20/06/2024·1 min to read

The need for speed: Government looking to fast-track private land acquisitions

The Public Works Act 1981 (PWA) gives the Crown and local authorities the power to acquire land from private landowners for public works, such as roads, schools and railways.

The PWA sets out the process that must be followed to ensure that the rights of private landowners are protected. However, the PWA can at times be a hindrance resulting in a protracted acquisition which is undesirable for all involved.
The Government has announced that it is reviewing the PWA in a bid to speed up its ability to acquire privately owned land. An infrastructure deficit, the critical need for schools, roads and energy projects and a shortage of housing has prompted the appointment of an independent panel to undertake an eight-week review of the Act.
The review will seek to improve process efficiency, overhaul outdated legislation and above all provide transparency for those affected by the PWA process. The Government says that any proposed changes will continue to be consistent with obligations under Treaty of Waitangi settlements.
Legislation giving effect to the proposed changes will be introduced to Parliament in mid-2025, at which time the public will have the opportunity to make submissions. Given our wide-ranging expertise and experience in the PWA area, we will be actively involved in this process. Please get in touch with one of our experts if you would like to talk to us about possible reform. 

Thanks to Sarah Heslin for assisting with this article.
Sources: Making it easier to build infrastructure | Beehive.govt.nz


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