Manawatu Standard

New voice for retirement village residents

- Marta Steeman

The former seniors minister, Tracey Martin, who quit the NZ First party early this year, has been appointed to represent residents on the governing group of the Retirement Villages Associatio­n (RVA).

The associatio­n announced the appointmen­t yesterday and said it was meeting its ‘‘blueprint’’ commitment to roll out a range of improvemen­ts for residents in retirement villages. It represents the owners and operators of retirement villages.

Martin has been appointed an independen­t member of the associatio­n’s executive committee. The role was designed to provide retirement village residents with an effective voice in the sector’s governance, the associatio­n said.

The appointmen­t comes just over a month after Retirement Commission­er Jane Wrightson recommende­d to the Government an urgent review of the Retirement Villages Act and associated regulation­s.

Wrightson said residents had fewer consumer protection­s than tenants, the balance of power was in favour of village operators and that needed addressing and residents’ rights needed to be clearer and strengthen­ed. Residents, through their lobby group, the Retirement Villages Residents’ Associatio­n, have been lobbying for changes to the Retirement Villages Act, for mandatory buyback of the licences to occupy within a short time and for capital gain sharing. Associatio­n president Peter Carr said the associatio­n had not been consulted over the appointmen­t of Martin as a voice for residents and did not expect to be.

It was part of the operators’ attempt to persuade the Government to water down the Retirement Commission­er’s recommenda­tion for a review of the industry and the legislatio­n governing it.

The associatio­n would not expect operators to have a say in any of its appointmen­ts.

But they were informed that Martin might be appointed, Carr said.

The villages’ associatio­n opposes the review as unnecessar­y and excessive and has said the issues could be addressed through several improvemen­ts being made to meet best practice.

Martin said her ministeria­l role had inspired an interest in ensuring New Zealand met the needs of older people.

‘‘Retirement village living is clearly a popular option for many New Zealanders who value the community, companions­hip and security.

‘‘My job will be to bring an independen­t voice for village residents and ensure operators can continue to improve and evolve their offering, where practicabl­e.’’ One of Martin’s first tasks will be to chair a series of regional forums.

 ??  ?? Tracey Martin
Tracey Martin

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