General information on landowners' rights in relation to acquisition of land.

Acquisition of Severed Land

Sometimes taking part of a landowner's land for a public work results in another part of that land being severed from the retained land so that it becomes more costly to retain or less useful to the landowner. In these circumstances the landowner may require the Crown, on behalf of an acquiring authority, to purchase the severed land. The acquiring authority may then rationalise its landholdings by
selling this land to an adjoining landowner.

An acquiring authority may acquire other land and develop it for the purpose of granting that land as compensation to the person from whom land has been acquired for a public work.

Procedures where the Crown abandons a proposed acquisition

If, following negotiations, the Crown abandons its proposed acquisition of land that is made subject to a requirement or has been designated for a public work, the Public Works Act enables the landowner to claim reimbursement of actual and reasonable costs and expenses incurred as a result of the abandoned acquisition.

Removal costs for residential and business tenants

Any business or residential tenants required to vacate land so that vacant possession can be given, may claim reimbursement of actual and reasonable costs (eg removal expenses). In order to claim, tenants must give notice of their proposed move and associated costs.

Purchases ahead of actual requirement

If land has been designated for a public work in terms of the district plan, then under the Resource Management Act, you can request an acquiring authority to acquire your land (or to consider leasing your land) before it is physically needed.

However you must first establish that you are the owner of the land designated (or the owner's spouse) and that because the land is subject to a designation:

  • You cannot sell your land at the current market value the land would have had, if it was not subject to the designation; and
  • You cannot reasonably use your land.

Where the accredited supplier is satisfied that you meet these criteria, the accredited supplier will recommend purchase without requiring you to formally prove you cannot sell your land. Following negotiation, an agreement form (when signed by you) is sent to LINZ for approval.

An acquiring authority may also consider an advanced purchase of designated land on "hardship", "compassionate" or other appropriate grounds.

Where only part of your land is acquired in advance of the public work, an acquiring authority may offer to lease that part back to you until it is actually needed. The rental expected will be the market rental.

If you consider that you have a case for an advanced purchase, please contact the acquiring authority that requires your land. If the acquiring authority will not agree to purchase in advance, you may apply to the Environment Court for an order obliging the Minister to acquire your land under the Public Works Act.