Land Compensation Claims for Public Work Projects

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New Zealand is actively spending billions of dollars worth of taxpayer and ratepayer funds on the construction of a range of much needed Public Work Infrastructure Projects. Works include national highways, under ground railways, earthquake rebuilding and irrigation schemes. Integral to Central and Local Government agencies undertaking such developments is the acquisition of large areas of privately owned land, buildings, improvements and there is often associated business disruption, closure and relocation.

Turner Hopkins has expertise in all aspects of landowner compensation under the provisions of the Public Works Act 1981 and Canterbury earthquake recovery legislation. If your land, business or buildings are impacted by, or taken for a public infrastructure construction project, we can advise and assist you with negotiations to seek the maximum compensation available under current law.

Public projects particularly transport corridors, because of their length often impact on a range owners including, residential, commercial and rural landholdings and businesses. Often the first knowledge a landowner will have that their property may be taken is a letter from the requiring authority, Council or Government Agency. If you receive a letter you should contact us for some preliminary advice and assistance. You will be entitled to full compensation under section 60 Public Works Act and there are a range of compensation payments under part 5 of the Act which we can negotiate on your behalf.

We will assemble and manage a team of experts to support your compensation claim including valuers, surveyors and environmental consultants. We will always negotiate hard for your legal entitlements and if necessary will assist with claims to the Land Valuation Tribunal or before a mediator or arbitrator.

At all times we will also try and ensure (to the greatest extent possible under the law) that your reasonable legal, valuation and other consultant costs are reimbursed as part of any final compensation package. These fees should be refunded to you by the government agency that acquires your property under Section 66 of the Act.

When your property is placed under a designation for a land requirement or you receive a public works acquisition notice, we can guide you through the legal options, objection and appeal procedures and advise on financial recompense. This includes negotiations for business relocation and reinstatement.

We will strongly advocate on your behalf often with multiple government valuation, property, environmental, engineering, legal and planning consultants that are frequently engaged by the Crown to pursue these projects. Our number one aim in doing so is to ensure your property and compensation rights are acknowledged and protected by the government and maximum compensation entitlements are paid to you and or your business.

For expert assistance in these Land Compensation Claim matters contact our Public Works and Infrastructure Partner, Phil Shannon. Phil has represented landowners on many of New Zealand's largest land acquisition and compensation projects, including the Waikato Expressway, Kapiti Expressway, Wellington City Motorway upgrades, City Rail Link, Christchurch CBD Earthquake Rebuild and the Christchurch Southern Motorway projects. He is skilled at getting clients through what can be a difficult process with a positive outcome.

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  • What is a Public Work?

    A Public Work is typically a Government or Council funded infrastructure construction project such as a motorway, railway or sewerage treatment plant with a community benefit.  Often these projects need privately owned land for construction and peoples’ homes, commercial buildings and businesses are affected.

  • What is a Requiring Authority?

    The Government, Local and Regional Councils together with several corporate infrastructure providers such as public transport, telecommunication and energy companies, can have the status of requiring authorities.  This status enables these entities to take private land for public works projects.

  • What does Compulsory Acquisition mean?

    The acquisition of private land is usually done by negotiation and agreement with the landowner.  If agreement to the taking and the compensation payable cannot be reached, the Government or Council can take your land by compulsion and build the project without delay. Compensation payable may then be decided by the Land Valuation Tribunal.

  • Can the Government or Council take my home or business for public use?

    Yes, however, under Part 5 of the Public Works Act 1981, you are entitled to full compensation for the value of what you have lost.

  • How much compensation am I entitled to if my land and house are taken for a Public Work?

    You are entitled to full compensation under the Public Works Act 1981. This includes the following:

    • Current market value of the property taken
    • Reasonable valuation fees
    • Reasonable legal fees
    • Relocation costs
    • Business loss of profits
  • What happens if my business premises are taken for the construction of a Public Work?

    The Public Works Act provides several options which we can advise you on. These may include purchase of your business or relocation.

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