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Liam Butler interviews Andrew Bayly MP for Hunua

Liam Butler interviews Andrew Bayly MP for Hunua

How is the Government committed to older New Zealanders?

Andrew Bayly MP:

Older New Zealanders have worked hard and should be able to enjoy their retirement with dignity.

A key aspect of our commitment is growing health services through a record $15.9 billion budget commitment in health. This includes our $76.1 million commitment to hospices and palliative care. We are funding areas which make a huge difference to people's lives by ensuring terminally ill people are as free from pain and suffering as possible. Hospices provide valuable care and support for families and friends, and this investment will ensure they can continue to do so.

Despite tight financial times, we have increased funding to aged residential care by $240 million and have increased the funding for dementia care beds by 25 per cent since 2008.

We are also helping older New Zealanders live longer, healthier lives, free of pain. Before the Budget we reaffirmed this commitment by announcing a further $98 million to boost elective surgery and improve prevention and treatment of orthopaedic conditions. This funding will help deliver an average extra 4,000 elective operations per year over the next four years.

That’s more hip and knee operations for those who need them most. Latest figures show a record 167,188 elective operations were performed last year. Since 2008 we have lifted the number of patients receiving elective surgery by around 50,000. That’s what careful management of our finances delivers for older New Zealanders.

National is also investing $13 million to fund 60 new nurse specialists and help hospices expand their community care services. These nurses play a critical role in training and mentoring staff across aged care facilities. They will help to ensure that as our population ages, high-quality care and facilities remain available to them.

We have made a commitment to keep superannuation at 66 per cent of the average wage and maintain the age of entitlement at 65. Under National superannuation has increased at double the rate of inflation and since 2008 the married rate is up 31 per cent to $1150 a fortnight.

On top of this we have put more money into funding the off-peak SuperGold Card public transport concession scheme for the last year, bringing total funding to $28.1 million, and 8,000 businesses are offering SuperGold Card discounts compared to just 876 in 2008.

The Government also funds 27 elder abuse and neglect prevention services around New Zealanders, offering assistance to older people and their families. We want to ensure older people can continue to live happy, independent lives in the community.

We are running information campaigns on the importance of Enduring Power of Attorney to help prevent financial abuse and have made broadcast content more accessible by increasing the amount of captioned content from 70 hours a week to 250 hours per week.

Older New Zealanders have a lot to offer our communities and I’m happy to be a part of a Government which is supporting them.

Andrew Bayly National MP for Hunua
Select Committees
Finance and Expenditure (Member)
Regulations Review (Deputy-Chairperson)
Transport and Industrial Relations (Member)

ENDS

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