Aged Association slams Peter's figures

The New Zealand Aged Care Association has rubbished figures provided by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters on overseas ownership of rest-homes.

In a speech titled "NZ for Sale" at an RSA in Rangiora, North Canterbury, Mr Peters today railed against privatisation of rest homes.

"Care of the elderly has been internationally privatised and sold off overseas."

About 75% of 870 New Zealand rest homes were run by foreign companies and last year the Overseas Investment Office approved sales of aged rest care facilities worth $1.5 billion, he said.

But association chief executive Martin Taylor said the figures were completely false.

"The truth is about 4000 out of 34,500 beds are operated by foreign owned companies."

Over the last year only one retirement village company, which included 335 aged care beds, was sold - for $135 million to Australians, Mr Taylor said.

Offsetting this, the fourth-largest aged care provider Radius has in the past year returned to full New Zealand ownership, so as such foreign ownership of aged care sector has decreased in the last year.

Mr Peters also said the sector received government subsidies and labour costs were low.

It was attractive for foreign owners to buy rest homes and milk the system use enterprising tax accountants and lawyers.

But Mr Taylor said returns made by the aged residential care sector were low. How low will be confirmed in a joint district health board and provider-sponsored report, to be released in early September.

He accused Mr Peters of getting onto the "outrage band wagon" of anti-foreigner and anti-business mantras.




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