Land Information NZ says it is on track to complete the first of four stages of a $128 million project to replace New Zealand's land surveys and titles register, Landonline.
Deputy chief executive of transformation Murray Young told Parliament's primary production committee last month that the first $33 million tranche, which was funded in October 2018, kicked-off in March 2019 and was expected to be completed "well on track" in June.
Each tranche of the project, dubbed STEP (the Survey and Title Enhancement Programme), requires a single stage business case (SSBC) be approved, so funding can be drawn down.
LINZ is delivering the project internally.
"Effectively, in this tranche, we were doing three things: we were building capability - the 60 people that have come in house to run the project; we were building our methods and practices and ability to work with those people and the rest of the business and industry to build the system in an agile way; and we picked three pieces of software that we would develop in the first tranche, which were relatively simple."
The three software elements were a search engine that registered users use and the public will be able to use. The first versions of that are already in pilot.
The other two were notices of changes in terms of mortgagee for financial institutions and notices of changes of ownership for territorial authorities for rating purposes.
"The building of capability has gone very well, and we’re currently starting to complete the single stage business case for the next tranche," Barrett reported at the committee hearing, held on 12 December.
STEP will replace the core of the system in tranches two and three, which are being designed with in consultation with solicitors and surveyors.
Tranches two and three, also include re-platforming of the technology.
A large component of the programme was addressing the technology risk of the now 20 years old Landonline, Young explained.
Landonline was very hard to change - to do a release of the current system takes about six or eight months of testing because the system is tightly integrated.
"By comparison, a very small thing, but the survey pilot we’ve got out now, we can change overnight," he said.
"We’ve got that cadence working."
The old technology also had security issues because "what was an acceptable architecture 20 years ago no longer is".
The fourth tranche is focused on the future, Young said, including the introduction of the three dimensional cadastre rather than just two dimensional.
Asked about the cost difference between delivering STEP in-house or externally, Young said LINZ did not have a cost difference available.
"The outside option would have been to use a third-party vendor to do the work," Young said.
"The core of the business case and the way forward is to actually bring in internal resource so that we can continually improve the system over time.
"We remove the risk of having to do another major rebuild in 20 years’ time or 15 years’ time, as we’re doing it right now."