Hon Tracey Martin, Minister for Seniors
Seniors Minister Tracey Martin today released a discussion document and opened consultation on a new positive ageing strategy.
“The Government is going develop a new Positive Ageing Strategy to shape the policies needed to adjust to an ageing population and to help older New Zealanders live well,” the Minister said.
“Like the rest of the developed world, New Zealand has an ageing population,” says Minister Martin. “That’s great news in that more of us are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. But it also means there are significant things we have to consider as a country.”
Currently there are around 725,000 people aged over 65. By 2028 there will be 1 million and by 2038, combined with the low birth rate, seniors will make up almost a quarter of the total population.
“We need a strategy to ensure that we are in a good position to deal with these demographic shifts and the wider changes that are happening in society, and that are going to happen.
“Along with having a positive environment for the individual people represented in these figures, our ageing population has implications for employment and housing, health and aged care, social services and our economy.”
Minister Martin says how we respond to our ageing population will have a huge impact on New Zealand's economic growth. “Not only will Seniors be a vital part of a 21st century workplace, but in the next twenty years our country will turn to them more and more for the contribution they make as taxpayers, carers, consumers, volunteers, and employees.”
The Minister said for the strategy to work it needed to look ahead and consultation needed to engage people from across New Zealand and from diverse backgrounds.
“We need the views of today’s seniors, but we must also hear from next generation of seniors - people aged in their 40, 50s and 60s now.”
The consultation is open from 29 June to 24 August. Following the consultation officials will draft the new strategy and an action plan. A second round of consultation on the proposed strategy will take place in early 2019.
The discussion document and information on the consultation can be found on the SuperSeniors website: superseniors.msd.govt.nz/ageingpopulation
Note for editors:
There is an existing Positive Ageing Strategy but it was created in 2001 and and the last action plan based on the strategy was completed in 2010. The Government has decided to develop a new strategy.
In 2001, when the last Positive Ageing Strategy was created, there were nearly 50,000 people aged 85+. Today there are more than 85,000 people who are 85 or older – 15% of the senior population.
That number is predicted to rise to 22% in 2036 and 27% in 2061.
The senior population is also increasingly diverse. By 2036 the number of Māori aged 65+ will almost triple from 2013 figures (to 105,000) the senior Pacific population will also triple (to 45,000), and there will be five times as many Asian NZers aged 65+ (164,000).
Seniors currently make up around 6.2% of the workforce. By 2033 the number of seniors at work will nearly double and they will make up 10.6% of the workforce.
It is estimated that by 2061 seniors will contribute $31 billion to the economy through paid and unpaid work, up from $6.5 billion today.