The Bill, which could see the restriction overseas ownership of sensitive residential land, was introduced at the end of 2017. Among the submissions to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee, which closed on 23 January, were concerns from retirement village operators with significant foreign ownership. The law change could potentially prevent the likes of Ryman Healthcare and Metlifecare from buying New Zealand land without state consent.
The Retirement Villages Association’s submission stressed the importance of planning for an ageing population and pointed out that retirement villages provide purpose-built age-appropriate accommodation for older people and therefore need to be included in the housing solution.
“We noted that several existing registered retirement village operators include some degree of overseas ownership and that it doesn’t make sense to unreasonably restrict their access to suitable land for retirement village development,” says RVA director John Collyns.
“As a result our principal submission is that registered retirement villages and residential aged care facilities should be exempted from the provisions of this particular Bill. “
Ryman Healthcare and Metlifecare are among those operators with overseas investors and therefore partly foreign controlled.
A spokesperson from Ryman Healthcare told the Herald that while foreigners hold more than 25 per cent of Ryman Healthcare it remains a New Zealand company.
Ryman have argued that land bought for a retirement village or aged care facility was occupied by more people than other forms of residential redevelopment.
Metlifecare reports just over 30 per cent foreign ownership.
Glen Sowry, Metlifecare chief executive, told the Herald that retirement village operators should be exempt.
“Yes, we have foreign owners on our registers but the assets are remaining in the country.”