Legal framework report 2021
In June 2021 Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission released a report and recommendations following public consultation on a white paper studying the effects of the complex legal framework governing the retirement village sector.
We received nearly 3300 submissions. While most were from individuals and the Retirement Village Residents’ Association, others came from operators and other stakeholders including lawyers, supervisors, and consumer advocates.
The report concluded that retirement village legislation was at risk of becoming outdated and unfit for purpose, requiring urgent review to eliminate unfair terms in contracts and better protect the rights of consumers.
Proposed Variations to the Retirement Villages Code of Practice 2008
The Retirement Commissioner consulted the public on proposed variations to the Code of Practice complaints facility between 17 December 2015 – 14 March 2016. The Commission decided to make comprehensive improvements and consulted on a re-drafted set of proposed variations between 2 June – 14 July 2016.
The proposed variations were to clause 31 and clauses 32-36 of the Code of Practice, which relate to how residents raise an issue or concern with the operator and statutory supervisor, and to the complaints facility.
The Commission presented recommendations to the Minister for Building and Construction in August 2016.
Read the Commission's recommendations here.
Read the current Code of Practice
The Minister issued a Gazette notice approving the proposed variations on 6 October 2016.
When do the variations take effect?
The variations take effect from 1 April 2017.
What changes have been made?
The variations improve the dispute resolution process in the Code of Practice and prioritise the early resolution of disputes. The amended Code of Practice:
Requires operators to have a written procedure so residents may informally raise concerns or issues. This is intended to facilitate early resolution of issues
Makes the formal complaints and dispute resolution process more user-friendly through a new step-by-step procedure for formal complaints to encourage earlier resolution
Includes a diagram explaining the complaint process to help residents recognise that a mix of options are available to them and where they may turn for help
Clarifies that the statutory supervisor’s role is to work with parties to provide an impartial perspective and to recommend a way forward
Includes mediation as a clear step if a complaint cannot be resolved informally
Requires operators to report formal complaints data to the Retirement Commissioner every six months
An updated version of the Code of Practice with a clause by clause explanation of the variations, including the recent variations that become effective 1 April 2017, is available here.