Property editor of the NZ Herald

Body corp abuse worries MP

Nikki Kaye says complaints about proxy votes arose at two meetings this month. Photo / Dean Purcell
Nikki Kaye says complaints about proxy votes arose at two meetings this month. Photo / Dean Purcell

Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye is worried about the abuse of proxy votes in large apartment complexes and says a fellow Cabinet minister has agreed to work with her.

As part of her probe into the "apartment blues" issues, she said complaints about proxy votes arose at two meetings this month, as people expressed frustration that these votes were being used to control the outcomes of body corporate meetings.

"Proxy votes were raised with me and will be addressed in the paper," she said of a document she will soon produce based on feedback at two meetings this month and to her website www.betterbodycorporates.nz

"People manage to get too many proxy votes on the basis they will keep levies down, which can lead to the wrong long-term investments in the building. People can accumulate a large number of votes and that doesn't always have a good outcome," she said, raising issues about overseas-based owners assigning their votes to body corporate managers.

Last year, she talked to Housing Minister Nick Smith and Land Information Minister Louise Upston but was told: "We don't see any major evidence of issues here".

But more backing has emerged.

"Since my meeting last year with ministers Smith and Upston, it is clear a number of potential legislative issues have been raised. I have since spoken to [Justice] Minister [Amy] Adams who is responsible for the Unit Titles Act. She has said she is keen to work together to look at the potential issues," Kaye said.

On Thursday, Kaye chaired a meeting of stakeholders in the sector which she said was attended by Real Estate Institute chairwoman Rosanne Meo, chief executive Colleen Milne and advisory services manager Lisa Gerrard; Homeowners & Buyers Association of NZ representatives John Gray and Roger Levie; David Watt from the Body Corporate Chairs Group; lawyers Liza Fry-Irvine, Joanna Pidgeon, Rob Harris and Tim Jones, Charles Levin, formerly at Chapman Tripp, and others.

Glaister Ennor partner Tim Jones agreed to write a document on the pre-contract disclosure regime and expressed satisfaction with the meeting. "Progress is being made and a paper is being put together of various areas of the act that need to be changed as the group saw it," Jones said.

Kaye said she was looking to Queensland for better rules and a clear consensus had emerged from Thursday's meeting.

Apartment blues

Body corporate sector issues are:

• The abuse of proxy votes

• The need for more transparency of information

• Pre-contract disclosure problems

• The need for improved governance

• Improving long term maintenance plans

• Qualifications and competency of managers

• Improved dispute resolution

Source: Nikki Kaye

- NZ Herald

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