• John Luxton

Land Titles and Survey Automation for 2001
New Zealanders are to benefit from a major automation project for land titles and survey processing which will speed up titles and survey transactions, Minister of Lands, the Hon John Luxton announced today. In the biggest change since the 1870's land titles and survey systems will be fully automated progressively by 2001.

"For New Zealanders, buying and owning a home is important. Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) is responsible for the paper records and survey marks which provide core title and survey information and define New Zealand's land property rights. Each year LINZ processes about 900,000 land transactions and approves 18,000 survey plans covering 38,000 land parcels. 1.5 million searches of paper records are done by the public annually and 30 million records are held in custody.

" Currently people buying and selling houses or creating subdivisions deal with the LINZ manual system where transactions can take between 5 days to transfer a title and 20 days to approve a subdivision. This costs money and causes hassles.

"This system has been in operation since last century. New Zealanders deserve an efficient, modern, user-friendly system to take us into the next century. This automation project will do this.

``By 2001, LINZ's goal is a secure national system available by computer from anywhere in the country with a turnaround time of 24 hours for 90 percent of title and survey transactions.

``After 2001, as lawyers and surveyors, who handle most of the conveyancing and survey work, move to the new system there will be major efficiencies. These professionals will be able to access LINZ held information and submit new digital transactions from anywhere in New Zealand.

"The efficiency gains should result in lower charges and quicker service to young people buying their first home, families and other consumers. For land developers the eventual faster turnaround in approving plans for new subdivisions should reduce the time any bridging finance may be needed.

"The department's paper record storage needs are currently increasing by 1.5km a year. The move to an automated system will involve converting approximately 7 million current paper records to electronic format," Mr Luxton said.

LINZ is currently designing the new computer system and will shortly be calling for tenders to build and implement the new automated environment. The programme will be funded by an automation levy on titles and survey transactions and in part from the fees already collected. The temporary increases have been discussed and accepted by the New Zealand Law Society and the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors.

`` Although there is an initial cost to the user, long term the fees will reflect the efficiency of automated processes and there will be significant improvements to the speed of service. New Zealanders will have a user-friendly, up to date system to take us into the new century,'' Mr Luxton concluded.