Deciding where the roads and infrastructure go
New growth areas the scale of Peacocke require land for road corridors and to carry the strategic infrastructure needed to enable growth, such as water and wastewater pipes.
A structure plan for the area was developed in 2007 which outlined the way in which Peacocke would be developed and indicated where the connecting roads would go.
A designation process to acquire land needed for this infrastructure started in 2011 with the Southern Links project, a joint planning process by the Council and NZ Transport Agency.
A full public consultation process included all landowners and gave everyone the chance to participate. There was only one appeal objecting to the decision. This was resolved by agreement and the designations were confirmed in 2014.
Support from Government through the Housing Infrastructure Fund in 2016 meant the Council could progress the work and commenced the process to acquire the designated land through the Public Works Act 1981 (PWA). While the Council has been working through the legislative steps under the PWA, it has continued to negotiate with landowners, concluding agreements with some and continuing negotiations with others.
As part of this process, landowners are encouraged to obtain their own legal and valuation advice and the Council has paid for their legal and valuation costs for this work.
The Public Works Act process
- The land acquisition for essential infrastructure in the Peacocke area is undertaken under the Public Works Act 1981, (PWA).
- The PWA ensures the process is consistent and fair for all parties.
- The Council has engaged The Property Group, a highly experienced LINZ-accredited supplier, for this process.
- The Property Group has been working directly with landowners to ensure all parties have access to the right information and support and the Council has paid for landowners to seek independent valuation and legal advice.
- While we work through the prescribed process, we remain committed to negotiated solutions.
Compensation and betterment
- The Public Works Act ensures the land acquisition process is fair to all parties involved – landowners, the Council and ratepayers.
- Part of the PWA addresses the issue of 'betterment' – where works paid for by the public result in a financial benefit to individual landowners. This financial benefit is considered when assessing compensation.
- In Peacocke, the public works have resulted in very significant value improvements for some property owners. This benefit has been assessed by independent valuers, and the Council has paid for these landowners to get their own valuations as well. In some cases, the valuation shows some property owners in the designation process have had an increase in their property value of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- The Council does not set the amount of compensation. Compensation is based on Registered Valuations by expert valuers including one for the landowner and there are legal processes available to sort out differences.
Betterment is considered because it ensures any compensation assessed is not only fair to landowners, but fair to the public who are paying for the public works. If ratepayer-funded work results in a significant financial benefit to an individual landowner, betterment ensures this value is taken into account before any further ratepayer-funded payments are made.