Working hard for New Zealand’s seniors

Column Articles
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The recent ANZAC centennial celebrations in the Bay were a moving moment for me as I met several folk from our older generation who experienced first-hand life during the war.

In our age where often our greatest nuisance may be traffic hour or a cracked cell phone screen, I recall the sacrifices that our older generation made – both on the battlefield as well as home to support the war efforts. Imagine something as basic as using ground acorns for coffee grind. Or the immense strain on a mother looking after the kids alone while her husband was overseas in the trenches.

We want a society where we recognise what people have been through, where people can age positively, and where older people are highly valued as an integral part of families and the community.

National has maintained financial security for seniors. We have kept the retirement age at 65, and the after-tax weekly rates of Superannuation have increased by 31 per cent since 2008. We have also maintained Superannuation for a married couple at 66 per cent of the average wage.

Our successful economic management means healthcare continues to improve. National is investing over $400m extra each year in public health services. We are shifting resources from the back office to the frontline and there are now an extra 1500 doctors and 3300 more nurses across the country.

Latest health target results show 161,933 hip, knee and other elective operations were performed by district health boards in the last year. This helps our older New Zealanders maintain their independence and get out and about.

Additionally, National is working hard to keep Kiwi families safer. We put 600 extra Police on the streets and deployed them more strategically, in areas and at times when Police know there’s a greater risk of crime. Under National, we have achieved the lowest crime rate since 1978.

Also, we’ve just released the Positive Aging Strategy report which shows New Zealand is progressing well in most areas. National knows we can improve on this, and will work hard to raise awareness of elder abuse and social isolation, and support and promote our seniors’ economic activity. Senior citizens have much to contribute with their wisdom and experience, which should be sought after more in our community.

National remains committed to ensuring senior citizens have the security, wellbeing and respect they deserve.