of a “Golden Age Card” to be used to identify the card holder’s eligibility for public sector entitlements and some commercial concessions, and provide greater recognition and an improved standard of living for seniors and veterans

Ministry of Social Development - Family and Community Services contracted two new Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Services for Taupo and Horowhenua

Ministry of Social Development, Human Resources surveyed older staff on their perspectives on ageing and retirement intentions in order to develop policies for its future workforce Ministry of Health published the Dementia Care Standard Audit Work Book and Community Care Guidance Booklet

National Library of New Zealand reviewed their reference services, including their services to Mäori, which resulted in the appointment of a permanent Senior Reference Librarian Mäori

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Social Development jointly organised the insulation of 8,000 homes for older people with a community services card

Department of Building and Housing released the Framework for the Building Code Review for public consultation in May 2006. The Department assumed responsibility for the Retirement Villages Act on 1 July 2005. New regulations announced under the Act will significantly boost the rights of people living in retirement villages, and better inform potential residents prior to signing occupation right agreements.

Ministry of Transport’s recommended changes to the older driver licensing regime, including the removal of mandatory age-based on-road testing, were approved and come into effect from 4 December 2006

Land Transport New Zealand updated and released the Older Drivers Fact Sheet, available on http:/

Sport and Recreation New Zealand sponsored 5km and 10km walks in the 2006 New Zealand Masters Games, with more than 11% of participants aged 65 or older

Department of Labour completed a national baseline survey of employees in the work-life balance project showing a greater proportion of workers 50 plus would like to work fewer hours

New Zealand Police provided information to Older People’s Workshops on the benefits of Neighbourhood Support and community patrolling resulting in 150 people over 65 joining community patrols

Veterans Affairs produced promotional material to mark 2006 the ‘Year of the Veteran’, which was sent to RSAs, councils, libraries and citizens advice bureaux

Ministry of Research Science and Technology published working papers from the Enhancing Wellbeing in an Ageing Society research project Fertility and Ageing in Urban and Rural Areas, Elder or Merely older? and Enhancing the Wellbeing of Older Mäori on the website


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