Annual report 2011 mandatory image

Improved quality of life for older people

In 2011, the first of the baby-boomers turned 65 and became eligible for New Zealand Superannuation. We want more New Zealanders to recognise the potential of older people and to ensure they live safely in their community.

Older people are valued in the workforce

New Zealand already has one of the highest labour participation rates for older people among OECD countries.

In May 2011, we released on the results of research on the economic potential of older New Zealanders – The Business of Ageing: Realising the economic potential of older people in New Zealand: 2011–2051. The report highlights the contribution older people will make to our economy over the next 40 years, by looking at the value of their skills, knowledge and spending power.

We have promoted the research findings to key business leaders and industry sectors. We are also encouraging employers to consider flexible work options to attract and retain older workers.

The number of people aged 65 years and over in the workforce increased from 49,000 in 2004, to 102,800 in 2011. Statistics New Zealand, Household Labour Force Survey, Q2

Improving the quality of life of older people

The Office for Senior Citizens leads, promotes and monitors the New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy.

On 31 March 2011, web-based reporting on Positive Ageing went live. It shows how the initiatives by central and local agencies are contributing to older people’s wellbeing. Social indicators on the website measure progress over time towards each of the goals in the Strategy. The website also provides information on the demographic profile of older New Zealanders.

During 2010/2011, our policy staff prepared legislation to remove the need for recently bereaved spouses of superannuitants now living alone, to apply for extra help in recognition of the extra costs of maintaining a household on their own.

The New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy provides a framework to identify strategic opportunities to improve outcomes for older people across all government portfolios.

Changing attitudes about ageing

Promoting intergenerational programmes

In 2010/2011, we provided $1.16 million in funding to 16 community groups to run our SAGES programme. This programme matches older volunteers with young parents to provide one-on-one life and home skills mentoring. We have also:

  • worked with the Ministry of Education to develop and launch an online educational resource to promote intergenerational programmes in primary and intermediate schools
  • held a one-day symposium with young and older people to discuss intergenerational perspectives on issues of interest.

Intergenerational programmes enable children and young people to learn from and appreciate, the wisdom and life experience of older New Zealanders.

Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Services

In the year ending 30 June 2011, we provided $1.76 million in funding to 24 community-based organisations, including Mäori and Pacific providers. They provided services to 4,386 clients, slightly more than the 4,100 clients in 2009/2010. The services aim to prevent or reduce the incidence of abuse or neglect through both direct assistance to older people, their families and carers, and public and professional education. Age Concern New Zealand co-ordinates the delivery of these services.

We distributed the It’s Not OK Family Violence booklet, ‘Take the Time … Value Older People’, through our working relationships with district health board social work leaders and needs assessment and service co-ordinators. We also developed guidelines to raise the awareness of elder abuse and neglect among our frontline staff.

It is estimated up to 10 per cent of the population over 65 years of age has experienced abuse or neglect at some time.

SuperGold Card expansion

As at 30 June 2011, there were 573,831 SuperGold Cardholders who were able to access savings from 167 more business partners. This is a 3.2 per cent increase on the 556,183 cardholders as at 30 June 2010.

Around 52 per cent of all SuperGold Cards are ‘Combo-Cards’. This means the cardholder can also receive Community Services Card entitlements.
Access to transport through the SuperGold Card plays an important role in improving older people’s active participation in the community. During 2010/2011, cardholders made 10 million off-peak trips on public transport.

We have been working with all the Australian states and territories to establish reciprocal arrangements with our SuperGold Card programme. Tasmania and Victoria had signed the reciprocal arrangement by June 2011.

The SuperGold Card is a discount and concession card for all New Zealanders aged over 65 and recipients of Veterans’ Pensions.

Making it easier to access our services

Since July 2010, we have been actively encouraging people to apply for New Zealand Superannuation online. This resulted in an increase in the proportion of online applications from around eight per cent in July 2010, to 28 per cent in June 2011. Grey Power, Age Concern and the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association helped to promote the availability of the online application service.

We have brought all our inbound calling services together for senior clients so that from July 2011, people can have most of their enquiries managed during one phone call.

More than 77,000 clients have given us their email addresses. This is 14 per cent of the total New Zealand Superannuation population. This helps these clients receive information about their financial entitlements and special SuperGold Card deals more quickly.

We have also updated our SuperGold Card and Seniors websites to make it easier for people to check for up-to-date information about our services and special SuperGold Card promotions.

2010–2013 Statement of Intent Performance Indicators

Improved quality of life for older people




Proportion of older people (aged 65 years and over) in employment


An increasing number of older people are choosing to remain in the workforce. This year 17.8 per cent of older people were in the workforce compared with 16.1 per cent last year.

Source: Statistics New Zealand Household Labour Force Survey, quarterly averages for the years ended December 2009 and 2010.

The number of individuals who receive elder abuse advice and education will be between 1,000 and 1,200


New measure for 2010/2011.

Awareness of elder abuse and neglect has continued to increase with 4,386 individuals receiving elder abuse advice, education and support this year.

Annual report 2011 mandatory image

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