What is LARS?
LARS is a mediation service that supports landowners and the Crown to reach agreement on property acquisition.
Who can use LARS?
You can use LARS if you’re a landowner who is impacted by projects that form part of the New Zealand Upgrade Programme and your land is being acquired under the Public Works Act 1981.
When can I use LARS?
At any point in the acquisition process, you can use LARS. Landowners can contact LARS directly to begin mediation. The Crown can also suggest LARS to landowners during or after negotiations.
Are there costs involved?
The mediation process is free for landowners whose property is needed for a project that is part of the New Zealand Upgrade Programme. The service is fully funded by Waka Kotahi.
Under section 66 of the Public Works Act 1981 you are entitled to have your reasonable legal and valuation costs paid by the Crown.
Who runs LARS?
LARS is operated by Fair Way who has a panel of independent and skilled mediators.
How does mediation work?
A mediator is like a guide. They help you to navigate the issue and they find a path for you to move forward. As an independent, neutral person, they can support the mediation parties to reach an agreement on their own terms – the mediator will not determine the outcome.
The mediation may take anywhere from a few hours to an entire day, with the mediator speaking with the parties together or separately. If you reach an agreement, the mediator will prepare a summary to sign. This agreement is made under section 17 of the Public Works Act 1981 and, as a public record, will not be confidential.
How quickly can I get an agreement?
A case conference is often be arranged within a few days of when you first get in touch. The mediation is then scheduled for a time that suits you and the Crown representatives. The mediation session itself is usually scheduled for a full-day, though it may not take the full time to reach an agreement.
Do I need a lawyer?
You do not need to have a lawyer represent you during mediation. However, you may wish to seek independent legal advice, and lawyers are welcome to participate in the process.
Note: Any additional parties involved in the mediation will be required to sign the agreement to mediate, detailing confidentiality restraints.
Can support people attend?
You can have representatives, lawyers, valuers and support people attend the mediation.
Note: any additional parties involved in the mediation will be required to sign the agreement to mediate, detailing confidentiality restraints.
Can my needs be accommodated?
Yes. LARS is committed to accessibility and meeting diverse needs. This means we can provide support, for example arranging an interpreter or taking a tikanga-based approach to mediation. LARS has a panel of experienced mediators. You can find out about each mediator here.
Can I pick my mediator?
Yes. A full list of independent and accredited LARS mediators is available on the website. All mediators are able to travel, so you can choose the most appropriate person for your needs. Fair Way can also provide assistance to help you though this process.
Can I meet the mediator before the mediation?
Yes. The mediator will speak with each party separately before the mediation to understand the matter and discuss the process going forward.
Where do mediations take place?
You can choose to meet in person at a suitable venue near you or online.