Meet Janet Dickson.

Janet is a dedicated real estate agent with more than 30 years experience, but the Real Estate Authority is threatening to cancel her licence for five years. Why? Because Janet is taking a principled stance in refusing to complete an online training course instructing real estate agents on te reo Māori, tikanga, and the Treaty of Waitangi.

Her refusal is based on concerns that an industry body can force members to complete training on a subject only very peripherally connected to their job under threat of losing their right to work. It is also a key concern to Janet that the online training course Te Kākano is a singular perspective of the subject matter when there is much variance in opinion and understanding within iwi, Māoridom, and New Zealanders.

This is a matter of personal and professional autonomy and diversity of opinion.

Janet is seeking to challenge REA’s power to impose compulsory courses via a judicial review in the High Court. The review could serve as a critical tool in addressing the overreach by other professional organisations who force diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training on workers via mandates.

This case has the potential to be groundbreaking! Will you back Janet?

About Janet Dickson’s
Judicial Review

Janet is challenging the REA’s power to impose compulsory courses like Te Kākano on licensees by applying for judicial review in the High Court. This legal action is a critical step in addressing the overreach of authority by the REA and may be an effective curb on the risk of similar over reach by other statutory professional organisations. The ramifications of this case extend well beyond the realm of real estate. Similar mandates have detrimentally affected a wide array of professions, including doctors, teachers, and lawyers. The imposition of these mandates, infringing upon the fundamental freedom of conscience, requires immediate action. This is essential not only to rectify the excessive use of authority in the present case but also to establish a precedent that will guide and inform the conduct of other professional regulatory bodies.

Relief Sought:

It is expected that the Court will be asked to determine whether:

  1. The REA’s CPD rules are invalid insofar as they purport to extend the REA’s powers under the Act;
  2. In requiring licensees to undertake Te Kākano as a compulsory condition of their licences, the REA has acted unlawfully, irrationally, unreasonably and/or inconsistently with the rights to freedom of expression and conscience guaranteed under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990;
  3. The REA’s commissioning of a single supplier to provide compulsory CPD training to all licensees is in breach of Part 2 of the Commerce Act 1986;
  4. The Registrar’s refusal to exempt Janet Dickson from undertaking the Te Kākano course should be set aside.

If the court finds in Janet’s favour, it has the power to make declarations that give effect to its findings and to set aside any decisions that have been improperly made.

Protection of Professional Licence:

When the application is filed, urgent interim orders will be sought to ensure Janet's licence is not cancelled due to her technical non-compliance with continuing education requirements.

Reasons for Support:
  • Curb the excessive use of powers by statutory professional bodies: Such organisations are not often held to account even though their regulatory powers impact the lives and fortunes of many people.
  • Defending diversity of opinion: Upholding the right to hold and express diverse viewpoints in professional settings.
  • Opposition to cultural conformity: Challenging mandatory cultural education that infringes on personal beliefs and principles.
  • Advocating for legislative change: Highlighting the need for laws that prevent political or ideological impositions in professional fields.
  • Safeguarding against coerced cultural respect: Professional discipline should not extend to mandatory cultural alignment.
  • Preserving the purpose of legislation: Ensuring that professional standards in real estate and other fields remain focused on competence and honesty, not ideological adherence.
How You Can Help:

Your support can make a major difference in this landmark case. By contributing to our fundraising campaign, you will help cover the legal costs associated with pursuing this Judicial Review. Your donation will support not just Janet Dickson, but also the broader principles of professional autonomy, freedom of expression, and legislative integrity in New Zealand.

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Have you experienced something similar?

Get in touch if you have had cultural training imposed on you by your employer or professional organising body. This is more common than you would think.

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