12. SCOTT SIMPSON (National—Coromandel) to the Minister for Senior Citizens : What steps is the Government taking to combat elder abuse?
Hon MAGGIE BARRY (Minister for Senior Citizens): This is World Elder Abuse Awareness Week. One in 10 seniors has suffered some form of abuse or neglect, and that is simply unacceptable. [Interruption] It may not be to the braying Opposition, but most right-minded people would be concerned about that. Last year Age Concern received more than 2,000 referrals for older people who suffered some form of physical, financial, or psychological abuse. Annually this Government distributes $1.7 million across 27 elder abuse and neglect prevention services around New Zealand to provide free and confidential support. On Friday I am releasing a video explaining why enduring power of attorney is so important for vulnerable seniors. A new umbrella initiative called Connects, which we are rolling out across several communities, will bring together agencies that will connect older New Zealanders to each other and will help prevent social isolation and elder abuse.
Scott Simpson : What support is available for those who care for our elderly?
Hon MAGGIE BARRY : There are more than 430,000 carers in New Zealand, which means that around one in 10 of us helps to care for a family member or a friend with everyday life. That is very hard for carers to balance in their lives, so this afternoon, when we celebrate 10 years of the Carers Alliance, we are launching a new set of resources, including five new online programmes, to make it easier for those who care for our seniors to look after their own needs and access information to help seniors. One such programme is to provide webinars, a web-based service that will enable seniors to engage with professionals about specific issues for seniors.