Updated - Monday 21 December
We received a response from REINZ late Friday. They do not intend to comment because the allegations are unproven. Interesting given at least two have already admitted being at fault.
The email from Colleen Milne is here, with our original letter to her below that.
Dear Ms Milne
Thursday 17 December 2015 was a very, very bad day for real estate in NZ. The Commerce Commission commenced proceedings against the who’s who of establishment real estate agencies for price fixing and anticompetitive behaviour. Some have already said they are guilty.
But missing from the news coverage so far is any sense of comfort from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand. Is REINZ trying to avoid the issue in the hope it will go away? Are we waiting for some of the same people that are subject to these proceedings to approve a press release?
Now is the time to lead, on behalf of the industry, not just the few who have been very seriously accused. My own perspective is the REINZ should:
- Acknowledge that the accusations are serious
- Loudly condemn any practices from member organisations or individuals that are against the law, using our own code of practice as reference.
- Outline that sanctions will occur for members that are at fault or are proven in court to be at fault, and that those sanctions will be serious and material, again using our own code of practice as reference.
- Talk about how the industry is going to learn from this and propose changes in practice, describe perhaps how this is an unique opportunity to change the way the industry operates and how it can be more focused on customers, more transparent, and more honest
- Lead from the front by being available to the media, by being clear about what is going on, by stating the obvious - this is unacceptable, loudly, repeatedly and sincerely.
The Institute has two choices in my view - lead from the front and show NZ how we can and will be the industry we aspire to be, or hunker down, hope everyone is more focused on Christmas and this will all fade away.
I know what I want to see from my industry body.
It is time to listen to those that are not the establishment. Change does not come from those now charged with price fixing and anticompetitive behaviour.
I look forward to your response
200 Square Real Estate
Member of the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand
Licensed Agent REAA (2008)