NZIS Urges Parliament to Remove Clauses 44-46 from CHCH Regeneration Bill

Media Release

7 March 2016

The New Zealand Institute of Surveyors (NZIS), the leading advocacy body for professions involved in the determination of property boundaries, rejects the decision of the Local Government and Environment Committee to retain Clauses 44-46 in their report back on the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Bill and urges all parliamentary members to advocate for their deletion.

NZIS is NZ’s leading advocacy body for professions involved in all matters related to the determination of property boundaries and rights such as easements or covenants. Founded in 1888, NZIS is almost as old as our Torrens system - a system of land title registration established in 1860 to guarantee ownership of land by the Crown. Supporting the land title system has been a responsibility that NZIS members have accepted with determination for 127 years.

NZIS accepts that during the recovery phase immediately after the Canterbury earthquakes, there may have been the need for property boundaries to be quickly determined or changed to prevent unreasonable delays to critical recovery works, such as demolitions or the provision of temporary housing. However, in the regeneration phase, the same drivers for speed no longer exist. Powers were provided to the CE of CERA under the CER Act that enabled the CE to force through cadastral datasets as he/she determined fit and without the usual expert authorisation process required by legislation. These powers have now been carried through into Clauses 44-46 of the Regeneration Bill, even though they were not used at all during the recovery period. NZIS’s position is that these powers will not be needed now.

The greater risk for us now is that if those powers were used by anyone other than the Surveyor-General whose expertise helps underpin New Zealand’s land and survey system, then the integrity of our land ownership system may be put at risk.

The New Zealand land title system is the envy of many countries around the world. It helps underpin our status as one of the top 5 least corrupt nations in the world. The integrity of our land ownership system is fundamental to preserving our domestic and international trade and economic records and to protecting our status as a non-corrupt nation. To this end, Clauses 44-46 must be deleted in order to remove all chances of any ill-informed decisions being made in relation to NZ’s private or public land ownership and rights.