Eldernet asked each of the political parties contesting the 2020 election to tell us what they see as the primary issues facing older people and what they plan to do about making older people’s lives easier. Here is the response from Jan Logie of the Green Party.
The Green Party is aware that by 2034 there will be around 1.2 million people aged over 65. Our ageing New Zealanders are productive and active participants in their communities, creative and have so much to offer. We need to make sure that our ageing population has everything they need to enjoy the later years in life.
The Green Party believes that all New Zealanders should age positively and by this we mean to have access to a warm place to call home, adequate income, access to healthcare, feel socially connected, be treated with respect and have the necessities to enjoy old age and retirement.
The Green Party is aware that some of our older population face significant challenges, such as loneliness and social isolation, employment issues and age discrimination, housing concerns, elder abuse, and making sure all public facilities are accessible. The Green Party supports the ‘Better Later Life He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034 Strategy’, which notes changes that need to be made to make the future better for New Zealanders as we age.
The Green Party will:
- Increase funding for aged care providers and ensure that the funding model provides viable aged care services for specific communities, including small towns and rural areas.
- Work towards mandatory staff-to-resident ratios in aged care homes.
- Improve accountability throughout the aged care system through the establishment of an Aged Care Commissioner.
- Investigate appropriate housing options for seniors to provide a transition between living at home and residential care.
- Encourage innovation in the delivery of aged care to cater to the needs of a growing and diverse population.
- Ensure dental care is free for superannuitants.
- Ensure provision of a high level of home support services for people who are willing and able to continue living at home.
- Maintain universal New Zealand Superannuation for all New Zealanders 65 years and older and identify ways to allow flexibility in the age at which a person may receive superannuation.
In relation to the two referenda:
- All eight Green MPs supported the End of Life Choice Bill at the third reading. The Green Party believes that New Zealanders who have a terminal illness should be able to choose the way their life ends in a supported and open way, to have dignity at the end of their life, provided there are very clear safeguards around that. Our Bill of Rights doesn’t specifically recognise the human rights principle of dignity and of personal autonomy, but that concept of dignity is recognised elsewhere in our law, and that is what this Bill provides.
- The Green Party supports a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum to legalise and control cannabis, and has worked to ensure the proposed law is a world-class public health response. In government, we also passed important drug law reform so people found using or possessing illegal drugs are supported into recovery rather than locked up. The Green Party is focused on reducing drug harm.