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.


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  • Michael

    The only people who read the SST are those who are already convinced that business is evil and employers are exploiters. I haven’t bought a copy since the Brash/Hanson spot the difference cover. 

  • Adolf Fiinkensein

    In the same issue some bleeding heart head tilting Commissioner for somethng or other is claiming workers are no better than slaves.  I looked long and hard for the evidence she would provide for this extraordinary claim.  There was none.

    Funny thing is, nobody forces people to work there and if they leave, there will be someone else glad to step in and be paid $14 per hour.  Mostly migrants of course.  Most Kiwis are too damned lazy or up themselves to do this work. Much easier to cheat a little and rort WINZ.

  • Dave

    I agree that they build them very very well.   We have supplied them, and they have tight construction schedules, and control cost and quality very closely.     Note the mention of quality, their specs include specific quality and performance criteria, and if you want ongoing work, then turn up when promised, do exactly what your supposed, and to the highest standards.   

    They also pay their accounts on time, and as per contract.   Only twice did we need to go for extras, and we were accommodated.   Its a shame not all major builders are as ethical and efficient as them.

    They deserve their success!!

  • Scanner

    Never let the truth get in the way of a good story, SST is not worth wiping your bum on.

  • Rocky

    Apparently the Human Rights Commissioner spent a couple of days working alongside these workers before deciding they were grossly underpaid (she got her normal excessive salary). If she spent a couple of days working alongside  Public Shithouse cleaners or virtually any other hard working Manual worker from her highly paid sheltered academic environment she would come to the same conclusion that they too were underpaid.

    • Scanner

       Perhaps it’s not that the cleaners are underpaid, more perhaps a case the commissioner being overpaid.

    • Guest

      But workers from which company? Ryman, who pays above average, or some other operator?

  • Phar Lap

    Sunday Star Times in the same category as the Horrid ,TVNZ  TV3  and all the other lying media.Have a look at the guy called Hubbard,he is called the Editor,seems the paper is going bad,as he is always dressed as a tramp in Salvation Army or Red Cross castoffs.

  • Vlad

    There is much to value about this blog, but I most appreciate the exposure of shabby & lazy reporting standards.  As a long-term former inmate of the MSM I deplore the declining energy/standards of current newspapers and other media and the blast of cleansing air that WO brings refreshes my day. 

  • AnonWgtn

    With a name like Winslow Taggart sounds appropriate for the getting defunct SST.
    Glad I cancelled.