Seniors will be able to access first-class care under a National Government that gives them the opportunity to retain independence and live well in their later years, National’s Associate Health spokesperson Maggie Barry says.
“National believes all New Zealanders should have the opportunity to be as independent as possible, and health services should support older New Zealanders to be independent.
“Seniors are especially vulnerable to elder abuse and neglect, dementia and illnesses like arthritis. We want elderly Kiwis to live enjoyable, meaningful lives with strong social connections.
“In our Health Discussion Document, National is committing to producing a Dementia Action Plan so information and tools are available regardless of where you live or the level of care you require. We know dementia can be isolating, but we’re focussed on creating communities which are supportive and understanding of people with dementia.
“Living independently is another important aspect of ageing well. We’re proposing encouraging seniors to adopt technologies which will support them to live in their own homes for as long as possible. We’re also proposing rolling out the Community Connects model to combat loneliness and isolation among our seniors.
“One of the key health challenges National wants to address is arthritis. Whilst it doesn’t just affect older people, it’s a condition that impacts the quality of life of arthritis sufferers. We’re proposing making healthy bones and joints a priority so that we can support New Zealanders living with arthritis as they age.
“We’ll invest in the health of older New Zealanders and make their care a priority. We want to ensure every Kiwi is able to access the care they need, from the first thousand days to their later years.
“National will restore confidence in New Zealand’s public health system. We’re doing the work in Opposition so National is ready to hit the ground running in 2020.”
North Shore MP Maggie Barry ONZM has today announced she will not be seeking re-election and will retire from Parliament in 2020.
Ms Barry has held the North Shore seat for three terms. In 2014 she became a Cabinet Minister with the Conservation, Seniors and Arts Culture and Heritage portfolios.
“It has been an honour to serve the people of the North Shore for three terms and to have been part of such a talented National Party Caucus.
“I came into Parliament with the ambition of being a voice for the most vulnerable. As Minister for Seniors I strongly advocated to raise awareness of the scourge of elder abuse and initiated protections against the risks that many elderly face like social isolation and loneliness.
“It’s been an enormous privilege to have made a contribution to helping save our threatened plant and bird species. By leading initiatives like Predator Free 2050, Battle for Our Birds and War on Weeds. I was able to raise awareness with the wider public about conservation solutions because at heart I believe that saving the world starts in your own backyard.”
Maggie Barry says a personal highlight of her time at Parliament includes being responsible for the World War I commemorations as Arts Culture and Heritage Minister.
“It truly was an honour unveiling the New Zealand plaques at many of the French and Belgium Western Front battlefields and reading the ode at the Menin Gate.”
In Opposition Maggie Barry has been the spokesperson for Seniors, Veterans, Disability Issues and Associate Health with responsibilities for dementia and palliative care.
“Making the decision to leave wasn’t easy, but after an extraordinary 10 years in politics the time is now right for my husband Grant Kerr and I to spend more time overseas with our London based family and share some adventures - we have a bucket list as long as your arm.
“I have every confidence that National under the energetic leadership of Simon Bridges, will win in 2020 and I will be campaigning hard alongside my colleagues to ensure that happens. National is the best team in politics and it has been my privilege to be part of that team since 2011.”
Every New Zealander has the right to access a high standard of palliative care and the support services they need, whether it’s in a hospice, hospital, rest home or their own home and wherever they live in the country, Maggie Barry MP for North Shore says.
“My Members Bill lodged yesterday, the Access to Palliative Care Bill, seeks to amend two health and disability acts to ensure that all New Zealanders can access the best possible palliative care as they near the end of their lives,” Ms Barry says.
“We know that there are challenges to providing end of life care to people living in remote or hard to access parts of New Zealand, so this Bill aims to ensure that DHBs provide equity of access to specialist and generalist palliative care across all communities around the country.
“There are too many distressing reports of people struggling to cope with chronic pain. This is why I have drafted this Members Bill, after extensive consultation with palliative care experts and medical practitioners as well as people whose loved ones have experienced pain and distress.
“The Bill requires DHBs to prepare and publish a strategy for providing palliative care which outlines what the expected palliative care needs are for their community and how these expectations will be met and provided by the DHB.
