Policy documents and submissions


Policy submissions are an important part of the work we do, as they provide a platform for communicating directly with Parliament and key decision makers.

Our submissions and policy documents are put together in collaboration with our Advisory Group of people living with dementia and local Alzheimers organisations. They are framed by a set of guiding principles that articulate our values and mission.

Improving Dementia Services in NZ - Dementia Action Plan 2020 to 2025 

This five year National Dementia Plan is the result of a collaboration between Alzheimers NZ, the New Zealand Dementia Cooperative and Dementia New Zealand, with the voices and input of over 300 individuals and groups. The plan focuses on the most urgent actions to better support people living with dementia. A summary of the consultation response can be found here

To read the plan, click here. 
To download the infographic, click here.

Briefing to the Incoming Minister 2020

In our Briefing to the Incoming Minister of Health, we have urged new Health Minister Andrew Little to act on Labour’s pre-election promise to ‘work with the (dementia) sector to implement the Dementia Action Plan’.

Current services are woefully inadequate and underfunded, and if the level of inequity and marginalisation associated with dementia occurred in any other sector of our society, there would be a public and political outcry.

Our briefing document to the Minister outlines four action areas government must address. They are:

  • Reducing the incidence of dementia
  • Supporting people to live their best possible lives
  • Building accepting and understanding communities
  • Strengthening leadership and capability across the dementia sector

To read the Briefing, click here.

Budget Policy Statement 2021

Alzheimers NZ strongly supports the Budget Policy Statement’s prioritisation of the recovery and rebuild from Covid-19. However, despite its laudable goals, the Budget Policy Statement is totally and astonishingly silent on dementia. There are significant budget policy implications associated with our ageing population and the increase in dementia. Our submission contains recommendations for Budget 2021 to reduce the rapidly growing economic impact of dementia.

To read the document, click here.

Initial Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission - He Ara Oranga

The He Ara Oranga wellbeing outcomes framework will provide a structure for measuring performance across the whole mental health and wellbeing system. Alongside this framework, the Initial Commission will be making recommendations to address information gaps to monitor performance, and how measuring outcomes fits within the broader performance story of the mental health and wellbeing system.

Alzheimers NZ needs the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission to operate well. Our community is dependent on it. We support the Commission’s work. Flourishing together is what we all want. We do want to be safe, healthy, resilient, hopeful, be connected and belong, and all those other outcomes

To read the framework, click here.
To read our submission, 
click here.

Working Matters - Draft Disability Employment Action Plan

This Action Plan supports the Employment Strategy, by setting out action to improve employment outcomes and wellbeing for people who experience disadvantage in labour markets because of disability or health issues.

More and more people in the workforce are being affected by dementia. Alzheimers NZ has a specific interest in three areas related to employment and disability which are outlined in the submission below.

To read the draft plan, click here. 
To read our submission, 
click here.

Mahi Aroha – Carers’ Strategy Action Plan 2019–2023 

The Carers’ Strategy Action Plan 2019–2023 includes a range of actions to improve the wellbeing of the one in 10 New Zealanders who care for a loved one with a disability, health condition, illness or injury.

The Plan includes a new focus on target populations (Māori, Pacific, young and older carers) and a family, whānau, aiga-centred approach will form part of the implementation approach.

To read the plan, click here.

Better Later Life - He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034

Better Later Life - He Oranga Kaumātua is a strategy from Office for Seniors for making the future better for New Zealanders as we age.

It takes a fresh look at what we need to do to make sure that New Zealand embraces the opportunities that an ageing population and longetivity brings.

To read the strategy, click here
To read our submission, click here.

Recommendations for Budget 2020 

We recently provided advice to the government on what should be included in next year’s Budget to help the country address the massive dementia challenge it is facing.

These recommendations to government are part of a draft Dementia Plan we have co-authored with other leading representatives in the dementia sector.

To read the Budget 2020 document, click here.
To read the draft plan, 
click here.

Towards Election 2020

This briefing document was prepared to assist the political parties to formulate policy in advance of the general election 2020 to address the Dementia Challenge facing our country.

Almost 25% of voters in the last election were over 65.  They are the group most likely to be affected by dementia.  However, there are also some very young carers whose lives are dominated by caring roles.

The sheer scale of the societal and fiscal problem dementia poses to New Zealand means that all parties must take it seriously and must have an answer to the questions the Dementia Challenges poses.

To read our briefing document click here.

Charities Act Review

In 2018, the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector announced that a review of the 2005 Charities Act would be undertaken, noting that while the fundamentals of the Act are considered sound, there are a range of substantive issues that would be considered.

Our submission states that the current review is problematic. It is not the first principles review promised when the Charities Act 2005 was passed. It lacks independence, being conducted by the government department responsible for Charities Services. A more fundamental review undertaken by an independent body is needed to tackle charity law.

