SuperSeniors Title

June 2020




In this issue

Minister for Seniors Tracey Martin has a message about the response to COVID-19 and the work of seniors.

We highlight the important things to continue to keep in mind around COVID-19, including where to get up to date information and details on the Ministry of Health tracing app - NZ COVID Tracer.

The 'Rebuilding Together’ Budget was released last month. We break down a few key points from the budget that will benefit seniors.

This month marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which is observed on 15 June.

As many as one in ten older people in New Zealand will experience some kind of elder abuse so it is important to know where to go to for help.

Senior New Zealander of the year, Dame Margaret Sparrow, talks to us about her passion for her work.

We also meet the new Retirement Commissioner, Jane Wrightson. She talks about her background and the Review of Retirement Income Policies.

Looking for a new recipe? Try out Senior Chef’s tasty Fruit Crumble.

From Minister for Seniors, Tracey Martin

Minister Tracey Martin

I hope your lives are returning to some sort of normality as we adjust to Level 2 and a greater ability to socialise.

Many more of you will now be out there shopping, at work, maybe eating out and returning to volunteering and the unpaid work so many do – including for our families. The great thing about where we’ve got to in our country’s health response to COVID is that we can now actually see - and hug – the people that we care about.

Of course, life is going to be different for some time yet. No matter how well we do with eliminating the virus, we have to continue to be careful around health risks and the economic impacts are going to be around for a very long time. The lockdown was necessary. New Zealand is in a far better position than any country I can think of. But everyone I talk to has been affected in some way or other by the shutdown and now we have to pull together to ensure that the economy rebounds and that we can save our businesses and peoples’ jobs.

You may know this personally, but it’s worth saying that our seniors population plays a huge role in this. Apart from our over-65s representing 750,000 taxpayers and consumers, lots of our seniors are the people who work. At the end of last year, a quarter of over-65s were employed either full or part-time, or self-employed.

I’m going to make sure that as many people as possible know that, as we work our way out of this.


Things are slowly returning to a new normal in New Zealand, so we have decided now is the right time to stop our regular COVID-19 special edition newsletters and restart our normal SuperSeniors Newsletter.

If at any point you are looking for information on COVID-19 go to This website is regularly updated with the most up to date information and guidance around COVID-19 in New Zealand.

We will continue to provide any new COVID-19 developments relevant to older people on the SuperSeniors Facebook page and Twitter page, so make sure you follow us.

People with underlying medical conditions and some older people are at higher-risk of severe illness from COVID-19. At all Alert Levels, when you leave the house you need to maintain physical distance and good hygiene practices. Work with your GP or specialist if you need further help understanding your own level of risk and how best to stay healthy during this time.

Remember at all Alert Levels – regularly disinfect surfaces, wash and dry your hands, cough into your elbow, don’t touch your face, stay home if you’re sick, and get tested for COVID-19 if you have flu like symptoms.

To help keep track of your movements and make contact tracing easier The Ministry of Health has created a tracing app — NZ COVID Tracer. This app works by scanning a QR code on a poster at participating businesses. The app then keeps track of where you have scanned so that you know where you have been. You can use the app if you have a smartphone. You can find more information on the app at

Budget 2020

The 2020 ‘Rebuilding Together’ Budget was released by the Government on 14 May. The Budget is focused on helping the country recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and includes a $50 billion fund dedicated to providing support, growing jobs and strengthening the economy.

COVID-19 has demonstrated how important our postal service is, with many businesses still providing essential goods throughout lockdown through contactless delivery, but postal services across the country are facing significant financial strain. Funding of $130 million has been allocated in the 2020 Budget to allow New Zealand Post to maintain service levels. An equity injection of $150 million will also be provided from the Government’s COVID Response and Recovery Fund. Lots of people and businesses across the country still rely on a timely and comprehensive postal service and this investment will maintain those services.

This Budget also included an increase in funding for Adult and Community Education (ACE). New Zealanders will have access to more Government-funded courses throughout the country, including night classes. Although this is still in the early stages of planning, it is expected this could include courses that build digital knowledge, foundational courses that give people opportunities in areas with skills shortages, and courses for people who feel isolated.

The Budget also included an increase in funding for the Government's insulation and heating programme. Grant levels for low-income homeowners under the Warmer Kiwi Homes initiative have increased from 67% to 90% for insulation and/or an efficient heater (heater grants capped at $3,000, including GST). For more information on the grant visit or phone 0800 749 782

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is marked on 15 June every year. This day is an opportunity to shine the light on the role we can all play in reducing elder abuse and neglect.

The last few months have been hard for all New Zealanders with more emotional and financial stress. As older people are a higher risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19, they were encouraged to be extra vigilant, stay home whenever possible and ask for help from those around them. This has resulted in many older people relying more on those around them than ever before.

