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Office for Senior Citizens.

Minister for Senior Citizens

It gives me great pleasure to launch the New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy. The Strategy sets out Government's commitment to positive ageing and reaffirms the value of older people in society.

Older people have skills, knowledge and experience to contribute to our country, and Government has an interest in ensuring that they are able to remain active participants in society for as long as possible. The New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy is expected to improve opportunities for older people to participate in the community and to ensure that government policies support this aim.

I believe that Professor Sik Hung Ng of Victoria University, who was instrumental in establishing the New Zealand Institute of Research on Ageing, encapsulates the purpose of the Positive Ageing Strategy with the following words:

"New Zealanders who are now 65 plus are more highly educated and healthier than their predecessors. Their capacity for productive work of all kinds, not necessarily for pay, is a national treasure...Their contribution to New Zealand society is and will continue to be immense. If they are ignored undervalued, or otherwise excluded from society, New Zealand can hardly be competitive against other countries that have found a way of harnessing this immense resource."

During its development, the Positive Ageing Strategy had significant input from a wide range of individuals and from different sectors in the community working together. I would like to pay special tribute to their contributions, which I believe are strongly reflected in this Strategy.

The Positive Ageing Strategy establishes a set of principles as a framework for integrating policies and programmes across the government sector. But the Positive Ageing Strategy is more than a set of principle statements it is a living document that is a basis for action.

A Positive Ageing Action Plan has been developed consisting of specific work items from a wide range of government agencies towards the achievement of ten priority goals. I will be monitoring progress on the Action Plan and will report annually to Government. I am also responsible for overseeing the development of a new Action Plan each year to ensure continued progress towards the positive ageing goals.

The Positive Ageing Strategy reflects the wishes of New Zealanders to create a society in which people can age positively. This requires more than Government action it requires commitment and action from all sectors of society. It is my hope that central government, local government, business and community organisations will work together to achieve this vision.

Lianne Dalziel

Minister for Senior Citizens