Aged care and retirement

The next steps to take if you are unable to resolve an issue relating to aged care and retirement.

Who do I go to?

The Retirement Commissioner(external link)'s Retirement Disputes Panel for disputes that you cannot resolve directly with the retirement village and breaches of the Code of Practice(external link) and Code of Residents' Rights(external link).

The New Zealand Companies Office's Registrar for Retirement Villages(external link) to see if the retirement village is registered or to report an unregistered retirement village.

The Health and Disability Commissioner(external link) (HDC) to request a health and disability consumer advocate or make a complaint that a provider has not complied with your rights under the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights(external link)

The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)(external link) to seek compensation if you have suffered an injury as a result of treatment provided.

The Family Court(external link) for concerns about how someone with an Enduring Power of attorney is managing your affairs or someone else’s. 

The Commerce Commission(external link) if you wish to report a business for false or misleading advertising under the Fair Trading Act.

The Privacy Commissioner(external link) if you believe your privacy has been breached.

What kind of problems do they handle?

Retirement Disputes Panel hears disputes between current or former occupants and the operator about:

  • the resident’s right to live in their unit or to use village services or facilities
  • changes to the charges for outgoings or for access to services or facilities
  • charges or deductions imposed on the resident because their right to live in the unit has ended
  • any decision the operator has made about money owed to the resident when the resident cancelled (voided) the occupation right agreement because of a breach by the operator
  • a breach of the Code of Residents’ Rights(external link)
  • a breach of the Code of Practice(external link).

The disputes panel can also hear disputes between residents about any issues affecting their occupation right; this includes a dispute about someone who is in another resident’s unit with their permission.

The Family Court can review any decision made by an attorney. An application for a review can be made by (amongst others):

  • the person who the Enduring Power of Attorney was made for
  • a relative of the person the Enduring Power of Attorney was made for.

What do I need to do?

Retirement villages

  1. For a complaint about the retirement village operator or another resident, contact the operator. Follow their complaint processes. The retirement village must give you information about their complaints procedure and details of any other help the operator will give to residents. Find out how they must handle complaints on the Commission for Financial Capability’s website(external link).

  2. Either you or the retirement village operator can go to a disputes panel appointed by the Retirement Commissioner. To use the formal disputes process, you must issue a dispute notice saying you are unhappy with the outcome of the internal complaints process. You must give the notice within six months of making the initial complaint, unless both sides agree to a longer time.

  3. In disposal disputes (disputes about disposing of the unit), the former resident (or their estate) must wait nine months after the unit has become available to the operator for disposal before they can give a dispute notice. They do not have to make a complaint first.

  4. Read about the Commission for Financial Capability disputes process(external link).

Enduring Powers of Attorney – Family Court

1. You’ll need to make an application under the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988(external link). You can make:

  • an application for the court to take action in respect of an Enduring Power of Attorney
  • an application to review an attorney’s decision.

2. Read the Ministry of Justice’s process for making an application – the Family Court and Enduring Powers of Attorney(external link).

What else do I need to consider?

Retirement Village Disputes Panel

Each retirement village must have a written procedure for resolving complaints simply and fairly within 20 working days. 

Making an application for the dispute process is free for you. However you are responsible for paying the costs and expenses of any witnesses called to give evidence, and also for any support person or representative they engage, such as a lawyer or advocate.

The disputes panel may award some or all costs and expenses incurred to any party, or to the operator if there is a dispute between residents.

At a hearing the panel can:

  • amend the occupation right agreement
  • order either side to comply with their obligations under the occupation right agreement, under the Code of Residents’ Rights, or under the Code of Practice
  • order the resident or the operator to pay or refund an amount of money, if the dispute is with the operator and is about money
  • order either side to return property valued up to $1,000 or pay up to $1,000 in compensation to the other, if the dispute is with another resident
  • order either side to pay costs to the other.

In disposal disputes, in addition to its usual powers, the panel can order the operator to:

  • market the unit in a particular way or at a particular price
  • pay compensation to the former resident
  • pay interest to the former resident.

Family Court – disputes over Enduring Powers of Attorney

You can ask the Family Court to consider if a document is actually an Enduring Power of Attorney. You can also ask the court if the person the Enduring Power of Attorney has been made for has become mentally incapable.

A Family Court can cancel an Enduring Power of Attorney if it’s satisfied that the attorney:

  • is not acting in the best interests of the person the Enduring Power of Attorney was made for
  • isn’t carrying out their duties.

Where can I get more information?

Commission for Financial Capability – retirement villages

Provides information about the work of the Retirement Commissioner and the disputes process.

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 0800 268 269

Ministry of Justice – Family Court for Enduring Powers of Attorney

Provides information about Enduring Power Power of Attorney and how to apply to the court.

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 0800 2 AGREE
Phone: 0800 224 733
Email: info@justice.govt.nz

The Health and Disability Commissioner  

Offers advocates to help with initial complaints to practitioners and a complaints procedure for unresolved complaints.

Visit the website (external link)
Phone: 0800 112 233

Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) Customer Resolutions Team

Provides guidance how to claim compensation for an injury caused by treatment from the services of a health practitioner

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 0800 650 222
Email: customerfeedback@acc.co.nz

Office of the Privacy Commissioner

Provides information on the Privacy Act and how to make complaints about breaches of the Act.

Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 0800 803 909