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Older people

New Zealand has an ageing population. One in four New Zealanders will be aged over 65 years by 2040. It is essential that older people have access to their full entitlements so they can remain independent while continuing to lead full, healthy and secure lives.

Online Services for Seniors

The Seniors website can be accessed at

The Ministry’s 2009–2012 Statement of Intent indicators for seniors show that, for the year ended December 2009, 16.1 per cent of older people were in the workforce, compared with 15.2 per cent the previous year. According to the 2006 Census, 18 per cent of people aged 65 years and over undertook “other voluntary work”2.

In July 2009, the Ask a Question tool went live on the Seniors website. This allows people to ask questions and to get answers about the Ministry’s services for seniors. Between July 2009 and June 2010, 4,137 clients asked questions relating to their individual circumstances. Most commonly, people asked about their eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation (NZS) domestically and overseas.

Since April 2010, eligible clients have been able to apply online for NZS. They can also easily check what other assistance they may be eligible for (such as the Accommodation Supplement and the Disability Allowance). Feedback from applicants about the online application has been positive. They say it gives them choice and control over how they apply for NZS and it makes the process easier for them.

From July 2010 we have been promoting our online services by: encouraging people who contact us about applying for NZS to do this online; making the online application more visible on our website; updating our NZS fact sheets and brochures; providing information about the online applications to non-government organisations (NGOs), such as Grey Power, Age Concern and The Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association.

Between April and June 2010, we received 7,301 applications for New Zealand Superannuation; 399 applications (5.5 per cent) were submitted online.

New Zealand Superannuation – implementing portability legislation (payment of New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension overseas)

In January 2010, we implemented new portability legislation which enables superannuitants and veterans pensioners to travel or retire overseas while retaining their entitlement to NZS or a Veteran’s Pension.

Between January 2010 and June 2010, we helped 375 clients to take advantage of the legislative change that allows them to receive up to 100 per cent (compared with 50 per cent previously) of their New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension while travelling or retiring overseas to non-agreement countries. The most popular destinations are the United States, Thailand, Philippines, India, Croatia, Israel, Italy and Chile.

At 30 June 2010, 20,633 NZS and Veteran’s Pension payments were paid overseas.

SuperGold Card

As at 30 June 2010, there were 556,183 SuperGold cardholders compared to 536,932 cardholders for the same period in 2009 (an increase of 3.5 per cent).

We improved the SuperGold Card programme by:

  • publishing a new directory of services in February 2010 that is easier to navigate due to its colour-coded regional breakdowns of business listings
  • adding 212 new business partners between July 2009 and June 2010 –
    a notable signing in December 2009 was the New Zealand Super 14 franchises for the 2010 and 2011 seasons, offering a ‘buy one get one free’ ticket for home games (excluding semi-finals and the final).

We have been working towards developing a trans-Tasman reciprocal arrangement with Australia that enables Seniors Card holders visiting New Zealand to access commercial discounts offered to SuperGold Card holders, and SuperGold Card holders visiting Australia to access commercial discounts offered to Senior Card holders. Positive responses have been received from all the Australian States and Territories who agreed to work together to develop this proposal further.

Since the launch of the SuperGold Card in August 2007, the number of business partners has grown from 188 to 1,212 (a 545 per cent increase) and associated business outlets from 2,215 to 5,293 (a 139 per cent increase).

Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Services

We delivered training to our frontline staff to improve their awareness of and to help them better recognise elder abuse and neglect. As a result, Work and Income, and Senior Services staff are better able to identify and respond to cases of elder abuse and neglect.

In 2009/2010, over 4,000 clients were supported by Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Services (an increase of 263 per cent since 2008/2009).

Reporting on positive ageing

Local and central government agencies are required to report on their activities and outcomes achieved under the 10 goals of the New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy. The reporting process has become more accessible now it is available online.

The development of web-based reporting simplifies the reporting process for agencies and allows the progressive release of information. The first phase of online reporting went live in April 2010. The development of the site will continue in 2010, and the website will be fully operational in March 2011.

For more information about this website visit

2 There is one further 2009–2012 Statement of Intent indicator on the proportion of older people (65+ years) with net-of-housing-cost incomes below the 60 per cent median. Updated comparable information is not available for this indicator.

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