$128 million Landonline property register rebuild tracks below budget

$128 million Landonline property register rebuild tracks below budget

Recruitment for massive, internally run system replacement project fell behind schedule

Credit: Supplied

The rebuild of New Zealand's property information system, Landonline, is tracking under budget as the project targets replacing the core of the system.

An update to government on progress through to 11 November last year said the expenditure from 1 November 2018 to 31 October 2020 of $20.8 million equated to 18 per cent of the programme’s modelled cost of $116.2 million.

Modelled costs were in turn below the $128 million in funding the government approved in October 2018 for Landonline to ensure the 20-year-old platform was future fit.

Expenditure to 31 October 2020 was $4.2 million below the budgeted modelled cost, primarily due to lower resource costs, which make up 90 per cent of programme costs, to date.

Recruitment for the core IT system rebuild was tracking positively, Land Information NZ (LINZ) told its ministers, though behind schedule due to the need to readvertise some roles.

That core rebuild is the second of four project phases, following the first $33 million phase which focused on building internal capabilities, including Agile, and delivering proof of concepts. 

"Appointees to technical teams are now coming on board with most on track to be in place by mid-December 2020," LINZ reported.

"We are confident delivery and financial risks can be managed."

The rebuild of core IT systems started well with teams achieving between 80 and 100 per cent of planned work, LINZ said.

LINZ opted to run and manage the project internally, it said in early 2019, to ensure it stayed ahead of the technology curve rather than building a tool that may need replacement again in years to come.

"LINZ will maintain control and ownership of the new system and have the ability to make changes and deliver better functionality more quickly to meet customer needs," the agency explained.

Overall, the project remained at "amber" on a red/amber/green, risk scale, in order to manage delays experienced recruiting the additional resources needed for the rebuild.

Four foundational initiatives were under way which, when completed in December 2021, will have established a base for remaining initiatives.

The four include a land titles initiative, a survey initiative, a common services initiative and a database initiative,  migrating the Landonline database to a modern platform hosted in New Zealand to reduce technology risks.

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