Executive Summary

Office for Senior Citizens.

The New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy reinforces Government's commitment to promote the value and participation of older people in communities. Older people are important members of society and have the right to be afforded dignity in their senior years. They have skills, knowledge and experience to contribute to society, and the expected growth in the proportion of older people during the coming decades will provide New Zealand with a valuable resource. Further, continued participation in older age has benefits for the individual concerned, the community, and the country as a whole.

The aim of the Positive Ageing Strategy is to improve opportunities for older people to participate in the community in the ways that they choose. This will be achieved through identifying barriers to participation and working with all sectors to develop actions to address these, while balancing the needs of older people with the needs of younger and future generations.

The New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy provides a framework within which all policy with implications for older people can be commonly understood and developed. The framework incorporates broad principles that will guide the development of policies and services from a wide range of government agencies. It also identifies key areas that contribute to positive ageing.

A review of existing policies and services has been undertaken to ensure consistency with the Positive Ageing Principles. In addition, extensive public consultation has identified priority areas for action, leading to the development of a government Action Plan for positive ageing in New Zealand.

The following Positive Ageing Principles will guide the development of policies and services across the government sector into the future.

Effective positive ageing policies will:

  • Empower older people to make choices that enable them to live a satisfying life and lead a healthy lifestyle;
  • Provide opportunities for older people to participate in and contribute to family, wha-nau and community;
  • Reflect positive attitudes to older people;
  • Recognise the diversity of older people and ageing as a normal part of the lifecycle;
  • Affirm the values and strengthen the capabilities of older Māori and their whānau;
  • Recognise the diversity and strengthen the capabilities of older Pacific people;
  • Appreciate the diversity of cultural identity of older people living in New Zealand;
  • Recognise the different issues facing men and women;
  • Ensure older people, in both rural and urban areas, live with confidence in a secure environment and receive the services they need to do so; and
  • Enable older people to take responsibility for their personal growth and development through changing circumstances.

The Positive Ageing Strategy identifies ten priority goals, with recommended actions to achieve these goals. Specific work items will be undertaken by government departments to work towards the goals. However, their achievement also depends on the contributions of other sectors of society.