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Land Records to Go On-line

NEW ZEALAND --Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), has been extending its shelf space by about a kilometre a year to keep up with the growth of paper-based land records but relief is in store with the government's approval this week to go totally electronic.

LINZ chief executive, Dr Russ Ballard, says Cabinet's approval of phase two of Landonline is a significant step in a major project that is likely to have international benefits for New Zealand. Its a world first and already attracting interest from Australia, the Philippines and the United States, he says.

"For well over a 100 years New Zealands land dealings the transactions, the surveys, the plans have been paper-based. LINZs shelf space grows at over a kilometre a year just to keep up. Now, the digital age is here and I can see the day when LINZ could well become a virtual agency."

Routine land transfers by conveyancers and survey transactions by surveyors will be lodged and processed electronically from the end of next year following final approval from government this week.

Minister for Land Information Matt Robson says the approval of phase two of the Landonline project claiming its a milestone which will move New Zealands land dealings into the 21st century.

In 1997 the Government agreed to automate LINZ's land titles and survey business the first phase involved the creation of a database integrating core geodetic and cadastral survey plans and title records in electronic form. This allows solicitors, surveyors, search agents and other land professionals to make title and survey searches electronically without having to visit a LINZ office. The first stage has already been implemented in Otago and Southland.

LINZ holds more than 30 million land records and annually provides 1.5 million title searches, processes 900,000 land transactions and approves 18,000 survey plans. Many records also date back to early European settlement and are an important part of New Zealand's history.