The nationwide labour crunch has hit the Bay of Plenty's retirement sector and one lifestyle village leader says staffing is an "absolute crisis".
Nursing shortages across the region's $3 billion retirement village industry have meant 14 beds have had to close in the past six months.
Retirement Village Association executive director John Collyns said there was relatively slow development in the Bay last year.
"The sector has experienced labour shortages and supply chain issues, as has every construction company."
Collyns said there was an increase of 226 units in the region from 2020 but an increase of 300 residents.
A survey released this month by Aged Care Matters, formed by members of the New Zealand Aged Care Association, found if current levels of Government funding continued, 47 per cent believed they would be very unlikely to build new beds within the next year.
A total of 35 per cent said in the next 12 months it was very likely or likely they will have to close aged-care facilities.
An estimate supplied by CBRE Limited - a global commercial real estate services company - said the region's estimated retirement village industry capital value was $3,701,400,600 as of January.
Chief executive of Heritage Lifecare - which has villages in Tauranga, Te Puke and Rotorua - Norah Barlow said staffing was an "absolute crisis" in the sector.
"The nursing shortage is being more acutely felt in our provincial communities, where Heritage Lifecare provides care."
Barlow said hospital level services were suspended in Wairoa because it was unable to attract nurses, which meant some people had to move to another region for care.
"Unless the Government addressed pay parity with district health boards urgently, which has been ignored in the 2022 Budget, we will, unfortunately, see the closure of more aged-care beds."
Barlow said about 250 people were employed at its three Bay villages but finding staff for the positions was not easy.
"It is very hard to get staff," she said. "This applies to most areas of the business, where people are so important for providing care."
A person from Katikati's Radius Lexham Park, who did not want to be identified, said the nurses were understaffed and they feared the facility would close.
But Radius Care chief executive Andrew Peskett said there were no plans to close Radius Lexham Park. He said it was operating well and only had two nursing vacancies, which were managed through cover provided by relief staff.
Summerset Group Holdings head of communications Logan Mudge said there was concern demand would become greater than the supply of aged-care services.
Mudge said on top of Summerset by the Sea in Katikati, it developed Summerset by the Dunes in Pāpāmoa after "considerable growth and high demand".
Mudge said Government funding for aged care had not adjusted in line with costs and demands for services and the sector was seeking urgent review and investment.
He said the sector was short about 1000 registered nurses and was exacerbated by higher health board pay rates attracting staff.
"While Summerset is fortunate to offer attractive benefits to employees to attract and retain staff, not for profit providers are struggling and, sadly, a number of providers have needed to close or reduce their offerings."
Arvida Group chief executive Jeremy Nicoll said between 50 and 60 jobs would become available at its new $60 million Bethlehem village once it was completed in the next few years.
Nicoll hoped the issue of staff shortages would be resolved by the time they needed to recruit to fill those roles.
Bay of Plenty and Lakes District Health Boards said there was a pay parity gap between different nursing services that was expected to be addressed at a national level.
Bay of Plenty District Health Board acting general manager of planning and funding Mike Agnew said it was undertaking a survey to understand what facilities were limiting admissions because of the shortage.
A Lakes District Health Board spokesperson said there were no facilities in its area that had closed beds because of the shortage of nursing staff.
"However, we are aware that there is a nursing shortage and conflicting recruitment needs across all health sectors and all ARC facilities in Lakes DHB have reported staffing vacancies."
Rotorua Business Chamber chief executive Bryce Heard said there was a "real area of growth" as Baby Boomers reached retirement age.
"It provides safe living conditions for older people and also frees up houses to help address the housing shortage.
"Some developers are cleverly targeting this market. It is to be hoped that we are not constrained by staffing shortages."
In a post-Budget press release, New Zealand Aged Care Association chief executive Simon Wallace said the sector had been ignored, including pay parity for aged-care nurses and it had "paved the way" for the collapse of the sector.
"The fact is that our aged-care sector can't function without nurses. It's nursing-led and it's a mainstream part of the healthcare system with the capability to provide 40,000 beds."
He said "dire" nursing shortages had forced the closure of almost 800 beds in the country's rest homes over the past six months.
He told NZME while the Bay of Plenty had been managing the shortage so far, 14 beds had still closed.
The minister for seniors Dr Ayesha Verrall was approached for comment.