It was the end of a very special era last month, when NZPIF President Martin Evans decided not to stand for re-election after four years in the job.
While it is an honour to hold the National Presidency position it is also very time consuming and difficult to find someone who has the skills, experience and natural abilities to undertake this highly demanding role. In addition to these attributes, the person must also have the time and financial resources to enable them to undertake the role.
Property Investor Associations, their members and indeed the whole industry have been extremely fortunate that Martin has devoted the last four years upholding and improving conditions for rental property owners.
Martin has sacrificed time with his family and business interests to devote much of his energy to the good of the industry. The NZPIF Executive felt a little guilty cajoling him to stay on for the last two years, but no one wanted to lose the unique qualities he brought to the position.
However being located in Christchurch and owning a large Property Management company, it was always going to be a hard task trying to persuade him to carry on for one more year.
When I first joined the NZPIF Executive in 2005 there were quite a few issues. The Executive Members were certainly dedicated, but the focus was parochial and didn’t effectively address the pressing national matters affecting our industry. This inward focus lead to miscommunication and an atmosphere of uncertainty and even distrust between the Federation and Associations.
Martin drove a change in the way the NZPIF operated so that Associations and their members were the Federation’s prime concern, along with actively providing a national industry voice.
Three considerations were developed to help the Federation decide which issues should be progressed and prioritise our scarce resources. They were:
From that point on the Federation’s energy moved in a different direction. Martin’s diplomacy skills effectively communicated this change to associations and the today we have an excellent working relationship with Associations around the country. This has led to the Federation and Associations working together as a more effective rather than as many different organisations doing there own thing.
During Martin’s tenure the NZPIF developed an on-line membership management system for all associations to use. Combining 21 different databases into one system was never going to be an easy task and improvements are still being made to meet Associations’ evolving requirements.
A central website with sections for each Association meant that development and management costs were vastly reduced and allowed each association to have their own website without the costs. Flexibility in design meant that each association could still modify their website to cater for their needs and style. Another centralised cost was the national membership card, designed and developed through a committee drawn from Associations around the country.
Martin’s years of experience as a property investor and Property Manager has been invaluable when talking to Government Departments and Members of Parliament. He has been able to clearly convey the view of rental property owners in a balanced, composed and convincing manner.
Martin is highly respected by politicians and this was evidenced by the Select Committee hearing on the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act. Previous presenters were given around five minutes to present their case, while the Federation was in front of the committee for a full 20 minutes, with many questions from the hearing members.
Martin’s excellent communication skills led to real successes. Highlights include the eight years spent working on the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill. Martin worked with eight different Housing Ministers and two political parties during this period. His contribution saw many changes that are now benefiting rental property owners.
Another highlight was arguing against last years proposed tax increases. Faced with large finance companies with fully paid employees, it was a David and Goliath situation. Although the predictions that Martin made on rental price increases are coming true, the potentially devastating proposals were successfully avoided.
A large part of Martin’s success is his balanced overview of the industry. Martin has viewed tenants as customers which has endeared him to the many Tenant groups he has worked with. This good working relationship is critical, as the NZPIF have to consider the affect on tenants as well as owners if they are to develop successful policies to put forward.
The NZPIF Executive, especially myself, are grateful that Martin is staying on as Immediate Past President. We hope that we can retain his knowledge and input for as long as possible.
As the new President, I hope to continue the excellent achievements that Martin has obtained, creating a regulatory and business environment that allows people to provide good quality homes for New Zealanders in a profitable manner.
Thank you for all the good wishes and support from the Associations who have contacted me.
NZ Property Investors’ Federation