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News & Insights

Disagreeing Minister Leads to a Decline of OceanaGold OIO Application

OceanaGold (New Zealand) Ltd (OceanaGold) has recently had declined an application under the Overseas Investment Act 2005 (OIA) to acquire 178 hectares of rural land for the purposes of use as storage of mine tailings (the Application).  The establishment of the additional mine tailings capacity was to extend the life of the Waihi mine from 2028 until 2036 by allowing OceanaGold to proceed with its new mining project “Project Quattro”. The decline came as a surprise to the applicant and the industry and does raise some question marks...

News & Insights

Disagreeing Minister Leads to a Decline of OceanaGold OIO Application

OceanaGold (New Zealand) Ltd (OceanaGold) has recently had declined an application under the Overseas Investment Act 2005 (OIA) to acquire 178 hectares of rural land for the purposes of use as storage of mine tailings (the Application).  The establishment of the additional mine tailings capacity was to extend the life of the Waihi mine from 2028 until 2036 by allowing OceanaGold to proceed with its new mining project “Project Quattro”. The decline came as a surprise to the applicant and the industry and does raise some question marks.


As the application was in respect of the purchase of land, section 24(1)(a) of the OIA required a decision to be made by the two Ministers.  Minister Clark granted the Application but Minister Sage declined it, meaning that of necessity the Application was declined.  The Overseas Investment Office itself had recommended the Application be granted.
 
Under section 16A of the OIA, the Ministers must consider whether the Application meets the Benefit to New Zealand test.  As the Application involved rural land, it was subject to the higher standard of a ‘substantial and identifiable’ benefit having to be shown, as against other counterfactual uses.
 
When making their respective decisions, both Ministers considered a number of factors identified to be of high relative importance, including jobs; new technology or business skills; increased exports receipts; increased processing of primary products; and the oversight and participation of New Zealanders’.  Minister Sage, in declining the Application, determined that converting the land into a waste-storage area for the by-product of a non-renewable extractive industry reduces any economic benefit from the Application.  This determination led the Minister to conclude that the overall short term financial benefits are inconsistent with sustainable economic interests.
 
The assessment of a net negative benefit to New Zealand is novel in the sense that here, the Minister has effectively deducted points for a use of the land that is contrary to government policy.
 
Two different decisions by Ministers of the same coalition government will always raise questions of impartiality in decision making, but in this instance in particular questions have been raised by the mining industry body Straterra and the Hauraki District Council about the Minister’s history of activism against mining and have questioned whether she should have recused herself and delegated the decision making power, an option available under section 32 of the OIA.  She has previously done so, on other grounds.
 
As with any decision made by a Minister, OceanaGold has the option of judicial review of the decision. Predetermination of an outcome of a decision, or bias, can be grounds for a decision to be judicially reviewed as can an incorrect application of the Benefit to New Zealand test under the OIA. These are both avenues OceanaGold may look to take as it assesses the impacts this decision will have on its future expansion plans.


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Local government: "more than just roads, rates and rubbish"

The Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Act 2019 (Amendment Act) came into force on Tuesday 14 May 2019.  It amends the Local Government Act 2002 (LGA ’02)...

Local government:

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Local government:

Local government: "more than just roads, rates and rubbish"

The Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Act 2019 (Amendment Act) came into force on Tuesday 14 May 2019.  It amends the Local Government Act 2002 (LGA ’02).


