When the Crown wants your land

The state highway is being straightened but in doing so the Crown is acquiring some of Farmer Freddy's land, so where does this leave Freddy?

Farmer Freddy sits back after another hard day on the farm to open the day's mail. He's sorted out problems with his worker, and is looking forward to the chance to focus his energies on the farm.

He notices there's a letter from the New Zealand Transport Authority in the mail.

"Hmm, I wonder what that's about?" murmurs Freddy.

He opens it to find a letter notifying him that the Crown wants to acquire a part of his land for the re-alignment of the state highway that runs along the front of his farm.

"What? They can't just take my land, can they?" Freddy fumes. He decides to give Pebbles a call.

"Keep your hair on, Dad," Pebbles counsels him. "The Crown, along with various other organisations like local authorities can acquire your land to construct public works. It will try to negotiate with you first, but if there's no agreement, it has the power to acquire your land compulsorily under the Public Works Act."

"Do you remember," Pebbles continues, "how, a few years ago, the Government wrote to you advising that they were going to designate that part of your land for a state highway?"

"I must admit I didn't pay much attention at the time," says Freddy, ruefully.

"But straightening the road seemed like a good idea at the time."

Pebbles continues: "Even if they take the land compulsorily, you'll still get paid compensation."

"How do they work that out?" asks Freddy.

"The basic idea in the Public Works Act is for compensation to be set based on a willing buyer, willing seller basis," says Pebbles.

"However, in cases like this, where there isn't a market for the strip of land that the Government wants to acquire, it will probably use the ‘before and after' method. So it will value the farm now with that strip of land, and then without it. The difference then reflects potential compensation."

"But what if I don't agree with the valuation?" asks Freddy.

"In that case, Dad, the amount of compensation will be determined by the Land Valuation Tribunal," Pebbles tells him.


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