Carers' Strategy Action Paln cover

The New Zealand Carers' Strategy

Who are carers?

Carers (individuals, family, whānau and aiga) are people who support immediate or wider family, whanau, or aiga members or friends with a disability, illness, or health condition that need additional help with their everyday living.

Carers are crucial to New Zealand’s society as they enable people to live and participate in their communities, and reduce the dependence on health and aged care systems.


How many carers are there in New Zealand?

The 2013 Census identified that there were about 430,000 carers at that time –10% (1 in 10) of the New Zealand population − an increase of 13% from the 2001 Census.

However, this number may not represent the true number of carers.

Demand for carers is growing as a result of changing demographic trends, including:

  • the increasing number of people who have a disability and need support as a result of the ageing population
  • more older people are being supported to live in their own homes
  • advances in medicine means younger people with high support needs are surviving and living longer.

Cross-government strategy to better support carers

Launched in Parliament by the then Minister for Senior Citizens, the Hon Jo Goodhew, on 18 February 2014, the Carers’ Strategy was developed in partnership with government agencies and the New Zealand Carers Alliance (which has a network of over 45 not-for-profit organisations).

The Strategy acknowledges the real difference carers can make in people’s lives. Improving support for carers is important for developing strong healthy families and meeting future challenges of providing care.

The Carers’ Strategy outlines the Government’s vision for carers in New Zealand:

New Zealand is a society that values individuals, families, whānau or aiga who support others who need help with their everyday living.

This will be achieved when:

  • carers have choices and opportunities to participate in family life, social activities, employment and education
  • carers’ voices are heard in decision-making that affects them.

Development of a new Carers’ Strategy Action Plan 2019–2023

The current Action Plan (2014–2018) will expire by the end of this year and work is underway to develop a new five-year Action Plan that better supports carers.

To ensure the new Action Plan better supports carers we are working with agencies and in partnership with the Carers Alliance to consider key areas for all carers.


What are we aiming to achieve?

We want New Zealand to be a place where families, whānau, aiga and carers who support their friends and family have improved wellbeing and long-term outcomes. This means carers are supported to provide care for as long as they choose to, and while doing so are supported and able to participate in society.

We are taking a wellbeing approach to support the new Action Plan, with the goal to better improve wellbeing outcomes for carers, and to ensure the care role is sustainable and responding to the growing trends of an ageing population and an increasing demand for carers.

We will be updating this website as we develop the new Action Plan and when we are going to be consulting over proposed activity in a new Action Plan. For more information you can contact us at carers.strategy@msd.govt.nz or through Carers New Zealand at www.carersnz.org.nz.

To view the current Action Plan, you can download the below documents.


Where can you get support now?

  • MyCare: Online matching service that aims to find carers access to respite carers
  • A Guide for Carers: this guide provides information on supports, financial and non-financial available to carers and how to access them
  • CarersNZ website: provides a hub for ideas, guidance, learning and support. This includes things like “Find Services and Support” tool, and a Time Out Guide
  • CareMatters: provides a National Carer Learning and Wellbeing Resource Service with online resources, face-to-face workshop information, and care planning.