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No such thing as a simple Land Information Memoranda

No such thing as a simple Land Information Memoranda

No such thing as a simple Land Information Memoranda

Wednesday 2 August, 2023

In December last year we reported on proposed changes to the provisions for Land Information Memoranda (LIMs) in the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA): read here Land Information Memoranda reports just got even trickier.

Now the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Amendment Act 2023 (the Amendment) has passed into law; amending section 44A LGOIMA, inserting new sections 44B to 44D defining the information about natural hazards to be included in a LIM, requiring regional councils to provide natural hazard information to territorial authorities, and providing limited protection for councils who have put information in a LIM in good faith. The provisions relating to LIMs will come into force on a date set by Order in Council, but no later than 1 July 2025. This will allow time for regulations to be made identifying any further information required to make natural hazard information more understandable.

Although the form and content of the Amendment is largely unchanged from the version introduced into Parliament last year, the wording describing the information that must be included in a LIM and supplied by a regional council to a territorial authority has been refined to provide greater clarity. The duty imposed on councils in relation to information about natural hazards and the impacts of climate change is alleviated slightly by no longer requiring specified information, but rather requiring “information that identifies” specified information, “to the extent that the information is known” to the territorial authority or the regional council as the case may be.

Further, the previously ambiguous wording around “natural hazard”, “impact” and “climate change” has now been clarified.  What is required is information identifying two elements that affects or may affect the land concerned:

  • Each natural hazard; and
  • Each impact of climate change that exacerbates natural hazards.

The obligation of the Minister to consult before recommending regulations relating to further information to make the information provided “more understandable” has also been strengthened.  It is now clear that consultation must include each regional council and territorial authority that the Minister considers may be affected.

In our view, while these amendments are subtle, they better define the obligations on both territorial authorities and regional councils, making it more likely that the objectives of the Amendment will be achieved.

The Amendment will require some territorial authorities to adopt more rigorous protocols for the production of LIMs and will inevitably create new work for regional councils. We recommend that council teams involved in LIM production and natural hazards begin the process of reviewing their LIM production and information management processes before the Amendment comes into force.

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