UPDATE: New Zealand Property Investors Federation (NZPIF) president Andrew King plans urgent talks with Government Ministers to get answers about the proposed merger of the Department of Building and Housing (DBH).
"I am very shocked. It came out of left field. I have not got a clue what building and housing has to do with business and innovation or labour," King said.
Cabinet had agreed in principle to establish the new Ministry, which will absorb the functions of the Ministry of Economic Development, the Department of Labour, the Ministry of Science and Innovation, and the Department of Building and Housing effective by July 1.
He is trying to get appointments to see Steven Joyce, who will head the new ‘super ministry' and Housing Minister Phil Heatley and building Minister Maurice Williamson.
"We will definitely be trying to go and see the Ministers. We need to know what will happen with services, especially tenancy services. We want to talk to Ministers to find out what is going on.
"We should have been consulted. I do not think it is acceptable. They have not gone out to the stakeholders and asked us what would happen if we changed this or that or asked us what needed changing. There has been none of this. It is a bombshell."
Even if the proposed merger wasn't going ahead King had planned to talk to Ministers. Since the last round of cost cutting in the Department services, that were excellent, had diminished, he said.
The main problem was the waiting times for tenancy tribunal hearings that had ballooned out to seven weeks and in some centres like Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch that could be even longer, King said.
Previously landlords might have waited up to three weeks for a hearing. With the average rent being $330 a week, and more in the main centres, landlords were losing an extra $1350 before they got to a hearing.
"We are going to say to them (the Ministers) we are really concerned that this is going to further deteriorate a service that is already failing. How can we stop it from going down and get it back to where it was?"
At a bare minimum King said investors needed services to be returned to how they were several years ago, before the review, when the service was excellent.
"This announcement (the proposed merger) makes us more concerned that that will not happen," he said.
Unlike Auckland Property Investors Association (APIA) president David Whitburn who states on his blog that he likes the big picture of the merger because it will keep Government expenditure under control and is "excited by the change, and with these timeframes ballooning over the past year to unacceptable levels, change had to occur."
King is not convinced. He was not excited by the merger and did not think it would improve service.
"I don't think service will improve, especially given the last time they went through a review to improve customer services it ended up with customer service going down. I have no expectation it is going to improve the service."
He was concerned that Government seemed to have made up its mind about the merger and was not going to go back on it.