Two Opposition MPs want law changes to clean up New Zealand's $50 billion apartment sector, dogged by disputes, power struggles, lax governance, lack of pre-purchase disclosure, poor maintenance and management plans and financial issues.

Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye and housing and urban development spokeswoman Judith Collins have met Housing Minister Phil Twyford with Kaye saying that as a result, they hope changes will be underway soon.

Many issues dog the apartment sector. Photo/Michael Craig
Many issues dog the apartment sector. Photo/Michael Craig

The moves follow Kaye's extensive "apartment blues" project where she held meetings two years ago then worked with sector representatives to draft big changes. However, the National Government never reformed the law before last year's election and the project stalled.

But Kaye indicated today she hadn't given up.


"Judith Collins and I recently met with the Minister of Housing. We committed - if we were in government - to have a unit titles reform bill introduced into Parliament by Christmas last year. The minister has said he is interested in progressing the reform that the last government was progressing but that it may take until the latter part of this year to draft a reform bill.

"Judith and I are working with some sector representatives to try and progress the drafting of a member's bill so we can move quicker on this. The final details of a bill would need to be agreed by the National caucus but we hope to have something ready in the next two months," Kaye said.

Collins and Kaye. Photo/Norrie Montgomery
Collins and Kaye. Photo/Norrie Montgomery

"We understand the importance of progressing these issues given the huge amount of work done so far and to ensure more apartment owners have confidence in what they are buying and disputes can be dealt with in a more transparent and faster way."
Read more: Consensus over apartment law reform

In February 2016, a political consensus emerged on the need to reform the sector. Kaye and Twyford agreed with each other. After she launched her campaign to hear people's concerns, Twyford said he supported her actions.

"We need a review of the legislation," Twyford said two years. ago. "The governance provisions in the Unit Titles Act are too weak and there's a real problem around the long-term maintenance plans. The UTA is not fit for purpose and there's been a number of alarming cases, particularly defects in the act around requirements for properly funded long-term maintenance plans and weaknesses in the governance requirements for body corporate managers.

"The spotlight went on these problems when there are major weather tightness repairs to blocks which were shoddily built."

But he said at the time that it found it bizarre that it was Kaye running the campaign for change.

"The National Cabinet has been deaf to people's concerns about the apartment sector," Twyford said, criticising its makeup as dominated by MPs outside Auckland.

Comment has been sought today from Twyford on the statement from Kaye.