“This includes, but is not limited to, access to pain and symptom management, psychological support for the person and their family as well as information and support regarding the person’s condition and palliative care.
“It also outlines that the Minister must ensure that service standards for the provision of palliative care are in force at all times.
“I have had a long involvement with palliative care going back to the late 1990s following the death of my father and have been a patron of Mary Potter Hospice, Hospice NZ and Alzheimers Wellington.
“I also chaired a working party for the National Health Select Committee into the care of people who are dying. It is in these roles that I formed the view that the answer to compassionate and effective end of life care is guaranteed access to world-class palliative care.”
A reassurance from the Department of Conservation (DOC) that there has been no change in policy over the use of 1080 poison is welcome, National’s Conservation Spokesperson Maggie Barry says.
“At today’s annual review the Director General, Lou Sanson, reassured the Environment Select Committee that not only has there been no change in 1080 policy, but DOC expects to expand its use.
“This approach is critical to achieving National’s long term Predator-Free NZ by 2050 vision. Possums, rats and stoats kill 25 million birds a year, and if DOC was hamstrung from using 1080, we would see further unique species becoming extinct.
“Anti-1080 campaigners will be furious with New Zealand First after today’s revelations given the Party campaigned on banning 1080 yet is now part of a Government that is endorsing and expanding its use.
“This is just another example of New Zealand First and Winston Peters reneging on their election commitments.
“New Zealand First needs to stop playing politics when it comes to the survival of New Zealand’s native species and acknowledge that 1080 is an essential part of the toolkit for ensuring the survival of our ironic birds like kiwi, kaka and kokako.
“Mr Sanson did, however, emphasise that DOC needs a social license to continue this approach and we acknowledge that.
“It’s also extremely concerning to hear of the number of incidences of violence and threats carried out towards DOC staff by the anti-1080 lobby and we support any measure to combat those.
“I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate DOC on the progress staff and rangers are making towards their ambitious 2025 ‘stretch goals’.
The Green Party’s complicity on the Government’s decision to defer electronic monitoring on commercial fishing vessels is a failure and an example of very weak advocacy for our critically threatened marine species, National Conservation Spokesperson Maggie Barry says.
“The National Government’s planned introduction of GPS and camera monitoring of fishing vessels next year would be a significant step forward in better protecting treasured marine species like dolphins and sea lions as well as preventing fish dumping,” Ms Barry says.
“Labour’s decision to defer the introduction of the new protective measure will see more marine life killed and is a significant setback for conservation.
“Maui and Hector's Dolphin Defenders NZ Chairwoman, Christine Rose, has described the decision as a “fatally flawed” and a “huge setback for conservation” and showed the new Government “to be no friend of science or conservation.”
“The new Conservation Minister and this Government have has caved into fishing industry lobbying and the influence of New Zealand First. On its first significant conservation decision and the Green Party is complicit and missing in action instead of advocating strongly for our threatened dolphins.
“The irony is that the new Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced in Parliament last week that she would be a strong voice for conservation. Instead, she supports delaying electronic surveillance which will inevitably result in more dolphin and sea lion deaths as a result of her inaction and weak advocacy.
“Ms Sage needs to explain exactly how this decision to defer safeguard will better protect New Zealand’s iconic marine species.”
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry is encouraging New Zealanders to get out and enjoy their own backyards and make a difference locally during Conservation Week which starts today.
“Take a look around you and see how you can help protect and nurture our unique wildlife. Perhaps install a rat, stoat or possum trap or join volunteers who’re already working with DOC and community groups on the War on Weeds or to achieve the goal of Predator Free NZ by 2050,” Ms Barry says.
“If we are to rid our country of these unwanted vermin it needs to start in our own backyards and even small actions make a real difference. It’s great to see momentum gathering as more communities band together to make their own areas predator free to protect our native birds and wildlife.”
More than a hundred Conservation Week events have been organised around the country by DOC, local businesses and community groups.
“From a guided walk to hear the dawn chorus at Ark in the Park in Auckland to attending the release of kaka in Hawke’s Bay, there is an impressive range of organised activities,” Ms Barry says.
“You can help plant natives along a Canterbury spring with endangered mudfish or learn how to make your garden a pollinator’s paradise with help from Auckland botanic gardens on what to plant.”
