Health policy

Incompetent business reporting by the Sunday Star-Times

A Guest Post by Whaleoil Business Correspondent – Winslow Taggart:

The Sunday Star-Times committed an outrageous slur on one of NZ’s best run companies today, by linking Ryman Healthcare to industrial relations issues in the retirement village industry.

In fact, by the end of the article, it turns out that Ryman has above average wages in the industry, has no industrial relations issues, and is only in the spotlight because it makes a lot of money – more than anyone else in the industry.

The Slowly-Sinking-Tabloid breathlessly reports that Ryman has made $84m in profit, slyly implying that this is because service worker wages are being ripped off.

In fact, Ryman’s large profits are because of its winning formula of constructing its apartment and village complexes in-house, building to scale (their villages are larger compared to other retirement village operators) and gaining profit on the re-sale of units. For those who don’t know, retirement village operators are mostly property developers who also happen to provide health care to residents. Much of their cash flow comes from unit sales and crucially – re-sales. Wages for nursing care would be a relatively minor part of Ryman’s cost structure.

The Slowly Sinking Tabloid also gets a nice hearty quote from a deluded union hack on the evils of Ryman making money. Says Alistair Duncan from the Service and Food Workers Union:

“Is aged care a service to the community, or is it a business? If you’re making a profit, why is that, when aged care is an extension of the health care we give people?”

The SFWU should STFU. On his logic, we should start underpaying doctors and surgeons because they profit from healthcare too. The health care system would fall over tomorrow if the unions decided health funding priorities.

The real reason the SFWU hates Ryman is because Ryman pays its staff more relative to other retirement village operators – and as a result, there is practically NO SFWU or other union presence in Ryman Healthcare villages. Other operators who pay less, like Oceania, have a strong union presence and recent industrial relations unrest.

Come to think of it, that’s probably why Ryman do so well – no nasty marxists to fuck things up and make life unpleasant for residents.

Utterly incompetent reporting by Michelle Robinson. She should hang her head in shame.