In our leading questions series, Kiwi businesspeople discuss the year just gone and what will impact them in 2019. Arvida is the listed retirement village business whose shareholders include ex-All Blacks Richie McCaw and Dan Carter and its chief executive Bill McDonald discusses the risk of staffing shortages and the Government's aged care funding review.
What is 2019 looking like for your business?
The year ahead is shaping up very well on multiple fronts. Our development division has evolved over the last four years into a team capable of delivering our growing development pipeline very competently. We take a different approach to our developments ensuring they reflect the changing demands of an ageing Kiwi population. Our person-focused approach to care is now genuinely changing lives in our villages - both residents and staff! This is driving our occupancy and demand for new product which is very exciting. Part of the value and opportunity in creating a new business is the creation of a vibrant culture at the core of the business.
How is that different to 2018? How has the last year been for your business?
It's more of a continuation and building on the momentum generated year-on-year for us. We are very much the new boys and girls on the block having only listed four years ago and still creating a presence. We have set strategies which differentiate us and it is a matter of focusing on these and delivering what we say we will deliver, both in a physical and a service sense.
What are the issues affecting your industry in the next 12 months?
We have two distinct headwinds in the next 12 months. The recent slowdown in the housing market, particularly in Auckland, is something we are keeping an eye on. Being more regional and needs-based as an overall portfolio, any potential impact is mitigated. We continue to see the fundamentals of continuing demand and restriction on supply as the key factors influencing the New Zealand residential market. The risk of staffing shortages is also a challenge in the next 12 months with increasing shortages of trained people due to increases in staffing levels across hospitals. Compounding this issue is the migration settings placing great pressure on the sectors ability to find and retain both carers and nurses.
What is the biggest issue you would like the Government to champion in 2019?
The aged care funding review is set to deliver its findings early in the New Year. I see this as a great opportunity for the Government to improve the sector holistically by reviewing the funding and staffing challenges as a single issue, utilising its health and immigration portfolios to work together to find solutions. New Zealand is now on the population ageing journey, so leadership needs to be shown, to set us up for this major challenge which lies ahead.
Do you get a break this summer? What's your favourite way to relax?
I plan to spend the holidays away with family in Australia and hope to be very close to the water if the current heat wave affecting Australia continues. As resting well is a key plank to our attitude of living well model, there needs to be a focus on finding the right balance. For me, spending time with the family is a priority as we all live busy lives. Where you will find me most relaxed though, is racing at a motocross track, a pursuit I began in about 1977.