Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce - or "the man with the cheque book" - came to Whanganui on Wednesday to hear about a proposed pilot for aged care.

The proposed pilot is for Active Assisted Living, a system designed to keep elderly people in their home for longer before moving them to residential care.

Councillor Helen Craig told those gathered at the function in the Whanganui District Council chambers it was good to have Mr Joyce there as he was the man with the cheque book and the influence.

"We have this study already ready to go," she said.


"Now we have to go and get that money."

The pilot involves picking 50 older people who would otherwise need to go into aged residential care in the next few years.

The aim is to provide customised support for each person's needs and see measurable gains in health, independence, and connectivity.

Whanganui Regional Health Network community developer Sharon Duff said the system used technology and developed relationships between healthcare providers, monitoring companies, and community organisations.

A video played at the presentation showed a woman who used the system in her home. Through the use of a smart home hub and her cellphone, she was able to be notified that she had run out of medication, and the system was able to switch off electrical outlets for her when she left the house.

"We can do whatever the consumer needs," Ms Duff said.

People didn't have to use a smartphone if they didn't know how to. Technology included personal alarms, motion sensors, self-closing windows and doors, auto locking, and more.

The notification that a person had run out of medication was important, as some people could forget about taking theirs.

Ms Duff said 25 per cent of people entered aged care because of non-compliance with their medication.

She said there was "international expertise prepared to come to Whanganui" for the pilot, and it would create "new business opportunities in line with the regional growth strategy".

Mr Joyce said he wanted to "come along and learn something about this product and about Active Assisted Living".

He said there was a science challenge on the subject of aging well, and the organisers of Active Assisted Living should be put in touch with it.

"If Whanganui wants to deal itself into this thing ... then it's how we do that in a way that attracts the technology innovators, encourages them to come to Whanganui and actually work with the community."

Ms Duff said they would be looking at a "financial model".

The investment would be worthwhile, as it "costs a lot of money to keep people in aged care".

Ms Craig said Whanganui needed to take control.

"This technology's going to come anyway, and we can either control it or let the big companies control us."