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Grey Power Marlborough is now 29 years old. It's a prime number, and a prime year. So what did we do in this past year that I can report to you on. What can we stop doing? What should we be doing?

The last committee meeting discussed the budget put before this meeting for approval. One of the larger items of expenditure is for radio advertising. At the end of the discussion I put forward the idea that whatever we choose to do, it must be based on good evidence, especially if we are making change.

Evidence-based decisions are what Grey Power is and should be about. The role of advocacy takes place in an arena where sharp bureaucratic, political and academic minds abound. We must match that level of rationality.

The doesn't mean we don't take into account the very human condition that we share, including passion and emotion. Empathy, loving care, hope, and indeed faith that we can change things for the better must be part of our advocacy as well.

I raised Abbeyfield-style housing as a possibility for Marlborough at our AGM in 2016. Three years ago we said it would be a good idea. We argued why. We held a public meeting and the Mayor, Crs. Andrews and Bagge attended along with our current Mayor. It was generally held to be a good idea. An Incorporated Trust with some really good people on it was formed. The idea went forward to the NMDHB. They were looking into the possibility of land in the hospital grounds. About 2000 sq meters is needed to place a house that can accommodate 14 people.

And after three years that is where it sits.

It would be good if the NMDHB makes a decision. Or that some other source of land can be found. An approach to central government may need to be made.
Last year I said that I was a little disruntled with the progress on the building of an Abeyfield house. This year is an electrion year for local bodies, both council and health board. Grey Power has traditionally run meetings at which candidates could speak and be questioned by the voters.

We will do so again. I have faith that they will again be well attended. I hope that questions will be asked of our current and aspiring representatives. I look forward to the charity deserved by our poorer and in need senior citizens who could well benefit from Abeyfield style accommodation.

Meanwhile accommodation remains tight for Marlborough citizens, especially rental accommodation. Council remains committed to keeping its housing stock, and we support that. The housing crisis is expected to ease, and the emergency accommodation opened on Middle Renwick Road is a welcom and well-used addition.

Age- Friendly Communites:
We will be pursuing with the MDC and the idea that Blenheim and by extensionb Marlborough becomes an age-friendly community. In not many years time, one third of Marlborough's population will be aged over 65. It is now the most well endowed community in New Zealand with its percentage of senior citizens. It will not be long when half of our population will be aged over 50.

That will bring challenges and special needs for workers trained and capable of providing the care and support for such a population. It will require more accommodation more suited for seniors, in size, in numbers and affordability, be it rental or owned. This is a challenge too for our bulidng entrepreneurs and developers, that they be persuaded of the logic that similar profits can be made building one and two bedroom housing units to that of three bedroom plus homes.

It will bring challenges in transport needs and medical services, in meeting recreation and socialising needs, in our province.
I hope that Grey Power Marlborough can move in the direction of helping meet social needs to help deal with the problem of social isolation.

However, we will always keep our primary focus of advocating for our seniors, for representing our interests in this community.

To the end we will continue to meet with Mayor, councillors and Council staff, with our Kaikoura MP and with the NMDHB chairperson, board and staff members. We will continue to be presented at MNIP, Older Person's Forum, have a presence at Seniors Day, and make representations to these and other organisations in Marlborough in Health, at council committees, on the Abbeyfield Trust.

This year we have local body elections for District Council and District Health Board and will be holding meetings for them and for the Power Trust which takes place early next year.

We will continue to represent our 5680 members, and encourage new members to join Grey Power Marlborough to enjoy the financial, social and advocacy benefits of such membership. 9.5% of the national membership of Grey Power resides in Marlborough, a province withb 1% of the nation's population, (I could joke about this is why we have such good access to our politicians. But in part it's true. Numbers and having a commom purpose do count.)

We continue to use radio, our newsletter, and our website to contact our membership and this year have overcome the gremlins to institute and email mail out for current news and announcements.

We have formed a working relationship with KiwiCan to support that organisation in its work in Marlborough Schools. Because many of us have the status of grandparents and part-time carers, this programme links into that role as something we can talk about and share with our grandchildren.

The themes of KiwCan are aslo good for seniors to talk about and consider in our own lives. These themes are Positive Relationships, Respect, Integrity, Resilience.

Haven't we had to have shown that in these last weeks, and haven't we done that? Strong associations like Grey Power can be a great force for good in our community.

I hope that we continue to have strong relationships with our membership, with our community and with our community leaders.

I have faith that we will continue  to hold eachother with respect and with integrity, honouring our differences and celebrating our common humanity.

And that we continue to be resilient, adapting to life's changes and circumstances.

I thank you for your support by attending this AGM, to hold us to account as we in turn do with local and central government.
And finally, I thank you all, members, committee, staff, and friends, for your support to me as President of Grey Power.
You have helped make this a rewarding and pleasant four years.
It is time for someone else to pick up the challenge, and to plan our thirty year birthday celebration, and to continue the good work Grey Power does in our community of Marlborough.

I move the adoption of this report, and call for comments and questions from the floor.

Brian McNamara
Grey Power Marlborough