The Amendment Act (accessible here) makes three primary changes to the LGA ’02:
 

  • The Amendment Act reinstates the four aspects of well-being of the current and future community – social, economic, environmental and cultural – that were previously removed from the LGA.  These components of well-being are filtered throughout the LGA ’02; including in the purpose section, definitions, and long-term plan and annual report provisions.  A previously introduced section – section 11A: core services to be considered in performing role – has also been repealed.
  • The definition of “community infrastructure” – which dictates what can be included in a council’s development contributions policy and therefore what it can charge development contributions in respect of – has been amended so that public amenities such as swimming pools and libraries can once again be funded through development contributions. The restrictions on the power to require contributions for reserves set out in section 198A of the LGA ’02 have also been repealed.  Interestingly, the Amendment Act has also introduced the ability for councils to charge development contributions for the additional types of community infrastructure where the work for that infrastructure was completed prior to the amendment coming into force.  However, councils can only recover the remaining cost of the works, after first deducting what they would have recovered in development contributions if they had been able to charge them in respect of development that have already proceeded, and then deducting the proportion of the works that they would have funded from other sources in any event. 
  • Additional provisions have been added to enable councils and council-controlled organisations to access funding from the New Zealand Transport Agency, through the National Land Transport Fund, without it counting as a liability.
 
We see the key impacts of these changes as follows:
 
  • By removing the requirement to consider core services, and enabling councils to look to the well-being of both the current and future community, councils and communities are empowered to determine for themselves what services they should be providing and the priority that should be given to each of them in order to address the needs of their communities now and into the future.  The ability for councils to again be guided by the four aspects of well-being will filter through into their decision-making, including at the long-term plan and annual plan level – likely affecting the prioritisation of projects and allocation of funding.
  • With the broadening of the definition of “community infrastructure”, more assets will be able to be funded through development contributions.  As a result, development contributions assessed under policies made following the introduction of the Amendment Act will likely be greater than what they would have been, had they been assessed under the previous development contributions policy – i.e. development contributions are likely to increase.  Conversely, the ability to charge development contributions for these works and programmes may reduce the necessity to raise rates in order to pay for these assets.
  • The addition of provisions enabling councils and council-controlled organisations to access funding from the New Zealand Transport Agency removes the potential barrier for councils when building infrastructure in new development areas.  With the amendments, councils can borrow to deliver the infrastructure now, while still being able to charge development contributions to pay for that debt and infrastructure.
 
Ultimately, the Amendment Act represents a shift in the relationship between local and central government.  Whereas the previous government sought to centralise functions and decision-making, the current direction appears to be the facilitation of a grass-roots, community-initiated approach.  We may see other legislative changes introduced in the future, continuing the implementation of this strategy.


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National Planning Standards

On 5 April 2019, the Minister for the Environment released the long awaited National Planning Standards as part of his keynote speech at the NZPI Conference.  The standards were gazetted on 5 April 2019 and take effect on Friday 5 May 2019...

News & Insights

National Planning Standards

On 5 April 2019, the Minister for the Environment released the long awaited National Planning Standards as part of his keynote speech at the NZPI Conference.  The standards were gazetted on 5 April 2019 and take effect on Friday 5 May 2019.


In our previous article we provided an overview of the draft National Planning Standards where we accepted that the principle of standardisation had merit but raised concerns about the practicalities of implementing a one sized fits all approach.

That view was shared by many submitters during the consultation period with a total of 201 submissions made on the draft standards (57 submissions were made by local authorities and 70 by business/industry).  Of those submissions, two-thirds reportedly expressed support in principle or in part for the planning standards, however almost all submissions requested changes.

The resultant changes are significant and we think they will provide real assistance in implementation.  Some challenges will of course remain as is to be expected in a procedural shift of this nature but overall we are hopeful the advantages of standardisation will outweigh the teething pains.  Of course with implementation over an extended period, it will be some considerable time before a judgement on that matter can be made.

Read our full review here - https://app.box.com/s/8678u515gbxxt0vq5luby3rg1pa0lccp


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Significant %NBS downgrades loom for some buildings

A seismic event in NZ’s property market occurred in November last year. More like a slow slip quake than a sudden jolt, the November 2018 update to the guidelines for seismic assessment of existing buildings went largely unnoticed by many in the property industry. The effects, however, are now beginning to be felt, with the recent closure of Wellington Central Library and the assessment of its floors at just 20%NBS being one of the first publicly visible signs...

