13 September 2021
A message from Karen Farrell, Head of Property Rights Group, Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand.
Toitū Te Whenua LINZ would like to thank you for your support as we deliver services within the current COVID-19 Alert Level restrictions. We hope that your members and their families are keeping well and safe during this challenging time.
The impact of COVID-19 on our services has meant there are likely to be some delays in processing survey and title transactions. Our staff are working as quickly and as safely as possible within the Government’s guidelines and we ask for your patience and understanding.
The number of title transactions we continue to receive during Alert Level restrictions has reduced to around 400 lodgements or 44 per cent below the weekly average. The number of survey transactions we continue to receive during Alert Level restrictions remains just below average at around 220 lodgements or 10 percent below the weekly average. We have made a significant reduction in our service delivery for fast-track transactions reducing this from as high as 15 days in early August, down to a current average of nine days.
However, we are expecting fluctuations in our workload as Alert Levels change along with changes in where our staff are working from which may contribute to existing delays. We’ll continue to monitor and respond to the situation over forthcoming weeks.
Transaction waiting times prior to COVID-19 restrictions
Prior to the current COVID-19 Alert Level restrictions we were aware our customers were experiencing longer than expected waiting times to have survey and title transactions processed. We want to reassure you that we understand the effect delays can have on customers and their clients. The buoyant property market has prompted significantly higher transaction levels which means an increased demand for our services. In the three months to end of July 2021 we saw a 15 percent rise in the number of survey transactions and a 9.4 percent increase for titles.
In response, our staff were working extra hours to help process more transactions. We have employed 14 new people into title registration and survey approvals and two more centre support officers to help with manual copy work. These new staff are due to start with us shortly. We are focused on our ongoing recruitment levels to ensure that over time we have enough staff to cope with the peaks in transaction volumes. We are also building the capability of our staff with ongoing training.
We have been working to digitise nearly 700,000 digitised survey field books which are now available on our Toitū Te Whenua LINZ Recollect website. This gives surveyors immediate access to the books and makes the process cheaper, faster, and more accurate for our customers. The site covers records up to 1971 for the North Island, and up to 1952 for Canterbury Land District. More books for the South Island will be added over time.
We will continue to provide you with regular updates and hope that you will share them with your members. We will also share our news and updates through our Landwrap monthly newsletter and the website.
Ngā mihi nui
Karen Farrell, Head of Property Rights
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 027 566 5251