As many as one in ten older people in New Zealand will experience some kind of elder abuse. The majority of cases will go unreported.

Abusers are often someone they depend on for support or care, someone close, someone they trust. This can make it especially hard to speak up.

Now is the time to make sure the older people in your life are safe. We all have a role to play in putting an end to elder abuse and to help support the health and wellbeing of the older people around us.

It can be difficult to identify abuse, there is no single 'type' of elder abuse. It can be psychological, financial, physical or sexual. More often than not, people experience more than one type of abuse.

If you are concerned about how you, or someone you know, is being treated, don’t accept it. It’s OK to ask for help. Talk to someone you trust. Alternatively, call our free and confidential helpline 0800 32 668 65 (EA NOT OK), text 5032 or email

For more information on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day go to

Senior New Zealander of the year

In February, Dame Margaret Sparrow was honoured with the 2020 Ryman Healthcare Senior New Zealander of the Year award, in recognition of her achievements and years of hard work as an advocate in the field of sexual health and passionate campaigner for legal abortions in New Zealand.

Despite her powerful voice for change, Dame Margaret Sparrow was surprised to receive the award and thought it had deeper meaning.

“When you are involved in somewhat controversial areas you don’t expect to win prizes, there’s always somebody who is quite vocal about opposing you,” she said.

“I think it says something that a corporate body like Kiwibank [who champion the New Zealander of the Year Awards] can accept a little bit more diversity, not just me but others on the shortlist as well.

“I think that it shows that the general public are more accepting of diversity these days.”

After working in public health, Dame Margaret Sparrow moved into student health in the late 1960s. She said her interest in reproductive rights started just by responding to the needs of the patients on the other side of the desk.

 “I had students needing contraception, that’s how I got involved in promoting the morning after pill, which was quite ground-breaking in the 70’s, and making the contraceptive pill available to young people when the medical association thought it was only for married women. Then getting involved in abortion, once again because there was a real need.”

After over 60 years of work in this field she is still driving change, including the recent changes to the country’s abortion laws.

“I don’t give up very easily. When you have a goal it’s a good idea to keep in mind that goal, regardless of opposition to what you are doing, as long as you feel it’s right.”

Retirement Commissioner Jane Wrightson

It’s with great pleasure I introduce myself to New Zealand’s superannuitants through this newsletter. I hope you and your friends and family are well and remain so as we progress through the alert levels of COVID-19.

Soon after I took up the role of Retirement Commissioner in February the country went into lockdown, so I’ve been coming to grips with my role from my home in Welllington. I was previously at public media funding body NZ On Air, where I spent 12 years as chief executive. Diversity and inclusion were central to my work there, so I understand that New Zealanders come from many different backgrounds and have many different needs as they prepare for retirement. I’m looking forward to working with my team at the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC) to help improve New Zealanders’ retirement through information, advocacy and collaboration.

Some of you may have made a submission to the Review of Retirement Income Policies last year. I’ve now picked up the report and will continue to talk to Government about its 19 recommendations. Among them was that NZ Super should continue at its current settings, and younger generations should be reassured that this effective financial backstop will be there for them in the future. I believe that NZ Super is good value for money.

Our work in helping inform consumers about retirement village rules has continued through COVID-19 as we’ve used our website to post guidelines for village operation at each alert level. There you can also find other helpful information we developed with the Retirement Villages Asssociation earlier this year. The Summary of Key Terms clarifies the cost of moving into and living in a village, and the Transfer to Care checklist covers the procedure and cost of transferring to an aged care facility on the site of a village. The decision of whether to move into a village can be life-changing, and I’m pleased these guidelines will help consumers make the best choice for their circumstances.

It's a privilege to hold this role and I look forward meeting with many of you in the coming months, maybe not just though Zoom either!

If you would like to raise any issues regarding retirement income or retirement villages, please don’t hesitate to contact me at via

Recipe from Senior Chef

Senior Chef is a free 8-week cooking programme run in Canterbury for people aged 60 and over.

Their aim is to improve cooking skills and motivation to get cooking! They also talk about nutritional changes as we age, planning meals and budgeting.

Although they were unable to hold their Term 2 classes due to COVID-19, they are hoping to run Senior Chef classes again in Term 3, starting mid-July. Give them a ring on 0800 333 405 to find out more.

Until then, here is one of their favourite Senior Chef recipes - perfect for a winter’s evening.

