Letter: Ageing strategy

There is a clear need for our council to develop a positive ageing strategy to address the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population.

Despite our region having one of the highest proportions of older people the Timaru District Council is one of the few councils in New Zealand without such a strategy.

It was great to hear both candidates for the Timaru mayoralty state at the public meeting hosted by Grey Power last Wednesday that they strongly support such a strategy.

However, I am concerned that when Grey Power and others (Peter Binns and Kate Elsen) submitted this on August 7, 2012, to the council's Long Term Plan, the proposal was voted out.

I would be grateful to hear from the two candidates and other would-be councillors as to how they voted on this issue, and why they have changed their views if that is the case.


Aged care nurse

Footnote: Timaru District mayoral candidates Steve Earnshaw and Damon Odey replied.

Steve Earnshaw: ''I am grateful to Gerrie Ligtenberg for asking this question as I, too, was very surprised by my opponent's claims at last week's meeting.

''I strongly value honesty and have the courage to always be open about my opinions even when they may be unpopular with a particular audience.

''Older persons are a significant and growing part of our population. They have particular needs relating to a range of issues including housing, recreation and transport. It is vital to address these needs in a co-ordinated way through a positive ageing strategy.

''I have always been a supporter of such a policy. It is a matter of record that following the submissions to last year's Long Term Plan Tracy Tierney moved and I seconded a resolution for the council to develop a policy. Unfortunately a number of other councillors, including Cr Odey, voted against it and our motion was defeated.''

Damon Odey: ''I discussed at the Grey Power meeting that I would personally support a strategy, if it was a joint strategy with good consultation and created a working document, a document that delivers some beneficial and positive outcomes for our ageing community.

''We need to understand what Grey Power wants from such a strategy. Grey Power needs to tell us what we aren't delivering or focusing on and what we as a council need to do better.

''Grey Power's 2012 submission was for the council to 'prepare and implement' a Positive Ageing Strategic Plan. This request asked the council to prepare a document for something it felt was already catered for in our community.

''This is where through better communication and consultation we as a council will understand and know how we should be delivering the required needs for our ageing population, along with the needs of all of our residents.''

The Timaru Herald