INDEPENDENT NEWS

Judge Sides With Real Estate Agent In ‘Cultural’ Training Judgement

Published: Fri 22 Mar 2024 05:24 PM
Today Justice Grau in the High Court denied the Real Estate Authority’s application for an order that Janet Dickson put up $15,000 in security to pay the Real Estate Authority’s costs if they win.
“Justice Grau’s brisk dismissal of the REA’s arguments should have the REA reconsidering their ruthless reaction to our client, and whether persisting with their lawyer strategy is really in the interests of real estate agents and their customers," says Stephen Franks of Franks Ogilvie, Janet’s lawyers.
"We are very appreciative of the judge’s words:
"that this is an application for judicial review, which is a fundamental right affirmed under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act and is a proceeding that engages issues of rights protected under that Act, in particular, rights of freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and freedom of expression.”
“Hobson’s Pledge is pleased to see that the support of our members is making a difference. We felt we had to step in to ensure Janet Dickson was not beaten down by the REA’s control of funds collected compulsorily from land agents, including agents who would deeply disagree with the indoctrination they made compulsory.” Hobson’s Pledge spokesperson Don Brash says.
Stephen Franks added: “The Real Estate Authority claimed that they needed security because of Janet’s evidence about losing her income if her licence was cancelled, and the crowd-funding Hobson’s Pledge has organised. Thankfully the judge was not taken in."
"The REA have badly underestimated the frustrations of not only their own licensees, but also the strength of feeling on the matter in wider New Zealand. The speed with which people donated for Janet’s case is evidence of the eagerness of New Zealanders to see an end to attacks on their rights," Don Brash says.
“The judgement discloses that 92 other real estate agents in a similar position to Janet Dickson, are objecting to forced submission to the Te Kakano cultural training course. Incredibly, the Authority tried to persuade the judge that this was not relevant because it is only 'a small number'. These are people willing to put their livelihoods at risk.
"Janet has been made to feel she is standing alone for her principles. Clearly this is not true. She considered that real estate agents should be on the side of their customers, not just accepting and appearing to agree with claims that certain people could claim distant ancestral or race rights to decide how others could use their own land – land sold many generations ago.
"Finding out that so many agents have objected should give confidence to other real estate agents who would have felt suppressed by the threat of job and licence loss.”

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