“There’s also a backyard trapping workshop in Karori Wellington and a clean-up of the Awatapu Lagoon in the Bay of Plenty.”
“Getting out into nature and weeding and trapping not only helps our natural environments, it also has a positive effect on people’s wellbeing. The Mental Health Foundation’s been working with DOC’s ‘Healthy Nature Healthy People’ programme to encourage us all to use our national parks, and the Great, Short and Day Walks to help improve our overall health and wellbeing.”
“Our natural environment already provides inspiration, excitement, refreshment, relaxation and solitude and this Conservation Week it would be good to join forces and give something back to help nature.”
For more details on the various events go to doc.govt.nz for Conservation week events.
Commemorations to mark one of New Zealand’s darkest days will be held in New Zealand and Belgium this month to remember the Battle of Passchendaele.
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry says the commemorative programme reflects on New Zealand’s involvement in the fighting around Passchendaele between 1 and 18 October 1917.
“Passchendaele on 12 October 1917 is still known as one of the greatest disasters in New Zealand’s history – when 843 men died in a single day. This devastating loss of life remains the highest one-day death toll suffered by New Zealand forces overseas,” Ms Barry says.
“During the Third Battle of Ypres, which included Passchendaele, New Zealand lost nearly 2,000 men. We’ll remember them and all who fought in Belgium.”
In Wellington the commemorations will begin at 3pm on October 12 at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.
“Immediately after the national ceremony, a memorial gifted to New Zealand by the Belgian Government will be unveiled on the eastern terraces at the Park. The Last Post will be held at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at 5pm,” Ms Barry says.
“The ceremony in Belgium will take place at 11am local time at the Tyne Cot Cemetery near Zonnebeke and will be attended by His Royal Highness , the Duke of Cambridge on behalf of the Queen and Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium on behalf of King Philippe.”
New Zealand will be represented by Hon Dr Nick Smith and Rt Hon David Carter.
“This is the largest Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery in the world and contains the graves of 520 New Zealanders. Our ‘Memorial to the Missing’ in the cemetery lists the names of others who died in the Battles of Passchendaele,” Ms Barry says.
The New Zealand Passchendaele Centennial Memorial and Garden in Belgium will also be opened as part of the commemorations at 3pm local time.
“I want to commend Chris Mullane, Mike Pritchard and many others from the Passchendaele Society in New Zealand, who’ve worked so hard over so many years to have this memorial garden built. I planted the first flax there in 2016 and I know it is a fitting memorial telling our poignant New Zealand story’” Ms Barry says.
Ceremonies will conclude at sunset at Buttes New British Cemetery in Polygon Wood where 95 Kiwis are buried and where the New Zealand ‘Memorial to the Missing’ records the names of 388 New Zealanders who died near there but have no known grave.
“A group of senior secondary school students, who won the joint Ministry of Education, Fields of Remembrance Trust and the Passchendaele Society digital competition, will be attending the commemorations in Belgium. They will also attend the New Zealand Memorial and Garden,” Ms Barry says.
More information about both the domestic and overseas Passchendaele commemorations can be found at ww100.govt.nz/passchendaele-centenary.
Seniors Minister Maggie Barry has welcomed the United Nation’s International Day of Older Persons being marked around the world today.
The theme of this year’s International Day is ‘Stepping into the Future’: tapping the talents, contributions and participation of Older Persons.
“International Day of Older Persons gives visibility and recognition to the many seniors who are living meaningful and vital lives, contributing as workers, employers, volunteers, parents and grandparents,” Ms Barry says.
“By 2036 up to 24% of New Zealanders will be over 65 – we’ll have nearly a quarter of the population with a wealth of skills and experience that we can tap in to, who will help to positively shape the future of our country”.
“We’ve already piloted three UN Age Friendly Community initiatives around New Zealand to promote positive aging and social inclusion.”
“We also have a group of SuperSenior Champions – articulate older Kiwis led by Patron Sir Peter Snell – who raise awareness on how important older people are in our lives and talk about issues that affect Seniors, including elder abuse.”
