NZ Recap – Spring 2020

The future has never been murkier, but there’s no time like spring to reflect and recalibrate!

Never before have we spent so much time commuting around home! With the landscape constantly changing and my focus on not waving like a crazy woman as we connect virtually, I think the second lockdown reminded us all not to take for granted a false sense of security/freedom, and to look for more permanent solutions and flexibility where needed. We all continue to adapt and evolve.

Under our previous National led government, around 2017 former Minister Nikki Kaye lead a group known as the UTA Working Group who lobbied for a review and changes to our Unit Titles Act 2010. Alongside some of our SCA (NZ) members, ADLS and REINZ, I was lucky enough to sit on the working group. We got some traction at the time and a government discussion document was issued for public comment. National lost the 2017 election and unfortunately, the call for reform came to a halt with the new Government & Housing Minister focusing elsewhere and claiming they did not see it as priority.

We kept lobbying and earlier in 2020, a FLAU (Fix Laws on Apartments and Units) petition was successfully filed.

In July 2020, this was drawn as a members bill and SCA (NZ) Deputy President Liza Fry-Irvine, UTA Working Group Chair Joanna Pidgeon and I visited Parliament to present the Unit Titles (Strengthening Body Corporate Governance and Other Matters) Amendment Bill that our UTA Working Group assisted in drafting. David Seymour MP presented the Bill on our behalf. The Bill was due to have its first reading later that week. A combination of a global pandemic and rescheduled elections meant unfortunately, this did not happen before Parliament adjourned for the election campaign. We understand the Bill will now be put before the House under the new Government in due course.

Other than the sun coming out to play, the great news in the last few days has been the progression of the Australia/New Zealand air bridge. We actually miss you guys…

It’s been an interesting ride on following the campaign trail having heard policies and promises from Megan Wood promoting build to rent, Phil Twyford acknowledging the ‘cloak of shame’ that was KiwiBuild and the rhetoric of what can be achieved coming out from under the ‘rock of coalition’, along with the government’s support of ‘gentle density’. Contrasting Judith Collins targeting the Resource Management Act, along with David Seymour who also voiced concerns on the ‘assault on property rights’ delivered by the Residential Tenancy Act changes.

We, our ‘team of 5 million’ have all done our bit, staying at home and popping a teddy in the window. Now we all wait with bated breath for the election on Saturday 17 October 2020 and how the public health, political and of course, economic paradigm will take shape as a result. As always, the property industry will be pivotal.

SCA (NZ) successfully lobbied for the introduction of a Bill introduced into New Zealand Parliament earlier in the year to allow remote general meetings by video and audio link. The measure is part of the Epidemic Preparedness (COVID-19) Notice 2020 issued by Parliament allowing for temporary amendments to legislation.

The Epidemic Preparedness (COVID-19) Notice 2020, and therefore the temporary ability to run remote meetings under section 88 of the Unit Titles Act 2010, has just been extended further through to 23 December. This means section 88(3) UTA re remote meetings will now end on 16 March 2021, being 12 weeks from the new expiry date of the Notice (as per section 88(5) UTA).  

This is the second extension and it is possible it will be extended again. That will be known around the end of December. The Prime Minister also has power to revoke the Notice early so best to keep a watching brief.  

Section 88 UTA amendment can be found here: DLM1160665.html  

Meanwhile, like everyone, events have been somewhat stymied by alert level and gathering restrictions, however this week we were finally able to enjoy a very timely and relevant ‘Resilience’ event for members, kindly hosted by Grimshaw’s and well received (along with the networking drinks after), inspiring some apt dialogue across a variety of the sectors attendees.

We are also enjoying planning our annual SCA(NZ)/ADLS Half Day Symposium with our partner, Auckland District Law Society. The line-up is well underway with a great list of topics and presenters covering a case law update, appointment of an administrator under the UTA, building issues, unit plan boundaries and governance issues (plus more). The conference is currently scheduled for 19 November 2020. More information will follow soon.

And of course, Christmas festivities will be with us before we know it, with our member event set for Friday 4 December 2020. We look forward to debriefing and farewelling 2020 with all our colleagues and valued members and sponsors then!

We continue to navigate how we can deliver our goals to our members and champion the strata sector. We encourage you to reach out if you have any ideas. The uncertainty is both scary and alluring.

“It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

Onwards and Upwards,

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