New Zealand Law Society - Concerns about Landonline supportability, says PIF report

Concerns about Landonline supportability, says PIF report

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The State Services Commission's Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) Review for Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) says while Landonline is still regarded as a world leading system, it has been in place for 15 years and there are concerns about supportability and the need for enhancements to improve usefulness.

It notes that Landonline is not enabled for mobile computing interfaces, meaning the workload of users is considerably increased and the information filed, especially for high rise developments/apartments or other elevated properties is incomplete.

"In recent years considerable thinking and work has gone into exploring the upgrade or replacement for Landonline, called the Advanced Survey and Titles System (ASaTS). This is a major undertaking and has faced difficulties," the report says.

"Progress has been made recently and new governance has been put in place for the project. A full range of options must be considered and the project will continue to be a major call on resourcing and specialised skills for an agency of LINZ’s limited size and experience of large projects."

The LINZ annual report for the year to 30 June 2017 said ASaTS was expected to be in service in 2021. The report said LINZ had taken an "as a service" approach to developing ASaTS. This meant that LINZ would select a vendor that could deliver a suitable system that it would then pay to access. It said it was working through procurement processes to find a vendor to deliver to this model.

Landonline future-proofing requirement

The August 2018 PIF report appears to indicate that funding for all the needed changes might still be an issue. In looking at the performance challenge of informing the planning and use of a 3D world, the report highlights the requirement to future-proof the Landonline platform, "and ensure that the absolute confidence New Zealanders enjoy regarding their property titles is ensured through the delivery of the Landonline upgrade project."

"This will be a critical building block in compiling New Zealand’s authoritative land information platform and one which underpins overwhelming value nationally, locally and individually," it says.

"Previous attempts by LINZ to seek funding to develop such platforms and to update current technology have either stalled or are being reconsidered. However, the case for investment is becoming increasingly compelling as agencies from across government and the private sector struggle to access the validated information they require to manage risk, make smart investment choices, responsibly manage and plan for the Crown’s current and future asset requirements and reduce inefficiency."

Serious traction needed

The report also indicates a degree of urgency in the need to modernise Landonline. It says it now needs to be modernised "with a major upgrade or new system needing serious traction (and quickly)".

"It is worth keeping in mind that any replacement system to Landonline will not simply be information technology, but also a critical component of the operating model. It is easy to overlook that while LINZ’s customers have moved forward, LINZ’s staff also want to move forward and the current system is holding them back."

Title register gap

The report points to areas where improvements in the information included in the land registration system are still needed. It says a long-standing gap has been a title register for Crown land and Māori owned land.

"LINZ has started work on a register for Crown land. It will be an important tool to assist decisions on the best use of Crown land (see next section) and to assist Government objectives such as freeing land for housing. There has been thinking about a register for Māori owned land in conjunction with others and LINZ needs to advance this, although it will need to compete for resources with other projects. Like so much of LINZ’s work, this cannot be undertaken in isolation, it will need to partner with a number of other participants and relationship skills will be vital."

The PIF framework is designed for agencies in New Zealand's State sector. Reviews are carried out by independent reviewers, who focus on the contribution New Zealand needs for an agency and its performance challenges in making that contribution over the next four years.

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