To read the submission, click here.

Health and Disability Review

In May 2018, the Minister of Health announced a major review of the health and disability system, “designed to future-proof our health and disability services.” Our submission offers recommendations for its improvement in six key areas. These focus on reducing demand on the system through better primary care and community/home support, health and wellness, data collection and monitoring, and an upscaling of support for the not-for-profits who are providing services.

To read the submission, click here.

Recommendations for Budget 2019

Ahead of the Budget 2019 announcement in May, Alzheimers NZ has issued a briefing imploring the Coalition Government to recognise the critical problems being caused by the rapidly growing numbers of people in our society affected by dementia, and to act now to address them - before a tipping point is reached.  We support the Coalition Government’s focus on the wellbeing of our people and share their concern for vulnerable groups. Some of the most vulnerable and forgotten people in Aotearoa are those affected by dementia and the need for action is urgent. 

To read the recommendations, click here.
To read our Submission to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee, click here
To read our post-Budget media statement, click here

Submission on the End of Life Choice Bill

Alzheimers NZ neither supports nor opposes medically assisted dying, and considers the End of Life Choice Bill to be a weak piece of draft legislation. It is poor at protecting the interests of New Zealanders and detrimental to people’s dignity and wellbeing. 

Our submission addresses concerns about both the Bill as drafted, and the end of life context for people with dementia more generally. Those affected by dementia must have a strong voice in the Select Committee’s deliberations, and any legislation also needs to ensure all groups can exercise their human rights. 

To read our submission, click here

Submission on the Discussion Document for Developing a New Strategy for an Ageing Population  

Alzheimers NZ has made a submission as part of the Office for Senior's consultation on development of a strategy to prepare for an ageing population. The new strategy will replace the New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy, which was developed in 2001.

In the submission, we urge the government to acknowledge our lack of preparedness, and develop a strategy based on the evidence we have. By making changes to ensure older people are included in our communities and are able to get the services they require, we believe we can look forward to our latter years with some sense of security.  

To read the full submission, click here.

Submission to Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction

Our submission reflects the voice of those affected by dementia and calls for better targeted services to improve the quality of life of people living with dementia, in order to reduce the impact of dementia on mental and wider health services and on and the economy as a whole. There are many overlapping and parallel issues which sit at the nexus of dementia and wider mental health which are explored in the document.

To read the full submission, click here

Submission on the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women 

Dementia is a major issue for women as it exacerbates existing gender health inequities. Women are more likely to get dementia, more likely to care for someone with dementia, and more likely to be engaged in low paid work caring for someone with dementia. This submission focuses on three key issues:

  • Lack of data limits understanding of the scope of the problem
  • Lack of legal safeguards around restraint for people with dementia breaches human rights
  • Poor implementation of healthcare provisions reduces human rights and fosters disadvantage

To read the full submission, click here

Submission to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee on the Budget Policy Statement 2018

Our submission to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee on the Budget Policy Statement 2018 focuses on three key issues:

  • Growing dementia prevalence has budget policy implications
  • Dementia-related issues impinge on other Governemnt budget policy goals
  • Reducing the budgetary impact of dementia

​To read the full submission, click here

Briefing to the Incoming Minister (BIM) 2017

Our Briefing to the Incoming Minister (BIM) for 2017 focusses on the dementia challenge we are facing in New Zealand. The numbers, costs and nature of dementia make it one of NZ’s biggest healthcare issues. Steps must be taken now to address this challenge as a matter of priority. The Briefing includes proposed solutions that will assist us to become a more dementia friendly society. 

Click here to read the Briefing to the Incoming Minister.

 Health Coalition Aotearoa

Alzheimers NZ is a member of Health Coalition Aotearoa. Unhealthy diets, high BMI, tobacco, and alcohol contribute about one third of the overall preventable premature death and disability in New Zealand, yet less than a half a percent of the health budget is spent on preventing that damage.  As a collective we strive to prevent harm from unhealthy commodities and to strengthen the foundations of public health. Find out more.

 Preparing for the 2017 Election: Making dementia a priority

For the 2017 New Zealand general election, we prepared an Election Briefing document, which outlined the impacts of dementia, and our calls to the government, as well as suggestions of how you can use the briefing to raise awareness of dementia with local candidates. 

Responses to the challenge of dementia in NZ 2017:

Green Party
Labour Party (still to come)
Maori Party 
Minister of Health
NZ First
United Future

Pre-election political debate:

On 2 August 2017, we hosted a political debate with representatives of the major political parties. The parties put forward their policies for addressing the growing challenge of dementia. Watch the video of the forum here. 

Further reading:

Read our proposal to the Government
Read our submission to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee on the Budget Policy Statement 2017
Read our submission to the Health and Disability Commissioner on research involving adult participants who are unable to give informed consent.