Modernising New Zealand’s land transfer laws

The Government is updating New Zealand’s land transfer laws with a new piece of legislation called the Land Transfer Act, which passed is final reading in Parliament in July 2017.

What key changes will the Act introduce?

The Act implements recommendations from the Law Commission’s report ‘A New Land Transfer Act’. The report resulted from the review of the Land Transfer Act 1952 carried out by the Commission in conjunction with LINZ. The Act aims to simplify and modernise the law to make it more accessible and to improve certainty of property rights.

Specific reforms include:

  • giving the court limited discretion, in the event of fraud or other illegality, to restore a landowner's registered title in rare cases where it is warranted to avoid a manifestly unjust result.
  • clarifying the scope of the Registrar-General of Land's powers of correction.
  • providing new mechanisms for noting land covenants where the benefit attaches to a person rather than other land.

What’s next?                      

The new law requires new regulations, and new standards and directives, issued by the Registrar-General of Land, to support its implementation. For the most part the new regulations, standards and directives are expected to be similar to the current ones, but with some updating and in more modern language.

We’re talking to key stakeholders about some of the changes at the moment. This will help us develop our exposure draft regulations for public consultation later in the year. We aim to provide information about the standards and directives at that same time.

The changes will come into effect in late 2018.

Last Updated: 5 July 2017