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Land Transfer & Cadastral Survey Legislation Bill

13 November 2001 Hon Sandra Lee Speech Notes
First Reading Speech For The Land Transfer And Cadastral Survey Legislation Bill

Mr Speaker, I move that the Land Transfer and Cadastral Survey Legislation Bill be read a first time.

This legislation will enable the second phase of the Landonline project, to integrate and automate New Zealand's land transfer and survey system, to be implemented. It also enables a number of related improvements to the system of processing land transactions. The fundamental principles of the land transfer system that has operated since the 1870s and enjoyed a high degree of confidence, will not however be altered.

The Landonline project will increase the efficiency and speed with which conveyancers and cadastral surveyors undertake land transactions. It also provides opportunities for greater automation and integration with related land management processes in the future. The system improves the security of the land titles register, thereby reducing the risk to the Crown while maintaining the certainty which the land transfer and survey systems provide to the economy.

The first phase of Landonline is currently being implemented. This involves converting about seven million of the most frequently accessed land titles and survey plans into digital data so that Land Information New Zealand can process transactions against this information, in an electronic environment. The first phase of Landonline creates a national database of title and survey information and enables licensed users to search the electronic database from remote locations via the internet.

The main benefits of the Landonline project come with its second phase, which enables routine land transfer documents and survey plans to be lodged electronically. The Land Transfer and Cadastral Survey Legislation Bill authorises the electronic lodgement of land transfer dealings and digital survey data.

Although work on the second phase of Landonline is already well underway, it cannot be implemented until this legislation is passed. The net present value to the economy of the overall Landonline project has been estimated at $58.4million, but without the second phase being implemented the net present value would be negative.

The bill provides for an electronic workspace (or workspaces) in which authorised users prepare documents and plans and pre-validate them against automated business rules. When completed, conveyancers will be able to submit routine land transfer dealings and provided they comply with automated checks, the register will be automatically updated. Following pre-validation, survey datasets can be submitted electronically to LINZ for validation and approval.

Access to the electronic workspace will be restricted to authorised users who will be authenticated through digital certificates. Authority to sign and submit data is restricted to conveyancers recognised under the legislation and licensed surveyors. The principles of the land transfer and survey systems are unchanged by the system or by this bill. The electronic land titles register is paramount and authoritative; title is guaranteed; and the Crown will continue to compensate those deprived by fraud or error. The major change is that under the new system, duplicate titles will no longer be issued.

The bill provides for the Registrar-General of Land and the Surveyor-General to set standards for the documents and data submitted electronically and to undertake checks and audits to ensure that standards have been met. For titles transactions, signing conveyancers must certify that they have authority to act and that the dealing complies with all relevant legislation. These certifications will also be audited by the Registrar-General and criminal sanctions are provided for fraudulent or reckless certification. The Chief Executive is made responsible for providing facilities to receive, process and store data. Access to the system can be removed in cases of misuse.

Conveyancers and surveyors will not be forced to lodge documents and data electronically. The manual lodgement of paper documents and plans will still be available. However the Bill enables electronic lodgement of some or all types of documents and data to be made compulsory at some future time by order in council.

The bill establishes a Cadastral Surveyors Licensing Board in lieu of the present arrangements for the occupational regulation of surveyors. The new system will provide better assurance that only competent individuals undertake cadastral surveys in the field and submit data into the national survey control system.

The new Board will be able to require ongoing competence as a condition for obtaining a license. A significant flaw in the present system of occupational regulations is that the current Survey Board cannot require cadastral surveyors to maintain their competency.

The costs of running the new system of occupational regulation will be transparent. It will be solely targeted at the competencies required to undertake cadastral surveying. Membership of the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors will no longer be a pre-requisite for obtaining a license. This will reduce compliance costs.

Conveyancers and surveyors are supportive of the concepts behind this legislation. The Law Society and the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors have been closely involved in both the design and the development of the Landonline system and in the development of this legislation. The Maori Land Court, local government, and banking and financial services have also been consulted to ensure that their interactions with the land transfer and survey systems are catered for in both the electronic environment and the provisions of this bill.

The Landonline system is e-government in action. The implementation of the second phase will result in a secure national land title and survey system available from remote locations, with much faster turnaround times for routine transactions and positive economic benefits to New Zealand. This bill provides the necessary rules that must accompany the system to ensure that New Zealanders' interests in land continue to be protected and maintained.

Mr Speaker, I intend to move that the Land Transfer and Cadastral Survey Legislation Bill be referred to the Primary Production Select Committee for report back by 1 March 2002.

I commend the Bill to the House.


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