NZ retirement village information sessions overwhelmed by demand

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This week we received an email from John Collyns (pictured), CEO of NZ’s Retirement Village Association, informing us of the demand for information sessions being staged across the country. Here is an edit of his email:

Our Retirement Commissioner has legislative responsibility for public education around retirement village living and as part of that, Diane Maxwell (the Commissioner) has embarked on a series of public meetings around the country aimed at potential residents, their families and anyone who has an interest in the subject.

Nine sessions between last Wednesday and 9 July are planned. I will be at each one, accompanied by a retirement village lawyer, and each is moderated by one of the Commissioner’s senior staff.
The sessions are 90 minutes long and take the format of a dialogue between the three of us and cover things like the legislation, consumer protection, business models, availability of care, reasons to move in and the effects of equity release on retirees’ income when moving to a village. Questions from the floor are encouraged.

None of this is particularly remarkable, you might think, except the demand for places has been overwhelming. Hits on the booking website totalled more than 70,000 in a couple of weeks and the first session, in Auckland a couple of nights ago, was filled to capacity with at least 130 people. Last night in Hamilton had more than 100 people, and across all nine sessions, close to 1,000 people have registered their intention to come.

Demand is such that we’re booking additional sessions in the main centres and planning new ones in provincial centres who are aggrieved at being missed out the first time around! The sessions will continue over the rest of this year and early next.

The interest in these sessions underlines the steadily-increasing growth in the sector that you outlined in last week’s Source. Retirement villages are definitely seen as part of the mainstream housing options for older people over here!