News & Insights

Significant %NBS downgrades loom for some buildings

A seismic event in NZ’s property market occurred in November last year. More like a slow slip quake than a sudden jolt, the November 2018 update to the guidelines for seismic assessment of existing buildings went largely unnoticed by many in the property industry. The effects, however, are now beginning to be felt, with the recent closure of Wellington Central Library and the assessment of its floors at just 20%NBS being one of the first publicly visible signs.


To appreciate what has happened and where this will lead, it’s helpful to first understand the legal and engineering framework within which seismic assessments of buildings are made. The starting point here is the guidelines for The Seismic Assessment of Existing Buildings (Guidelines), which detail the technical basis on which engineers carry out seismic assessments of existing buildings. In basic terms, the Guidelines govern how seismic engineers review a building to arrive at a robust assessment of its “%NBS” – the all important percentage of the “new building standard” that an existing building achieves.

This process and the outcomes are hugely important because a %NBS rating (almost universally misunderstood by property advisors and lawyers alike) has become a proxy for seismic safety. As a result, %NBS underpins acquisition, development and leasing decisions and is a key consideration for many Crown agencies and corporates in their property strategies and health and safety assessments. The Guidelines also form part of the EPB (earthquake prone building) methodology produced by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, by which territorial authorities are required to identify earthquake-prone buildings.

When version 1 of the Guidelines was first released in July 2017 (superseding guidance from 2006), it was seen as a significant step forward. The Guidelines were an extensive revision by industry experts of earlier thinking and incorporated a wealth of research, knowledge and experience obtained from the significant New Zealand earthquakes between 2010 and 2016 – a period which included the Christchurch, Seddon and Kaikoura earthquakes. As such, and with one critical exception, the Guidelines represented the latest understandings on the seismic behaviour of existing buildings.

That one critical exception was Section C5 of the Guidelines, a section governing the detailed seismic assessments of concrete buildings. With the timing of the general release of the Guidelines in mid-2017, it simply wasn’t possible to include new guidance on a range of matters, including assessing precast concrete floor systems to take account of new knowledge from the Kaikoura earthquake, and to respond to recommendations made in the Statistics House investigation. However, this was remedied in November 2018 with the release of a new Section C5 (version 1A), and the slow slip quake in the market began.

The revisions to Section C5 are numerous, with changes addressing: material strength, “single crack” scenarios in concrete members, deformation limits due to buckling of walls and columns, limiting conditions leading to the loss of gravity support in columns, slab-column connections and walls, and strength degradation for lightly reinforced joints. None of that appears particularly reassuring to the untrained eye but, more significantly, there is also a complete revision of the guidance detailing the assessment of precast concrete floors – that is, precast concrete hollow-core, double-tee, rib and infill, and flat slab floor units, all of which have been relatively common methods of floor construction since the 1980s.

In relation to precast floors, the new Appendix C5E records in unemotive engineering prose that, in an earthquake, it is possible for “unseating” of precast floors to occur (that is, precast floors may fall off their supporting ledges within the building frame) and that precast floors can be particularly susceptible to damage that has the effect of “compromising gravity load support” (that is, precast floors may collapse). Appendix C5E goes on to state that “For buildings with older support detailing, the limiting drift at failure of the precast floors is likely to be less than the limiting drift for the frame and may govern the earthquake rating for the building as a whole.” Translated, this means that precast floors may fail before the building frame itself and, if that is the case for your building, then its %NBS will diminish to that earlier point of failure.

While the devil is very much in the engineering detail, the practical effect of the changes to Section C5 of the Guidelines is that the %NBS of many relatively new buildings with precast floors is likely to fall. There are many such buildings in New Zealand but, of the larger centres, Wellington, Napier, Hastings and Palmerston North are likely to be disproportionately affected due to their higher “Z-values”, being the seismic risk factors applicable to those regions.

