New Zealand launches consultation to support older staff

Older employee

The New Zealand government has launched a consultation on its draft strategy to better support older individuals, including encouraging the employment of those aged over 50.

The Better later life: 2019 to 2034 consultation opened on 12 April 2019 and will run until 3 June 2019. Following this, the government will finalise its strategy and action plan to support older individuals; this will then be launched later in 2019.

Tracey Martin, seniors minister, said: “Like the rest of the developed world, New Zealand has an ageing population. That’s great news in that more of us are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. But it also means there are some things we have to consider and prepare for as a country.

“For example, two key areas of the strategy are supporting seniors in the workforce and how businesses can better recruit and retain older people and promoting housing options appropriate for older people.”

One pillar of the draft strategy centres around preparing for financial and economic security; this includes empowering older individuals to remain in work, if they wish, and to have their skills and experience recognised by employers.

The draft strategy recommends that the employment of individuals aged over 50 is encouraged and that the public sector role model good practice in both employment and how best to support an ageing workforce.

The strategy further aims to support those who cannot work up to the age at which employees receive their state retirement benefit, the NZ superannuation. The government will explore opportunities to enhance its SuperGold Card, a discounts and concessions card for seniors and veterans.

Other pillars of the draft strategy include improving access to health and social services, providing housing choices, enhancing opportunities for social connection and participation and providing accessible, built environments to encourage community activity.

The draft strategy takes into account feedback from a nationwide consultation last year, which discussed what people want for the future.

Martin added: “Better later life takes a fresh look at what is required to ensure everyone gets the chance to live well as they get older and help ensure we create opportunities for everyone to participate, contribute and be valued as they age. It has been designed to ensure New Zealand is prepared for and makes the most of our ageing population.”