How the Public Works Act 1981 operates, your entitlements under this legislation, and our role in administering the Act.

Many public works can’t be built without affecting private landowners. The Public Works Act 1981 gives the Crown power to acquire land from private landowners for public works. Public works may include works such as roads, schools, police stations and railways.

The Minister for Land Information and Toitū Te Whenua are responsible for administering the Public Works Act. Many functions have been delegated to us.


The Public Works Act sets out a process that must be followed to make sure the rights of private landowners are protected, and the Crown can ensure public works go ahead.

Our downloadable guide below provides information about Public Works Act processes and the impact on landowners.

Protecting the rights of private landowners

We appreciate that being involved in the acquisition of land for public works can be challenging and stressful for landowners.

If your land is being acquired under the Public Works Act, we recommend you consult a lawyer who will be able to advise you on the process.

Under the Public Works Act you are entitled to have your reasonable legal and valuation costs paid by the Crown.

Land Acquisition Resolution Service

Landowners whose properties are needed for the New Zealand Upgrade Programme can access the Land Acquisition Resolution Service (LARS) - a free and independent mediation service to help landowners and the Crown reach agreements together.

Guide for Landowners

For more information, please download our Guide for Landowners or contact us.

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