How much lower the %NBS numbers will go is, of course, a key issue, as is whether buildings remain safe. These assessments in turn depend on a range of factors relating to a particular building, including the type of floor and the flexibility of the building frame. You will need an engineer to tell you but, for some buildings, the %NBS drop may be significant. While it hasn’t been highlighted in reporting to date, Aurecon New Zealand Limited’s assessment of Wellington Central Library, is “that the hollowcore precast floor system… achieves a score of 20%NBS” – this for a building that opened in 1991.

Of course, not all buildings will be affected like Wellington Central Library and, for some buildings, a small %NBS decrease may not be material.  However, for owners, tenants, funders and insurers of a 70%NBS structure, a 15-20% drop may well have major ramifications. Where a change in %NBS crosses a critical threshold for a party, their options will, as ever, be constrained by their existing contracts and the availability of alternatives.

Weaknesses in leasing documents will also be exposed. The standard ADLS deed of lease, for example, does not address seismic standards and a number of leases with negotiated seismic covenants require there to be an earthquake of a minimum magnitude before the tenant can even access rights related to the %NBS of the building. Neither position is advisable. However, even where a tenant has a contractual escape route, its options will be practically limited by the availability of alternative premises and business continuity requirements.

A further issue is how or whether affected parties will even know that the %NBS of the building has fallen. In the absence of an earthquake, few tenants will have cause to consider the accuracy of historical seismic reports. The statutory framework also provides little comfort; while territorial authorities are tasked with identifying potentially earthquake prone buildings, these are only buildings below 34%NBS and, even then, for at least an interim period of 18-24 months, those “EPB” assessments must continue to be made using the old Section C5 of the Guidelines. This means that for earthquake prone building purposes there may well be “false negatives” – i.e. %NBS ratings above those supported by the latest engineering knowledge. Beyond the earthquake prone building framework, there is generally no incentive or legal requirement for landlords to seek assessments that may indicate things have changed for the worse, or to disclose these if they are obtained.

Even less likely is that owners, outside local or central government, will close their buildings and, other than in the most extreme cases, there is no legal requirement for them to do so. In the case of Wellington Central Library, where engineers identified that “the potential loss of seating of the hollowcore units presents a significant hazard and potential risk to building occupants following a significant earthquake event”. Mayor Justin Lester observed that "We're not legally obliged to close this building, we are morally obliged”. Not all building owners will see it the same way.

Those concerned about their buildings should seek information from engineers and owners and take engineering and, potentially, legal advice. Next steps can then be informed by reference to assessed risk, existing contractual positions and organisational health and safety policies and obligations.

Doran Wyatt is a Partner with expertise in seismic matters, leasing and developments. He acts for a range of Crown agencies and institutional investors and is based in Greenwood Roche’s Wellington office.  The content in this article is not legal advice.  Our team would be happy to assist with any specific issues.


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Property Council Residential Development Summit

Lauren Semple, who leads our Resource Management Team presented at the Property Council Residential Development Summit in February 2019. ..

News & Insights

Property Council Residential Development Summit

Lauren Semple, who leads our Resource Management Team presented at the Property Council Residential Development Summit in February 2019. 


Some philosophical issues to sort out with an Urban Development Authority model based on our experiences in Christchurch.  If coming to the end of the use of such powers in Christchurch is seen as a “return to local leadership” does it follow that the use of such powers in the first place is an affront to local democracy?  And how does that fit with the intention to deliver national UDA legislation.  Good conversation starter.  Want to know more, please do not hesitate to contact Lauren Semple or our Resource Management team.


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Subdivision Intensive Paper

Lauren Semple presented a paper as part of the NZCLE Workshop on Subdivisions.  This paper considers the wider context of subdivision and land development and reflects on some of the tools, requirements and alternative processes which can influence the way projects take shape.  ..

