Published: Wed, Mar 13th, 2019 by Phil Shannon

Public Works In My Neighbourhood? What Are My Legal Rights?

Consider this: 

You and several generations of your family have lived and thrived on a beautiful rural property. Through good and bad times, the land has produced enough to sustain livelihoods and help your family grow and prosper. You love your land and the opportunities it creates.

Then, one day you see a notice in a local paper advising of a public meeting in your local community hall to hear about a motorway project that will bring greater prosperity to your community.

Some weeks later, you receive a call from NZ Transport Agency seeking a meeting at your property to talk further about the project and how it will impact on your precious and tranquil piece of the New Zealand dream.

To your shock, the NZTA representative hands you a plan showing the proposed motorway carving its four-lane imprint directly through your farmhouse and your newly constructed state of the art milking shed.

“Don’t worry!” the NZTA representative tries to reassure you. You are entitled to full compensation under the Public Works Act 1981 (PWA).

With your near perfect world disintegrating before you, you wonder what to do next.

At Turner Hopkins, we can assist you with legal advice and support to reduce the impact of this most stressful of circumstances. We have 30 years of experience fighting the legal battle to get landowners the maximum compensation they are entitled to under the law to enable them to move on with their lives with dignity and financial security intact.

The specific areas of legal advice we will cover off with you under the PWA include (but are not limited to):

  • Your rights if you are served with compulsory purchase notices and whether the notices are legally compliant
  • Your rights to object to the Environment Court if your land is not reasonably required for the public work
  • Arranging specialised valuation and relocation advice
  • Working with your valuer to ensure the valuation meets the requirements of s.62 PWA
  • Ensuring you get reimbursement of your legal and valuation fees under s.66 PWA
  • Ensuring you claim for business relocation and loss of profits under s.68 PWA
  • Advising you on obtaining the correct level/amount of additional compensation (up to $50,000) under s.72 PWA. 

Public Works projects affect both land and business owners. If you are affected by a land take, call us first. We can assemble a team of specialist advisors to work with our legal team, including, valuers, quantity surveyors, planners and engineering experts, to assist you in negotiating the best compensation and relocation outcomes.

The Turner Hopkins team has helped landowners affected by the City Rail Link, the Waterview Connection, various North Shore motorway projects, and the Canterbury Earthquake CBD rebuild project, to name but a few.

With many billions of dollars earmarked by Government (Central and Local) to be spent over the next 10 years, these projects will affect many more properties and businesses.

“So, you want to buy my farm” he said
Well, how do you value the light and shade?
What is your price for the dreams I’ve made?
And how would you buy on size or grade –
The children whose shouts you hear?
“you haven’t the money to buy” he said
“This bit of a farm” said he
You haven’t the money to buy the worth
Of the joy and prayer, of the death and birth,
The power that blessed this fruitful earth,
And the love that made it dear.”

From the poem “No Sale” by an old-time high-country shepherd known as “Jeff”.

If you, or any one you know, is under threat of a land take for a public project, call Phil Shannon at Turner Hopkins, anytime on (021) 485 557 for assistance and expert legal advice.

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Phone: (09) 486-9575

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