Se­niors need voice in fu­ture

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JOE DAW­SON

Anne-Marie Coury is hop­ing to use the de­bate on Auck­land’s fu­ture to im­prove the ad­vo­cacy of older peo­ple.

The Auck­land Grey Power pres­i­dent says the Auck­land Coun­cil’s Draft Uni­tary Plan process has high­lighted the dif­fi­cul­ties el­der cit­i­zens face, in both con­nect­ing with the pro­posed plan and their treat­ment within it.

Ms Coury says plans for in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion could see el­ders come un­der pres­sure from de­vel­op­ers keen to build apart­ments or sev­eral houses on ad­join­ing properties.

‘‘We have a lot of el­derly peo­ple strug­gling with rates, be­ing forced out, they just can’t cope,’’ she says.

‘‘If they get made an of­fer and they are in that sit­u­a­tion they may well take it.

‘‘A de­vel­oper only needs two properties and they can do a non­no­ti­fied de­vel­op­ment.’’

Ms Coury says she also has other con­cerns about se­niors in gen­eral.

‘‘The thing we are re­ally in­ter­ested in is get­ting a bet­ter deal with the coun­cil gen­er­ally,’’ she says.

‘‘There are too many is­sues crop­ping up where se­niors’ voices aren’t be­ing heard.’’

She says things like ac­cess, dis­abil­ity and mo­bil­ity is­sues need to be given greater at­ten­tion when it comes to plan­ning the fu­ture city.

‘‘I guess what we’re try­ing to do now is get an ad­vi­sory group set up.

‘‘The youth have one but the se­niors don’t. We want the coun­cil to take more no­tice of what se­niors are go­ing through.’’

Mrs Coury says many el­derly peo­ple have found en­gag­ing with the Uni­tary Plan con­sult­ing process dif­fi­cult.

Meet­ings are of­ten held at night and are not catered for peo­ple who might have poor hear­ing or eye­sight.

‘‘Peo­ple just don’t re­alise if they get it right for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties and se­niors they get it right for ev­ery­body.’’

How­ever, she is happy the coun­cil has started to recog­nise ‘‘the largest group in the pop­u­la­tion, the over 50s’’ in its plan­ning.

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