Fruit Crumble Serves 2


½ cup rolled oats     

¼ cup wholemeal or white flour                                              

2 tablespoons flaked almonds OR chopped walnuts OR coconut                     

1 tablespoon brown sugar                                            

½ teaspoon cinnamon                                       

1 tablespoon oil                                      

1 cup fruit, canned or stewed     


1.      Preheat oven to 180˚C.

2.      Combine rolled oats, flour, nuts/coconut, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.

3.      Add oil and mix well to make a crumbly mix.

4.      Place fruit in a small ovenproof dish e.g. ramekin; sprinkle topping over top.

5.      Cook for 20 – 25 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

6.      Serve with a good dollop of yoghurt!

Digital Literacy Training for Seniors

The COVID-19 lockdown created many challenges for older New Zealanders, especially those who do not have access to the internet. During this time technology has been key in allowing people to do their shopping, work, banking and even to stay connected with friends and family

Seniors are one of the groups most at risk of being digitally excluded. We are providing new opportunities for older people, that are interested, to learn about technology and using the internet or even build on what technology they may have started using during lockdown.

In the 2019 ‘Wellbeing Budget’ the Government allocated new funding to deliver digital literacy training for seniors.

Earlier in the year our office announced the Digital Inclusion Alliance Aotearoa (DIAA) and the 20/20 Trust as the successful providers that will share in the funding.

Their programmes will help older people, from a diverse range of backgrounds, increase their trust in using the internet, keep in contact with friends and family and adjust to rapidly changing technology.

DIAA will deliver Better Digital Futures through its partner network, including libraries, and community organisations. The training is expected to reach over 4000 people, through 105 partners, over the next three years. For more information go to

The 20/20 Trust works at the grassroots level to provide digital literacy training to the most vulnerable in our communities. The Trust will deliver a Pacific Senior CONNECT programme to over 350 learners in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland), and Ōtautahi (Christchurch) over a period of up to three years. This programme will deliver a series of modules at participants’ churches and in their own language. For more information go to

This funding will allow these providers to make a difference in the lives of many older people, by breaking down the barriers that exist between some seniors and technology.Being able to confidently use technology will be life-changing for older people who are missing out on the benefits of the digital world

For more updates on digital literacy
training go to our website

Seniors key in tackling national plant pest problem

Keith Milne spends a fair amount of time climbing the steep hills of Central Otago with a saw and loopers in hand. This Arrowtown local is on a mission to tackle the problem of wilding pines.

Wilding pines are the wrong tree in the wrong place. Unlike commercial forests, wilding pines are weeds - self-seeded trees that were not planted intentionally. 

“Wilding pines are a huge issue. I’ve been involved in conservation work in the past, so when the chance came to get involved in Arrowtown Choppers came up, it was a good fit.”

Arrowtown Choppers is a volunteer group dedicated to ridding the area of wilding pines. 

“Once a week during summer, a bunch of enthusiastic locals head out after work and chop down wilding pines,” says Keith.

The Government recently announced that Budget 2020 includes $100 million for wilding control, recognising the importance of removing these pest plants. This will generate up to 600 jobs in areas hit hardest by COVID-19, and stimulate New Zealand’s regional recovery.  

With wilding infestations covering around 1.8 million hectares of the landscape, volunteers will continue to play a significant role in reducing their spread. And while the environment benefits from Keith’s volunteering, so does Keith.

If you have the time to volunteer there are multiple benefits from being involved in your community - socially, mentally and physically. Give it a go.”

Go to to find out about projects to protect New Zealand from wildings– and community groups tackling the problem in your area. 


Now that more businesses are open again, you might want to visit the SuperGold website or app to see what offers are available near you:

Thousands of businesses across New Zealand are offering all kinds of SuperGold offers, including food and beverage, electronics and appliances, home improvements, automotive and health so you can stretch your dollar further. Now, more than ever, local businesses need our support. You can check out offers by category and location, or use the search function to find the best deal on a product or service.

If you haven’t already, you can download the SuperGold App and check offers when you are out and about. If you have a smartphone or tablet, download the SuperGold App (SuperGoldNZ) from Google Play (Android users) or the App Store (Apple users). It’s super easy, but if you’re new to apps you’ll find instructions on

If you need help with the app try asking someone close to you who is good with technology or give the SuperGold team a call on 0800 25 45 65. They are available Monday – Friday, 8am-5pm.

For more information go to

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Community Connects grant recipients announced

SuperGold Card special offers

Brought to you by participating businesses.

Check out the latest special offers for our super seniors through the SuperGold website.

Disclaimer: The SuperGold Card programme enables independent businesses to offer discounts and benefits to older New Zealanders.
The Ministry of Social Development is not associated with any seller and does not guarantee any representation made by a seller and any future dispute will need to be taken up with the seller not the Ministry of Social Development. Offers range in size and nature and cardholders should always check to see if a better offer is available locally.

SuperGold New Zealand Government Office for Seniors