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Public Works Act acquisitions made fairer

Hon Maurice Williamson

Minister for Land Information

13 August 2013       Media Statement

Public Works Act acquisitions made fairer

Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson today announced the Public Works Act 1981 will be amended to make land acquisition and compensation fairer and more efficient.

Among changes is an increase to the solatium payment, which compensates landowners for the disruption and inconvenience when their home is acquired for a public work, and vacant possession of the property is given.

“The current figure of $2,000 was set in 1975 and is now too low to fairly compensate landowners.  The solatium payment will increase up to a maximum of $50,000,” Mr Williamson says.

A new solatium payment for land loss, in which the land acquired for a public work does not contain the landowner’s home, will be introduced.

“While there’s currently no solatium under the Act for such situations, these landowners are still subject to disruption and other forms of inconvenience when their land is acquired for a public work.

“This payment will be fixed at 10 per cent of the value of the land acquired – from a minimum $250 to a maximum $25,000,” Mr Williamson says.

The Land Information Minister may also delegate powers to allow the chief executive of Land Information New Zealand to issue the notice of desire to acquire land, which will reduce the acquisition process by about two weeks.

“These changes, which will be progressed alongside changes to the Resource Management Act, demonstrate the Government’s commitment to a fair land acquisition and compensation system for public works.  It will reduce time and cost for land owners and acquiring authorities,” Mr Williamson says.

ENDS

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