Hundreds of senior citizens turned up to a public meeting yesterday to hear how the Government is trying to improve the lives of older people.

More than 200 people filled Masterton Town Hall to hear the acting director of the Office for Seniors, Blair McCarthy, speak about the new Super Seniors website and the challenges people face as they aged.

The office was exploring positive strategies for ageing, which included research into the challenges faced by older people and encouraging "age-friendly communities", Mr McCarthy said.

By 2033 it was predicted there would be a 61 per cent increase in the number of people aged over 65.


"We have to think about how we can plan for this now so we are in the right position to deal with it," Mr McCarthy added.

During a PowerPoint presentation most of the audience struggled to see, Mr McCarthy touched on several key issues such as discrimination in the workforce, elder abuse, social isolation and the Supergold card.

Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott was on hand to help direct questions from the floor at the end of the meeting, with many people taking the opportunity to raise questions about the frequency and price of the Wairarapa train service.

One man pointed out that the Government had this year declined funding for SeniorNet, an organisation which teaches computer and online skills throughout the country for people over 50.

"What is she [the Minister for Seniors] doing about it? Because at the moment it doesn't look like she is doing anything."

Other questions touched on a variety of topics, from assisted death to income tax and the Supergold card.

Mr Scott said people should make their views heard by submitting to their council or to the relevant select committee.

"There's nothing to stop you from submitting on this -- it's a democratic right that you have."