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"Its Time Politicians Worked Together On NZ Super"

"Its Time Politicians Worked Together On NZ Superannuation"

A report released by Age Concern today says that it’s time politicians worked together on New Zealand Superannuation. At the end of September, Age Concern hosted a Forum to develop targets for action and provide input into the Government’s recently released draft Positive Ageing Strategy. Over 100 key opinion leaders from the business, education, voluntary, union, health, local government and central government sectors were involved.

“A very diverse range of participants had a strong message for all politicians – establish a multi-party agreement on New Zealand Superannuation,” said Age Concern New Zealand chief executive, Claire Austin.

“New Zealanders need certainty and stability with retirement income, if we are to effectively plan ahead for our older age. It is high time for all political parties to stop their wrangling and establish a binding agreement on superannuation.”

As well as calling for political agreement on New Zealand Superannuation, the Forum recommended thirteen points of action as key components of a Positive Ageing Strategy. These points of action included: – the need to guarantee the provision of a secure and adequate income for older people; – eliminating ageism in the workforce; – an integrated delivery and funding of health care; – fostering life long learning for all age groups; and – fostering collaboration between government, business and community sectors.

“The Forum was clear that it wanted to see clear, measurable points of action for a Positive Ageing Strategy,” says Ms Austin. “It’s Age Concern’s vision that our nation embraces the emergence of an ageing population, as providing opportunities for positive change and growth for all New Zealanders, as well as the security to be able to plan ahead for the future – for young and old.”

ENDS

For further information please contact: Claire Austin, Chief Executive (wk) 0-4-471 2709, (mobile) 025 243 6991 or Dr Margaret Guthrie, National President (hm) 0-4-233 9016

http://www.ageconcern.org.nz

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Executive Summary

Age Concern held a Forum to contribute to the development of the proposed New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy, on 27 September 2000 in Wellington. Over 100 key opinion leaders from the voluntary, business, health, education, local government and central government sectors participated in the Forum.

Forum participants welcomed the Government initiative to develop a Positive Ageing Strategy. However, they were critical of the proposed Positive Ageing Principles as failing to provide a clear and strong foundation upon which to base the Strategy.

The Forum considered the Positive Ageing Principles should be re-written as explicit and meaningful action statements. These would then provide a clear guide for action, and a basis for measuring progress.

A list of thirteen points of action were recommended as key components of a Positive Ageing Strategy.

Recommended Points of Action -- Guarantee the provision of a secure and adequate income for older people. -- Establish a multi-party agreement on retirement income. -- Provide accessible, timely, co-ordinated and equitable health services for older people. -- The delivery and funding of health care services must be integrated. -- Ensure the availability of a continuum of care for frail older people, including adequately resourced home and community care services, mental health services and rehabilitation services. -- Ensure the provision of affordable and appropriate, private and rental housing for older people. -- Eliminate ageism in the workforce, and promote flexible employment options for older people. -- Foster life long learning for all age groups. -- Promote the United Nations Principles for Older Persons. -- Government should model positive ageing behaviour and eliminate ageism (e.g. by fully complying with the Human Rights Act). -- Encourage positive images of older people in the media and public arena. -- Foster collaborative relationships between Government, NGO, business and community sectors to act in the interests of older people, and the whole community. -- Provide additional funding for the not-for-profit (NGO) sector.

The development of a Positive Ageing Strategy is a significant step forward for New Zealand. We must all ensure that the Government is held accountable for ensuring that the objectives are appropriate and successfully implemented. _______________________________

Copies of this report are available from Age Concern New Zealand for $10.00 each, or it can be downloaded at: http://www.ageconcern.org.nz/Policy_Issues/Forum.htm


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