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Older people's big 4 concerns addressed in Budget

Age Concern New Zealand media release

Budget 2010

Older people's 'big 4' concerns addressed in Budget

20 May 2010

Age Concern says older New Zealanders' concerns have been partially addressed by today's Budget.

"Older people tell Age Concern New Zealand that income, health, chronic loneliness, and achieving respect are their major concerns.

We welcome the initiatives to improve these in today's Budget," Age Concern New Zealand national president Liz Baxendine says.

Income

Seniors will get a 2.02 % Superannuation increase from 1 October plus small tax cuts but GST is increasing from 12.5% to 15%.

"Age Concern will be monitoring the effects of GST-fuelled inflation," Liz Baxendine says.

"The great majority of older people are low income earners, with incomes only around $15,500 per year so."

"Our nationwide experience working with older people shows the level of New Zealand Superannuation is inadequate for at least one-quarter of superannuitants.

"Age Concern wants to see Super increased to the full proportion of the net average wage allowed under the Superannuation Act, inflation adjustments to be made twice a year, and an investigation into the real income level that's needed for older people to live in dignity and safety."

Health

"Older people are especially concerned about health care and waiting lists. We welcome further strengthening of health services.

With $2 billion investment over the next four years, we expect to see older people being properly supported throughout the health system, including in their own homes.

We're pleased that older people will be getting more of the elective surgery they need to maintain their quality of life and contribution to their communities, with $10 million this year plus $51 million over the next four years promised.

We welcome the extra funding for primary care and disability services and equipment, the $40 million extra investment in medicines, and 200 new training places," Liz Baxendine says.

Chronic loneliness

"We're pleased the health implications of chronic loneliness and social isolation are being recognised. And, in particular, for offering assistance towards Age Concern services that provide regular visits by trained volunteers to people in the most need.

"This will most certainly enable us to offer at least one Accredited Visiting Service in each DHB."

Attitudes to older people

"However, we're disappointed that gaps in elder abuse and neglect prevention services didn't make the Budget cut."

"Older people in Thames-Coromandel, Rotorua, the Far North and Grey District, along with parts of the main centres and rural communities still don't have access to specialist support."

Ends


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