Insight Building Workshop for Seniors a Success
The NZFMC Insight Building Workshop for Seniors, hosted by the NZFMC Seniors Council was successfully held on the 11th of March at the Filipino Community Centre, 92 Cuba street, Petone. The workshop started with a Karakia by Mike Scrivener, Secretary of NZFMC Seniors Council. Gul Zaman, President of NZFMC Seniors Council then welcomed the Senior representatives from the Regional Multicultural Councils followed by a key note speech by Cr Glenda Barratt, on behalf of His Worship the Mayor Ray Wallace, Hutt City Council.
We had speakers from Ministry of Social Development’s Office for Seniors, Ministry of Health, Age Concern and Grey Power and discussed the topics below.
- Age Concern NZ: Strengthening Our Relationship, Building Our Future: Stephanie Clare, Age Concern Chief Executive, and Desigin Thulkanam, Manager, Policy and Health Promotion.
- Healthy and Positive Ageing Strategies: Jim Nicolson, Manager, Healthy Ageing Policy, Ministry of Health, and Diane Turner, Director of the MSD Office for Seniors.
- Superannuation: Lynne Cousins, MSD International Policy Manager and Peter Matcham, Grey Power Federation Board Member
At the conclusion of the workshop, in a session facilitated by Joris de Bres, former New Zealand Race Relations Commissioner, participants identified key issues and actions as follows:
1. We commend to MNZ and RMCs the Ministry of Health’s recently completed Healthy Ageing Strategy and the Office for Seniors’ Positive Ageing Strategy. We encourage further engagement by MNZ with the Ministry of Health on the implementation plan for the Healthy Ageing Strategy.
2. We support an ongoing engagement between MNZ and Age Concern at the national level, and encourage RMCs to engage with local branches of Age Concern and promote their services to seniors from ethnic communities.
3. We encourage RMCs to reach out to seniors in their communities, particularly those who experience isolation, and organise activities for them (e.g. health workshops, forums, social gatherings and volunteer opportunities) in cooperation with other agencies.
4. We encourage RMCs to engage with Red Cross NZ branches to reach out to seniors in refugee communities.
5. We urge MNZ to develop policy and advocate on key issues affecting seniors in ethnic communities, including:
• Health, housing, immigration, isolation and elder abuse
• Gold Card access to public transport in peak hours
• Extension of superannuation portability to senior migrants irrespective of national origin
• Financial recognition of seniors who do not qualify for superannuation but contribute their time to family and community
• Resources for organisations that provide services and activities for seniors
• Suspension of the parent category in immigration policy
• Proposed changes to superannuation (age of eligibility and residence requirements)
• Diverse cultural perspectives on euthanasia
MNZ has been advised to address these and other issues with political parties in the run-up to the 2017 parliamentary elections, and encourage RMCs to raise them in meetings with local parliamentary candidates.