Landonline debates Nelson region problems

Problems with Landonline information highlighted by surveyors, valuers and other users in the Nelson region are mostly small matters, says Land Information New Zealand's Landonline manager Terry Jackson.

Problems with Landonline information highlighted by surveyors, valuers and other users in the Nelson region are mostly small matters, says Land Information New Zealand’s Landonline manager Terry Jackson. Adverse comment, he suggests, is influenced by Nelsonians’ objection to their local Linz office closing.

The Landonline team is making progress with correcting any errors and responding to user requests, Jackson says. Valuer Judy Lenart, who last month convened a meeting of parties with misgivings, cites illegibility of diagrams included with title documents. While a plan of the individual property used to be available with the title under the manual system, the version included on the title is now often a plan of a larger area so the information on the individual property is so reduced and badly printed as to be illegible in important respects, she says.

Liz Bewley, of Nelson search agency Landlink, says sometimes a full 75cm-square district plan has been reduced and distorted to fit a rectangular A4 sheet.

Such criticisms relate only to the diagram on the title, Jackson says. Fuller and more legible information is always available from the plan proper, and Landonline provides such plans for a single property, a group of properties or a complete district plan, as required. Illegibility problems pertain mostly to older titles, he says.

Nelson surveyor Simon Jones, however, says some features on even the full-sized plans are illegible. The example he gives is a plan from the 1920s, he acknowledges, but there is no more recent plan of the property in question available from Landonline.

Jackson says most of the errors singled out on some digitised plans and in the title documents have always been there, some since the 1850s. Linz is deliberately not correcting them as part of the Landonline conversion process because the paper is a legal document and cannot be altered lightly, he says. A procedure is in place to correct the mistakes after the information is digitised.

But the problems go deeper than that, Jones suggests. The Landonline system was put together from component pieces of software that were never intended to work together, he says. Landonline servers only support a transmission speed of 33Kbit/s, and when multiple layers of information are required, beyond the 27 layers supported as standard, the system is unacceptably slow.

Closure of the Nelson office is a fait accompli, says Jones, so there would be no point in citing difficulties in the hope of getting the closure stopped or reversed. Protestors would, rather, like the rollout of the system to larger areas like Wellington stopped until the problems are fixed.

Lenart, on behalf of the discontented Nelsonians, wrote to land information minister Matt Robson. Last week she received what she calls a “limp reply”, with similar comments to Jackson’s — that there will always be errors and that they are being fixed. She has already sent a response by fax, with copies of the illegible diagrams.

Jones says protest to the minister is unlikely to be successful, “because you can’t get past the Landonline [public relations] spin”. Even the Surveyors’ Institute, he suggests, as a stakeholder in the system, is too involved in its continuance to be an effective critic.

When reservations arose from the Nelson-Marlborough contingent of the institute last year, the annual general meeting threw out the objections and registered a vote of confidence in Landonline.

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