This system enables the Crown to acquire, sell and manage Crown-owned land (including Crown pastoral leases) in a way that balances both the public interest and private property rights. It is made up of two parts – the Crown Estate Management system and the Crown Pastoral Land system.

Crown Estate Management system

The Crown Estate Management system enables the Crown to acquire, manage and dispose of land, under the Public Works Act 1981 (PWA) and Land Act 1948. This also includes land held by Crown agencies under other legislation where LINZ has a statutory or functional role. For example, coastal reclaimed land under the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act, railways land, or the application of some Treaty settlement requirements. 

It aims to create value for New Zealand by enabling the Crown to:

  • acquire land, buildings and other property, including by compulsory acquisition, for public works and other public purposes subject to fair compensation or the purchase price being paid
  • manage land while it is held by the Crown, including the granting and administration of leases, easements or other rights
  • dispose of land to alternative owners in ways that meet all legislative (including Treaty) requirements, and protect the interests of former owners and iwi
  • manage the residual Crown interest in land that is not owned by anyone or for any specific public purpose.

The PWA provides measures that constrain the acquisition rights of the Crown and local authorities, particularly in relation to the necessity and scope of public works. Landowners are able to challenge compulsory acquisition through the Environment Court.

Learn more about how we manage Crown property and disposals

Who is involved in the Crown Estate Management system?

The Minister for Land Information is responsible for acquiring private land by the Crown, for a public work or changing the public work land is used for.

The Chief Executive of LINZ is responsible for disposing of such land when it is no longer required and ensuring any rights of first refusal in Treaty claim settlements are managed.

LINZ and other agencies contract accredited suppliers to engage with landowners as the first step in acquiring private land for a public work or disposing of that land.

The Commissioner of Crown Lands administers all Crown land under the Land Act. 

The diagram below shows the different roles and responsibilities of the Crown Estate Management System.

Crown Pastoral Land system

The Crown Pastoral Land system enables the Crown (as landowner) to rent Crown pastoral land to a lessee exclusively under a pastoral lease and other tenures, under the Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998 and the Land Act 1948.

It aims to enhance the economic and environmental benefits to New Zealand by managing Crown pastoral land effectively. This includes:

  • transferring pieces of Crown pastoral land of significant value into the Conservation Estate
  • moving the remaining productive leasehold land into private freehold tenure under a voluntary tenure review process
  • establishing the rights, responsibilities and restrictions over leasehold land.

Learn more about how Crown pastoral land is managed.

Who is involved in the Crown Pastoral Land system?

Lessees play a key role in the system as they are directly responsible for managing the Crown pastoral land leased to them.

The Commissioner of Crown Lands, a statutory officer, acts as landowner for Crown. They are responsible for a range of decisions relating to tenure review and discretionary consent applications from lessees and administration of the land.

We support the Commissioner with analysis to inform their decisions, and administrative support, such as processing lessee applications. We also work with a number of external providers to undertake work and provide advice.

The Department of Conservation provides advice to the Commissioner on what conservation values, if any, exist on leasehold land, and its significance.



Last Updated: 17 February 2022