Subdivision Intensive Paper

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Subdivision Intensive Paper

Subdivision Intensive Paper

Lauren Semple presented a paper as part of the NZCLE Workshop on Subdivisions.  This paper considers the wider context of subdivision and land development and reflects on some of the tools, requirements and alternative processes which can influence the way projects take shape.  


It first looks at a number of the alternative legislative schemes set up in recent years to fast track development (including subdivision), and considers some of the lessons from these examples which may usefully inform future legislation including the much touted but not yet here urban development authority approach.  It touches on the role of, and tools available to, local authorities under the Local Government Act in relation to subdivisions, including the use of development contributions and development agreements to service growth and asks whether our preoccupation with new tools might prevent us from effectively utilising the tools we already have.   
Download the paper here - https://app.box.com/s/58174muot1x5y7b53t8imgxd4d5l5frd


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Draft Otakaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Plan released for public consultation

For the past two years, we have been advising Regenerate Christchurch on the development of the Otakaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Plan.  ..

Draft Otakaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Plan released for public consultation

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Draft Otakaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Plan released for public consultation

Draft Otakaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Plan released for public consultation

For the past two years, we have been advising Regenerate Christchurch on the development of the Otakaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Plan. 


The Draft Plan was released for consultation on 14 November 2018 with submissions due by 5pm on 19 December 2018.  You can find a copy of the draft plan here - http://engage.regeneratechristchurch.nz/accessible-draft-oarc-regeneration-plan-homepage
 


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Greenwood Roche – Wellington Supreme Award 2018

We are pleased to continue to support the Property Council New Zealand Wellington Property People Awards which recognise and celebrate excellence in property in Wellington...

Greenwood Roche – Wellington Supreme Award 2018

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Greenwood Roche – Wellington Supreme Award 2018

Greenwood Roche – Wellington Supreme Award 2018

We are pleased to continue to support the Property Council New Zealand Wellington Property People Awards which recognise and celebrate excellence in property in Wellington.


Wellington Partner, Doran Wyatt had the honour of presenting the Greenwood Roche Supreme Award as part of the event on 11 October 2018.

Congratulations to McKee Fehl Constructors Ltd, this year’s winner of the Greenwood Roche Supreme Award, for the Press Hall 80 Willis Street / 22 Boulcott Street project.
 
What stood out for the judges was the ability of McKee Fehl to repurpose and modernise the Press Hall site.  The end result is an iconic development that adds vibrancy to Wellington but also respects the heritage of the original building.
 
The testimonials for this project summed it up:

  • “The concept of unlocking Press Hall, which was essentially buried in between Boulcott Street and Willis Street, was a clever idea.”
  • “The newly formed urban laneway leading to the food hall is activated by vibrant and diverse kiosks and a bar above, the veranda can now be occupied by people adding to the urban fabric of the street.”
  • “Never before have such old, run down, dark and dingy buildings been so substantially structurally modified, seismically upgraded and refurbished to create such an open, vibrant and modern workplace.”
In the judges’ words, “This feels like an iconic development with wide benefit for Wellington”.
 
Congratulations to Maurice Clark and the McKee Fehl team.


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New National Housing and Urban Development Authority

The Government has confirmed the introduction of a national Housing and Urban Development Authority (HUDA) equipped with the tools to by-pass standard legislative processes and streamline urban development projects.  The announcement follows numerous recommendations in various reports over the past decade and the release of the Urban Development Authorities: Discussion Document last year...

News & Insights

New National Housing and Urban Development Authority

The Government has confirmed the introduction of a national Housing and Urban Development Authority (HUDA) equipped with the tools to by-pass standard legislative processes and streamline urban development projects.  The announcement follows numerous recommendations in various reports over the past decade and the release of the Urban Development Authorities: Discussion Document last year.


Eligible urban development projects will include the provision of new public, affordable and Kiwibuild housing, as well as transport links, commercial and industrial developments, infrastructure and supporting community facilities (schools, pools, open spaces and libraries). The HUDA will also absorb the function of Housing New Zealand as the landlord for public housing in New Zealand. 
 
