Changing of the guard: the Grey Power Federation elects first woman President

At its recent AGM Grey Power elected its first woman Federation President – our congratulations to Jan Pentecost from the North Canterbury Association.

The Board comprises:
National President Jan Pentecost
Vice-President Pete Matcham
Secretary Graeme Faulkner
Treasurer Roy Reid

The Federation media release after Jan’s election reads:
The New Zealand Grey Power Federation, a national seniors’ advocacy group with 50,000 members has elected a new president – Jan Pentecost, who’s been the Federation board’s secretary for ten years and is the first woman to occupy this position since the Federation started 34 years ago.
Awarded a QSM in 2018 for her voluntary work with seniors, Jan sees her role as leading the Federation in their fight for issues which affect many older people.
“Across the country we have many older people with inadequate income, poor housing, unacceptable health and home service care, loneliness and elder abuse,” Jan said. As the chair of the Federation’s Advocacy committee, Jan believes the fact that all the main political parties have finally agreed to support the appointment of a Seniors’ Commissioner comes from years of lobbying by the Federation.
“We have an ageing population, many of whom are living solely on their pension. They cannot afford private medical care; they don’t own their own homes so aren’t able to move into a retirement village and can’t pay sky-high market rent for their accommodation.
“We have also seen cuts in home health care for elderly people still living independently.”
Jan said the Federation will go back to the new government to see election promises for a Seniors’ Commissioner are put into action.
“We need someone with a similar role to the Children’s Commissioner and the Race Relations Commissioner to advocate effectively for older people. With our seniors’ population expected to make up 25 per cent of the population by 2051, and with projections showing there will be at least 60 per cent more elderly than children then, we need an effective voice across all our issues.”
In her new role, Jan is keen to put the Federation back in the public eye.
“We want our work to complement the wonderful effort made in all local Grey Power Associations. Clear communication at all levels will be my goal,” she said.

Jan Pentecost visiting Kapiti Grey Power

Jan Pentecost will be speaking at the Kapiti Grey Power’s social event on Wednesday 24 March 2021, 10am to 12 midday. All Zone 4 Associations and Grey Power members are invited to attend the meeting. We will let you know when further details of the meeting and venue are available.
Zone Representatives on the Board
Zone 1 Far North Ron Thompson
Zone 2 Northern Sandy Feringa
Zone 3 Mid North David Marshall
Zone 4 Central Lew Findlay
Zone 5 Tasman Vacant
Zone 6 Canterbury Karina Bellman
Zone 7 Southern Jo Millar

You may ask what is a Zone and what does it do?

Paragraph 1.3 of the Constitution of Grey Power NZ Federation (2019) states:
1.3 (a) The Federation in General Meeting may divide New Zealand into Zones for the purposes of these Rules, determine the number of Zones, fix their boundaries and vary any such division, number or boundaries.
(b) An Association may not belong to more than one Zone. If any dispute arises as to the Zone to which any Association belongs, the issue shall be determined by the Board whose decision shall be final.

The Zone Guidelines (2016) set out the purpose of a Zone as being the prime point of contact between Associations and the Federation Board. Zones provide feedback to the Board on Grey Power policy; act as a sounding board for ideas relating to older people; form and discuss remits on policy for the Grey Power Federation AGM; provide a mechanism for networking and mentoring of Associations.

The Wellington Central Association falls within Zone 4. The Zone Director is Terry Hemmingsen from the Horowhenua Association and the Assistant Director is Colleen Singleton from the Wellington Central Association. The Zone meets 4 times a year the week following the Federation Board meetings.

At the Zone meeting held on 19 November, Bruce McLachlan and Colleen Singleton represented the Wellington Central Association. The mood was positive. The report from Pete Matcham and Lew Findlay, board members attending the Zone meeting, showed that positive change is already happening at the Federation level. They emphasised that Grey Power has to, again, become the advocate for seniors that decision-makers turn to. Jan is focussing on improved structure and communications. She is ensuring that board members understand their role; that under the current structure the Board has both governance and management roles.

Board meetings for the 2021 year are scheduled to be held at the Brentwood Hotel, Kilbirnie, on the following dates:
February 17-19 (17th is set down for a workshop on policy)
May 20 – 21
August 19 – 20
November 18 – 19

All of the Grey Power documents mentioned are available on the Grey Power Federation website under the heading For Association Use (at the bottom of the Home page)

Colleen Singleton

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