Placing real value on our elderly and the people who care for them will be a priority for a Labour Government, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.
Releasing Labour’s Senior Citizens policy today David Cunliffe promised that a Labour Government would establish a working group tasked with implementing a range of initiatives that put the needs of older people and their carers at the forefront of policy.
Our elderly - our grandparents, our mums and dads - deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, as do the people who look after them.
“We need to support older New Zealanders to stay in their own homes longer with quality home-based care and, where there is a need for residential care, look at how we can deliver a less institutionalised approach that puts the individual and their needs first.
“National has under-funded aged care hospitals and rest homes ever since it became the Government. Health care assistants and nurses employed by DHBs now earn more each week than their equivalents working in community-based facilities.
“That is unfair to thousands of hardworking and dedicated Kiwis. A Labour Government will ensure they are valued equally by introducing pay parity for nurses and caregivers working in the sector. We will also make sure home support and community carers receive consistent and fair reimbursement for their travel costs.
“The working group will also be tasked with advising on an agreed timeframe and funding to implement:
- A continuum of care model that puts the older person at the centre of an individualised plan, starting from ageing in place at home to hospital, respite and palliative care
- Agreed staffing levels for safe residential care, dementia care and home and community care
- Consistent provision of elder abuse and neglect prevention services across the country
“That work will be facilitated by an Aged Care Commissioner, whose role will include investigating claims of elder abuse, neglect and financial mismanagement.
“Alongside that Labour will also extend the rates rebate scheme, which recognises the hardship faced by many people on low and fixed incomes, to income-qualifying New Zealanders living in license to occupy units in retirement villages.
“We will also review legislation around overseas pension schemes so that those who have worked and saved for their retirement through overseas pension schemes are not unduly penalised when they become eligible for NZ super.
“These policies complement Labour’s plans to provide over 65s with free doctors’ visits and prescriptions and bring down power prices by setting up a single buyer, NZ Power, to buy all electricity generation at a fair price.
“Labour has been listening to the needs of the sector and to our senior citizens and will create a fairer, kinder New Zealand for all,” David Cunliffe said.