Read more here: https://app.box.com/s/2kjey5enswm7x08itfis3knzokz67t8o


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Key changes introduced by the Land Transfer Act 2017

The Land Transfer Act 2017 (Act) came into force on Monday, 12 November 2018. It repealed the Land Transfer Act 1952 (Old Act), and is intended to modernise, simplify and consolidate the Old Act and its amendments. The Act also made amendments to the Property Law Act 2007 (PLA), including the introduction of covenants in gross, with effect from 12 November 2018. ..

Key changes introduced by the Land Transfer Act 2017

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Key changes introduced by the Land Transfer Act 2017

Key changes introduced by the Land Transfer Act 2017

The Land Transfer Act 2017 (Act) came into force on Monday, 12 November 2018. It repealed the Land Transfer Act 1952 (Old Act), and is intended to modernise, simplify and consolidate the Old Act and its amendments.

The Act also made amendments to the Property Law Act 2007 (PLA), including the introduction of covenants in gross, with effect from 12 November 2018.


In the main, the Act is not intended to change our land transfer laws substantially. However, some controversy exists regarding the right of an owner to reclaim title under the manifest injustice provisions, arguably eroding the principle of indefeasibility of title. Also, not all changes promoted during consultation have been adopted, such as placing more onus on mortgagees to verify the identify of their clients, separately defining encumbrances from mortgages, and permitting senior legal executives to certify and sign instruments in Landonline.
 
Some key changes are set out below.
 
New terminology
The Act includes new terminology aimed at modernising the language used. For example, a “certificate of title” and the clumsy “computer freehold/leasehold/interest register” has become the crisper “record of title”, and “registered proprietor” has become “registered owner”. There is also a concept of “replacement lease”, which is a renewed lease or a new lease in substitution for a prior lease between the same parties and relating to the same land.
 
Withholding information for a person’s safety
The Registrar-General of Land is able to refuse to provide a copy of an instrument or a record of title that identifies a person, or to include those details on the register in the first place, if the Register is satisfied that the information discloses or is likely to disclose the person’s location and prejudice their safety.
 
Caveats
There is now an express right for an owner of an estate or interest in land to lodge a caveat against their own title where there is a real risk of fraud.
 
Guaranteed title searches
Guaranteed searches back up the security of the land transfer system, by providing a right to compensation if a purchaser of an interest in a land transaction suffers loss due to the registration of a competing interest. Under the Old Act, the purchaser had to obtain a “guaranteed search” within 14 days before settling the transaction, and had to lodge the transaction documents within 2 months after settlement.
 
The Act updates these periods to reflect the electronic nature of land transactions by:

  • requiring that a guaranteed search of the title be obtained within 5 working days before (and including) the settlement date; and
  • reducing the period after settlement during which the transaction documents must be lodged at Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) to 20 working days.  
As with the Old Act, no compensation will be payable if the title search disclosed the competing interest.
 
Compensation
Compensation is payable by the Crown when loss occurs in certain circumstances (including, but not exclusively, under the “guaranteed search” situation). Under the Old Act, the calculation for compensation is based on the land value at the time the loss occurred. The Act shifts the date on which compensation is to be assessed to when the claimant “gained (or ought reasonably to have gained) knowledge of the loss”.
 
The Act confirms that the value of the lost estate or interest in land is the “market value”.
 
The High Court may adjust compensation where the amount determined by the prescribed calculation is inadequate or excessive, and may determine at which date the market value should be assessed which may include a revised assessment as at the day of the court judgment.
 
