Dispute Resolution and the Retirement Villagers Act 2003: A fair and independent process?
Craig, M. A. (2007). Dispute Resolution and the Retirement Villagers Act 2003: A fair and independent process? (Thesis, Master of Laws (LLM)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2502
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2502
This thesis will explain what an appropriate process for dispute resolution in a retirement village should look like. It will also evaluate how close to that ideal the model contained in the Retirement Villages Act 2003 (RVA) is. It will conclude that the Act model fails because at both steps in its dispute resolution process, it places one of the parties, the operator, in the position of selecting, ensuring independence and paying for a mediator and a disputes panel. This thesis also finds the lack of legal status for residents' committees deprives residents of a source of support and representation. The linchpin role in the Act, the statutory supervisor, also has a disputes resolution function. This thesis finds the role of statutory supervisor also lacks independence because the selection and payment for the role is placed with the operator. Evidence suggests a large share of the market is 'captured' by one Trustee Company that does not maintain independence from operators and may not communicate with residents at a level appropriate to the age of the resident population; the average age of retirement village residents in New Zealand is 83 years. The thesis also finds that mediation is not a suitable process for people in their later years, especially older women when the contested matters surround contractual rights and include on-going fees. The key finding in the thesis is that the Act is not fair or independent for residents.
The University of Waikato
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