What is LARS?
The Land Acquisition Resolution Service (LARS) is an initial two-year pilot mediation programme. Its purpose is to empower landowners to reach agreement with the Crown who are seeking to purchase their land for public works.
Why was LARS created?
Waka Kotahi and Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) know it is often stressful for landowners impacted by a transport project. They are jointly trialing an independent mediation service as part of their efforts to improve the property acquisition experience for landowners.
The Land Acquisition Resolution Service is aimed at trying to reach agreement earlier, meaning landowners are put under less stress, get paid more quickly and can move on with their lives sooner.
It is being trialed on the New Zealand Upgrade Programme (NZUP) because its projects require a large number of properties in different parts of New Zealand.
Waka Kotahi and LINZ have engaged Fair Way to independently provide this service.
What is NZUP?
The New Zealand Upgrade Programme (NZUP) investment is providing growing communities across the country with better travel choices that help people get where they’re going safely while supporting the economy. It is a major infrastructure programme that is dependent on purchasing private land from existing home and landowners to deliver transport improvements for the wider community.
About land acquisition
When the Government needs a piece of land for a transport project, Waka Kotahi and Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) have a process they must follow with landowners. LARS is an option available to landowners at any point during this process.
Waka Kotahi is responsible for managing and delivering individual projects within the NZUP programme.
LINZ, as the Crown’s land administrator, is responsible for acquiring property from private landowners for public works.
Fair Way is the independent operator of LARS. Fair Way supports landowners to participate in the process, empowers them to have meaningful conversations and helps the parties find a way forward together.
About creating the service
Founded on best practice
LARS was designed and is founded on the Government Centre for Dispute Resolution's best practice principles. These principles have been part of Fair Way’s delivery model for many years and are embedded into the LARS process:
Party focused and accessible
Landowners are at the centre of the LARS process. LARS is free, easy to access and simple to use.
Independent and fair
Fair Way is independent of the Crown and its LARS mediators are neutral. Disputes are managed and resolved in a fair way, in accordance with applicable law and natural justice.
LARS provides value to landowners and the Crown by making it quick and easy to resolve disputes. LARS will continuously improve and evolve based on feedback.
LARS delivers results. It supports the wider government system by helping to minimise conflict and by supporting more productive and harmonious communities.
The public can trust and have confidence in LARS. LARS is transparent and accountable for the quality of its service. Regular monitoring and public reporting encourage ongoing improvement and better outcomes across the system.
You can find out more about the GCDR’s principles here.
The panel of mediators have been carefully selected. Each mediator is fully accredited through the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ), the Resolution Institute or the New Zealand Law Society. They have experience with the Public Works Act 1981, and more importantly they are experienced mediators who can navigate the complexities of disputes in a safe way - so you can trust that they have the right skill and expertise to assist.