Lincoln Tan

Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Actor defends Agent Anna

Roy Billing (left) stars in Agent Anna with Robyn Malcolm (centre) and Adam Gardiner. Photo / Supplied
Roy Billing (left) stars in Agent Anna with Robyn Malcolm (centre) and Adam Gardiner. Photo / Supplied

Actor Roy Billing, who plays Anna's boss, Clint, in the TV One hit comedy series Agent Anna, is defending the programme which is facing criticism from real estate agents.

Barfoot & Thomson managing director Peter Thompson has called it a "load of rubbish" and Real Estate Institute of NZ chief executive Helen O'Sullivan has described the lying, back-stabbing, cheating and promiscuity depicted on the programme as "not real life", despite not having watched the show.

But Billing, who has starred in Hell Has Harbour Views, Packed to the Rafters and Under the Mountain, said: "I have had many dealings with estate agents in New Zealand and Australia, and when I first saw the scripts I thought that many of the real estate scenes read more like a documentary than a fictional TV series, but funny nevertheless.

"Ms O'Sullivan begs to differ and would have us all believe that real estate agents are near sainthood in their business practices, as I am sure all commission sales people are.

"Maybe I, [and] hundreds of thousands of Kiwi viewers, and all of us involved in Agent Anna are missing something here?"

Producer Rachel Gardner said the comedy aimed to be something "that all Kiwis would relate to and find funny".

When contacted yesterday, Ms O'Sullivan said she did not wish to make any further comments.

More than 1.2 million have tuned into the series since it began in January, averaging more than 400,000 viewers an episode, says TV One.

Lifen Wei, a Barfoot and Thomson agent from Pukekohe, said the series was a "fairy tale" and did not depict what was truly happening in the industry.

"Let's face it, in New Zealand the wife is the boss who makes the decision," said Miss Wei, who joined the industry slightly over a year ago.

"We won't be selling any properties if we dressed in super short skirts or go after their husbands."

However, she said the comedy did give agents something to talk about - especially at open homes.

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