The Finance and Expenditure Select Committee considering the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill has rejected retirement village operators’ request for exemption from having to get State consent before buying sensitive or residential land to build new villages.

While the committee’s report recommended some changes to the Bill, it didn’t grant the exemption.

Operators with significant foreign ownership voiced their concerns in the submissions process earlier this year.

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.

Glen Sowry, chief executive of Metlifecare, told the Otago Daily Times that the company is disappointed with the select committee’s decision.

“We believe the case we put forward to select committee was sound, and the key premise was we understand what the Government is trying to achieve through this new legislation but we remain of the view that retirement village developers and operators are part of the solution the government is trying to achieve, not part of the problem they’re trying to solve,” he said.

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