New Zealand's real estate industry regulator has changed its name from the Real Estate Agents Authority to the Real Estate Authority (REA), and is to take a much stronger interest in helping people who want to complain about real estate agents.

REA chief executive Kevin Lampen-Smith says: "While the REA remains a regulatory body that licenses real estate agents, we are becoming more proactive and focused on consumers' needs. A new consumer website will further that aim."

The organisation is the independent government agency that regulates the New Zealand real estate industry. Its aim is to promote and protect the interests of consumers involved in real estate transactions, and to promote a high standard of professionalism and service in the industry.

Lampen-Smith says the name change comes after consumer and industry research found there was confusion about the organisation's role and purpose.

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"Our research has found many New Zealanders are not well-informed about real estate transactions, which means they can take unnecessary risks when selling and buying property. It's important that we reinforce our independence in the crowded market of real estate messages."

The REA has a new website at rea.govt.nz, which provides information on the organisation's role and function, including how to search the public register of licensed real estate agents and how to make complaints.

The new website also provides a platform for licensed real estate agents to apply for and manage their licences, and keep up to date with their obligations.

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