Cancellation of land transactions in cases of “manifest injustice”
The High Court will have limited discretion to order the alteration of titles to avoid “manifest injustice”, but only where compensation or other damages would not properly address the injustice. The High Court may cancel registration of a land transaction and restore title to a person who has been deprived of an estate or interest, or suffered loss, due to that registration. The Court must take into account how the land was acquired, the length of time the parties have owned or occupied the land, the nature of any improvements made, the special characteristics of the land and its significance, and any other relevant circumstances. However, the Court cannot make an order if the estate or interest has subsequently been transferred to a third person acting in good faith.
 
Fraud
Fraud is one of the main exceptions to the indefeasibility of an owner’s title to land. “Fraud”, as an exception to indefeasibility, is now defined as forgery or other dishonest conduct of an owner or agent of an owner in acquiring an estate or interest in land. It is worth noting that, for the purposes of a Court order cancelling a land transaction in the case of “manifest injustice”, the existence of forgery or other dishonest conduct will not itself constitute the required level of injustice.
 
Introduction of covenants in gross and what it means for encumbrances
Until commencement of the Act, it was not possible to register an instrument that contained covenants or promises given by a landowner “in gross” – i.e. in favour of another person, rather than benefiting another parcel of land. Traditionally, these covenants have been included in encumbrances, which are a form of mortgage used for securing a long term obligation to pay a rental (known as a “rent charge”). To reduce the widespread use of encumbrances, the PLA has been amended to allow covenants in gross to be noted on records of title. This has been long awaited and should provide a registration option which is more palatable especially to banks. It also allows affected owners to seek modification or cancellation of existing encumbrances and replace them with covenants in gross.
 
While encumbrances are commonly used as a mechanism to register covenants, they are also properly (but uncommonly) used to register rent charges, and encumbrances are still referred to in the parts of the Act governing mortgages. Encumbrances therefore remain a viable instrument. There are some benefits in using encumbrances over covenants, including exclusion of the covenant modification provisions in the PLA, but, where the real purpose is to require a landowner to do or refrain from doing something for the benefit of another person, a covenant in gross will generally be the appropriate instrument.
 
Registrar’s power to correct titles
The Act clarifies the circumstances in which the Registrar is able to correct titles. The Registrar’s power of correction is now limited to correcting an error made by the Registrar, correcting an error made by a person preparing a document or information for registration, recording a boundary change due to accretion or erosion and giving effect to a court order.
 
Overriding statutes
The Act repeals the Statutory Land Charges Registration Act 1928, with the Act dealing with the registration, priorities and release of relevant charges.
 
Regulations
The Land Transfer Regulations 2002 have also been revoked, with the Land Transfer Regulations 2018 (Regulations) replacing them.
 
One of the key changes made in the Regulations is to update the terms implied into certain classes of easements. These changes include:
  • altering the description of the affected land from “servient tenement” to “burdened land” and from “dominant tenement” to “benefited land”;
  • referring to the part of the burdened land subject to the easement as the “easement area”, in line with commonly-used wording;
  • updating and aligning the equipment that can be installed under the various types of easement;
  • removing unnecessary wording, such as replacing the class of easement previously called “telecommunications and computer media” with simply “telecommunications”;
  • requiring the owner of the burdened land to act reasonably when the grantee seeks to install easement facilities; and
  • adding an implied electricity conveyance right in order to operate equipment installed under the easement powers (eg. a water pump).  
The Regulations also update the core information required to be used in land transaction forms. LINZ has provided template forms, although these remain inconsistent with each other and do not always contain the required core information.
 
New requirements for authority and identity
In conjunction with the Act and the Regulations, LINZ has issued new guidelines for authority and identity and the New Zealand Law Society has issued new authority and instruction forms. The guidelines and forms include greater detail about how clients instruct lawyers and conveyancing practitioners to electronically certify and sign land transfer instruments and how those instructions are required to be confirmed to be valid. In conjunction with the extension of Anti-Money Laundering requirements to lawyers, lawyers now play a key role in confirming that land transactions are free of fraud and other illegal activity.

If you would like further information, please do not hesitate to contact any of our property lawyers. Contact details can be found here.


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