Dispensation / exemption

A guide on how to apply for a survey dispensation from the Rules for Cadastral Survey 2010.

The Cadastral Survey Act 2002 permits the Surveyor-General to grant a licensed cadastral surveyor an exemption from one or more of the requirements of the Rules for Cadastral Survey 2010 (Rules), or specify alternative requirements in situations where compliance is deemed impractical or unreasonable (Section 47(5)).

This exemption or specification of alternative requirements is commonly referred to as a survey dispensation.  The cadastral survey and cadastral survey dataset (CSD) is then completed by the surveyor in terms of the dispensation (if granted) and the other unaffected Rules.

Applications are treated on a case-by-case basis so although a previous decision may provide some guidance, it should not be taken as setting a precedent.  The granting of a dispensation is based on mitigating information provided by the surveyor prior to carrying out a cadastral survey.  LINZ will take into consideration the impact on the cadastre and where necessary, will consult with the tenure manager of the land (e.g., Registrar-General of Land or Māori Land Court).

LINZ will also have particular regard to the risks to the Crown and future landowners (amongst other things).  In this respect, the nature of any new land right is a fundamental consideration rather than the purpose of the survey.  For example, requests relating to legalisation surveys and surveys for Treaty Settlements will be considered in the same light as surveys for the subdivision of fee simple title.

How to make a request

  • Requests can be made either directly in Landonline (preferably) or by land mail.
  • A Landonline e-request is normally the most efficient option.  Such a request is made using the ‘Survey_Survey Dispensation’ option.  Details of the request can be captured directly into the Notes/Comments dialogue box or attached as a supporting document.  Note that the dialogue box has a limited space to capture text (less than half an A4 page).  It is therefore recommended that an attached supporting document outlining the request is used to avoid the risk of running out of space. 
  • Land mail must be used for large, complex requests with a lot of supporting documentation where the size of the data exceeds the Landonline upload limits.  These limits depend on the type of information but can be summarised as up to 20 scanned images (in TIFF, JPEG or PDF format), with each image not exceeding 10MB in size.  

Send these requests (headed ‘Dispensation Request’) to:

Office of the Surveyor-General
Attention Senior Cadastral Survey Advisor 
Land Information New Zealand
PO Box 5501
Wellington 6145

What to include

Ensure that the request sets out the circumstances of the survey, identifies the particular rule(s) in question and justifies the exemption being sought.

In addition a diagram of the full extent of the land under survey and the new parcels is an essential supporting document as it provides a spatial context to the request.  Such diagrams might be a draft survey plan, or scheme plan with satellite/aerial imagery.  Terrestrial photographs may sometimes be beneficial.  

Note that colour images must be uploaded to Landonline in JPEG format.  TIFF and PDF images are automatically converted to monochrome by Landonline (and also degraded in resolution). 

Dispensation patterns

While applications are treated on a case-by-case basis some patterns have emerged since the introduction of the Rules for Cadastral Survey 2010: 

  • Rule 3.4. The determination of the current position of a water boundary is sometimes mistakenly considered too onerous.  The current position of water boundaries in rural situations can usually be determined from suitable imagery – fieldwork is often not needed.
  • Rule 6.2.  There have been a number of cases in both urban and rural areas where boundaries have been permitted to be defined by adoption rather than defined by survey.  This can be where existing boundaries are associated with a recent survey with confirmation that current accuracy standards are maintained and an expectation that sufficient witness marks remain in place.     
  • Rule 6.3.  There have been a number of cases where an existing boundary has been permitted to be accepted rather than be defined by adoption.  This has mainly been around parcels that have been just under the 20 ha criteria set out in Rule 6.3(a)(i).
  • Rule 6.6.  In rural areas there have been a number of cases where an existing irregular boundary has been permitted to remain.  This has mainly been around parcels that have been just under the 20 ha threshold referred to in Rule 3.2.3(a)(i).
  • Rule 7.1.  Dispensation from boundary marking is commonly applied for when exemption is often already allowed for by the provisions of the rule.  Dispensation is not required in situations where the marking of a boundary point is deemed impracticable.  In such cases ensure the survey report documents reasons why it was not practicable to mark the boundary point, as required by Rule 8.2(a)(xiii).   
  • Rules 7.3 and 7.4.  Seldom have the witnessing or permanent reference mark requirements been fully exempted, however, there have been quite a number of cases where the distances of these marks to boundary points have been extended in remote rural areas.