Plan­ning for over-65s

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - LAWRENCE GULLERY

They say the older gen­er­a­tion holds years of wis­dom.

And if that is the case, Mata­mata-Pi­ako is about to be­come the wis­est district in the Waikato.

Over the next three decades the num­ber of re­tire­ment-aged peo­ple is set to soar.

Cur­rently, 18 per cent of the district’s 31,5000 pop­u­la­tion is over 65 but by 2033 that fig­ure will be 28 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion.

Dur­ing that time there will be more peo­ple leav­ing the work­force than en­ter­ing, but voter turnout is set to in­crease to 45 per cent, pos­si­bly the high­est in the Waikato.

De­tails of the fore­cast formed part of the Vi­tal Signs 2016 re­port by Mo­men­tum Waikato, de­liv­ered to the Mata­mata-Pi­ako District Coun­cil re­cently.

The re­port pre­sents 10 pri­or­i­ties for each com­mu­nity. It does not of­fer so­lu­tions - that’s for the com­mu­nity to de­cide - but it is seen as a con­ver­sa­tion starter.

Those gath­er­ing in­for­ma­tion for the re­port held com­mu­nity meet­ings in Mor­rinsville and Mata­mata in May, 2016. Hamil­ton city and Waikato district were also can­vassed for the re­port.

Out of the three, Mata­mata- Pi­ako is set to record the biggest in­crease in pop­u­la­tion of peo­ple over the age of 65.

About 17 per cent of Hamil­ton’s pop­u­la­tion and 21 per cent of Waikato district’s pop­u­la­tion will be over 65 by 2033.

Mata­mata-Pi­ako Mayor Jan Barnes said the in­crease would have im­pli­ca­tions for ser­vices which the coun­cil was ac­count­ing for in its long-term plan.

‘‘As well as pro­vid­ing the fa­cil­i­ties and ser­vices, we also need to think about qual­ity of life that res­i­dents ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘How do we en­gage with peo­ple to pro­vide mean­ing­ful ex­pe­ri­ences, whether that is through vis­i­tor at­trac­tions, fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion, con­nec­tion with their fam­ily and the wider com­mu­nity?

‘‘Coun­cil doesn’t have all the an­swers but we are in­volved in pro­mot­ing and fa­cil­i­tat­ing a health­ier, hap­pier way of life for our res­i­dents.

‘‘Hav­ing the ba­sic data thanks to Mo­men­tum will help ad­vance this dis­cus­sion.’’

The in­crease in older peo­ple may be connected to a pro­jected in­crease in voter turnout for lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions.

Data showed an in­crease to 45 per cent for Mata­mata-Pi­ako.

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