The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ)
The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) members (over 10,000) were faced with a 50% annual levy increase from the Real Estate Agents Authority taking licensee fees from $495 to $760. REINZ felt the proposed increase was neither fair nor reasonable given the current economic climate. While very supportive of the REAA’s role, REINZ was aware that their cost overheads for managing the complaints process were significantly higher than other industry bodies and felt it was important that a cost efficiency review was conducted urgently. REAA were running a three week consultation regarding the levy increase and the window of opportunity to affect any change was very short.
REINZ had a new Board Chairman and had appointed a new CEO during the campaign – it was important these two key staff were seen to be working tirelessly for the membership.
Silvereye Communications needed to ensure that REINZ members knew about the proposed increase and took action to protest against it. It was also important for relevant ministers to understand REINZ’s position on the matter.
Silvereye Communications undertook an intensive government relations programme and lobbying relevant ministers. In conjunction with lobbying efforts, we also established a simple online submission process and engaged with REINZ membership regularly to encourage them to make a submission. While we distributed one media release throughout the consultation process, we deliberately ran a very low key media relations campaign and rather choose to engage ‘behind the scenes’ to achieve out desired outcomes.
Over 4500 REINZ took the opportunity to submit to the REAA on the proposed levy increase – signaling a strong unity and clear focus. The Minister of Justice, the Associate Minister of Justice, the Deputy Prime Minister and their relevant staffers were all well aware of the REINZ position.
The REAA announced a decrease in the proposed levy rises – taking a close to $900,000 cut in their operating budget to absorb the drop. The Associate Minister of Justice has indicated he will work with the REAA and REINZ to make further improvements in the REAA’s efficiency and operation, particularly in how complaints are processed and dealt with. The minister has also indicted legislative change has not been ruled out either.
This is a very positive outcome for REINZ members, with a strong signal from the highest levels that further work will be done towards enhancing a constructive relationship between REINZ and the REAA to ensure the best outcomes for the industry and consumers.