“Over 2000 cases of elder abuse are reported each year but the majority goes unreported. It’s believed up to 10 per cent of seniors experience some form of abuse and three quarters is carried out by family members,” Ms Barry says.
“Earlier this year I launched new re-prioritised Elder Abuse Response Services. EARS is designed for real action on elder abuse, getting older people the help they need, quickly, effectively and safely.”
“Part of this new approach is a free and confidential 24/7 help-line, 0800 32 668 65 (0800 EA NOT OK) and there has been a steady stream of calls to it since July 1. All calls are answered by a registered nurse who refers people to expert help, including for financial abuse.”
“We are also in discussions with the Commission for Financial Capability about running a series of seminars to help Seniors with money matters.”
“Tackling elder abuse and ageism will help create an environment where the rights of older people are recognised and supported so Seniors can age positively in their own communities.”
National’s strong economic plan will deliver an extra $680 a year per couple in New Zealand superannuation payments from 1 April next year, Seniors spokesperson Maggie Barry says.
“Our strong and growing economy is allowing the Government to regularly lift the incomes of superannuitants as well as provide the public services they need” Ms Barry says.
National today released its Seniors policy, setting out its comprehensive set of policies to help seniors and build on its track record of delivering better lives for older New Zealanders.
“New Zealanders are living longer and National is determined to providing the support and security to ensure all of us are able to age positively and lead fulfilling lives in retirement,” Ms Barry says
New Zealand Superannuation for a couple has increased by more than $7000 a year under National - from $24,062 in 2008 to $31,216 in 2017. That is an increase of 29.7 per cent, more than twice the rate of inflation.
National’s Family Incomes Package means 750,000 superannuitants will receive a further increase on 1 April on top of their normal annual increase, with the couple rate going up by a further $680.
“National is also ensuring all older New Zealanders get the health care they need. We have increased our investment in health to a record $17 billion this year, up $5 billion since we came into office,” Ms Barry says.
“We are rolling out cheap GP visits to an extra 600,000 lower income New Zealanders, meaning 300,000 over-65s will have the cost of seeing their doctor capped at $18.
“We are also increasing the number of life-changing elective surgeries for things like joint replacements, cancerous skin lesions and cardiac surgeries, and rolling out a national bowel screening programme.”
National will continue to support and invest in the SuperGold Card, recognising the important service it provides for seniors.
“More than any other party, National has made the SuperGold Card what it is today. We have grown the scheme from less than 300 businesses in 2007 to provide discounts at more than 9,000 businesses for services such as optometrists, dentists, audiologists, lawyers and vets that really make a difference for seniors,” Ms Barry says.
“And we’ve backed the popular SuperGold Card public transport concession with $41 million of additional funding so it can provide more than 10 million trips a year.”
National has taken strong action against elder abuse and social isolation with the launch of the nationwide Elder Abuse Response Service, including a 24/7 helpline – 0800 EA NOT OK – and increased funding for support services, as well as ensuring rest homes are uphold high standards.
National’s Seniors policy also reaffirmed the intention to increase the age of entitlement for New Zealand Superannuation from 65 to 67, beginning in 2037.
“Life expectancy has increased by 12 years over the past 60 years, including by four years since 2001, when the age for NZ Super was increased to 65, so it is fair to increase the age of entitlement in 20 years’ time to ensure Super stays on a firm footing,” Ms Barry says.
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry has announced the appointment of experienced Wellington businessman Mike (MOD) O’Donnell to the board of Radio New Zealand.
He replaces Sheena Henderson who retired at the end of her second term.
“Mr O’Donnell has had a career in communications, business establishment and development, and has extensive experience in digital transformation of businesses,” Ms Barry says.
“He brings knowledge of the broadcasting and media industry, and experience in developing new business opportunities to the board”.
“He was Head of Commercial and Chief Operating Officer at Trade Me, and has recently resigned as Chief Commercial Officer of Work to concentrate on a governance career.”
Mr O’Donnell writes his own weekly newspaper column and is currently Chair of Timely, a director of Serato Audio, Tourism New Zealand, Raygun, Kiwibank, Gareth Morgan Investments and G2G ventures. He was previously a director of Wellington Tourism and Consumer NZ.
The appointment took effect on 1 September 2017 for a term of one year.