New Zealand’s Labour Party Mulls Package for Aged Population

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By Kalyan Kumar | August 21, 2014 5:03 PM EST

The Labour Party in New Zealand has reached out to the old age population. The party promised to set up a working group for the aged within 100 days of assuming office. A group will be set up with a mandate to bring in a raft of changes, including better pay for the caregivers, the NZ Herald reported.

Reuters
New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key smiles after the general election in Auckland November 26, 2011.

Labour Party leader David Cunliffe announced the party's policy in Auckland. The new plan will supplement the previously announced steps in free healthcare for citizens aged above 65.

Continuum Care

The "continuum of care" model will create individualised plans for elderly home in terms of hospital and palliative care.

It would also establish minimum staffing levels at rest homes and aged care facilities. This is to check elder abuse and neglect of prevention services across the country. The Working Group will also advise the Government on the timeframes for bringing these changes and the appropriate modes of funding.

Party leader Cunliffe said the elderly in the country need a better deal. They are our grandparents, mums and dads. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. So do the people who look after them.

He said the New Zealanders wanted the elderly to stay at home longer with quality home care and residential care with a less institutionalised approach.

Cunliffe charged the ruling National of under-funding the aged care hospitals and rest homes project. But Labour will work to ensure parity of pay for nurses and caregivers in the Aged Care sector. Now they are earning less than the workers employed by District Health Boards.

The working group will also look into minimum qualification for aged care workers and a fair compensation for travel also. The Labour Party also proposed the institution of an Aged Care Commissioner to oversee the implementation of the Working Group's plan.

Underpaid

The report by Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Judy McGregor undercovered many anomalies in the elderly care industry.  The sector has more women workers who earn as little as $14 an hour. McGregor called for a change as New Zealand will need 70 per cent more workers in the industry, in the next 10 years.

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(Photo: Reuters / Nigel Marple )
New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key smiles after the general election in Auckland November 26, 2011.
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