May 2, 2011

NEW ZEALAND: Report Focuses on Economic Benefits of Aging

.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand / Parliament / Minister for Senior Citizens / May 2, 2011

Launching the Ministry of Social Development report The Business of Aging, Realising the economic potential of older people in New Zealand: 2011-2051, Senior Citizens Minister John Carter said valuing the skills, knowledge and economic power of older people would benefit New Zealand’s economic competitiveness in the next 40 years.

Hon John Carter
Minister for Senior Citizens

It is time to look at the economic benefits of aging baby boomers rather than just the burdens, Mr. Carter said today.
 
“There is a growing realisation of the economic potential of older people and this report is a discussion-starter that presents new research on the subject,” Mr Carter said.

It looks at enabling older people to remain active in the workforce and tapping into the growing consumer market an aging population presents.

“We need to think outside the square to maximise the opportunities that come with an aging population that is like no other before it. This report poses some exciting possibilities,” Mr Carter said.

“In January this year, the first of New Zealand’s baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) reached 65 years of age.

“In less than 20 years, one million people in New Zealand will be over the age of 65, compared to about 560,000 today. And in 40 years, one in four people will be aged over 65, compared to one in eight today.

“People over 65 are predicted to be our only growth market in terms of demography. They will become one of the most significant consumer markets in New Zealand. They will have their own needs and preferences that are quite different from earlier generations of older people, and also quite different from younger people.

“Baby boomers will be healthier, better educated and have more spending power than any other generation reaching 65 in New Zealand’s history.

“They want to stay active and keep working. Flexible work options could drive job growth and help us respond to projected skill and labour shortages.

“Government cannot work in isolation to develop priorities for older people, so buy-in from the business sector, employers and people of all ages is essential to capture the possibilities this report outlines.

“I hope the report broadens the discussion about our aging population to something more than the sustainability of a pension system and the perceived economic burden of the aged. The flip-side of that coin is the opportunities of a largely fit, active and economically powerful demographic.”

The report can be found here:

Key facts
The research models three scenarios over the next 40 years to show the contribution to the economy those aged 65 and over are expected to make:
• more older people will participate in the workforce - by 2051, older people could account for one in 10 New Zealand workers
• the economic value of older people’s paid and voluntary work will increase - their earnings from employment could rise from just over $1 billion to about $10 billion
• older people’s contribution to tax revenue will increase - from about $200 million today to about $1.8 billion
• older people will spend more - from about $11 billion now to more than $45 billion.

John Carter's speech is attached

© Crown copyright NewZealand.govt.nz