Terminology

Land Surveying incorporates components of Resource Management and Legislation and the terminology we use can sometimes be explicit and peculiar. Here we demystify the terminology.

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Advice Note (Resource Consent)

An Advice Note is additional information included with a resource consent decision. An advice note could include information about the property, such as geotechnical information, and can include additional fees that are required to be paid prior to the property getting section 224(c) RMA approval. An advice note usually does not require the person to do anything in order to proceed with the consent.

Affected Persons’ Written Approval

Affected persons’ written approval can be required by a council in lieu of the requirement for a limited notified or fully notified resource consent. Persons or organisations identified by a Council are requested to give their written approval to an activity that is the subject of a resource consent application. Persons or organisations typically include adjoining landowners, Iwi, NZ Transport Agency, other territorial or regional authorities.

Allotment

An allotment is defined in s218 of the Resource Management Act 1991 as meaning:

a) Any parcel of land under the Land Transfer Act 1952 that is a continuous area and whose boundaries are shown separately on a survey plan, whether or not -

i)    The subdivision shown on the survey plan has been allowed, or subdivision approval has been granted, under another Act; or

ii) A subdivision consent for the subdivision shown on the survey plan has been granted under this Act; or

b) Any parcel of land or building or part of a building that is shown or identified separately -

i)    On a survey plan; or

ii) On a licence within the meaning of [Part 7A of the Land Transfer Act 1952]; or

c) Any unit on a unit plan; or

d) Any parcel of land not subject to the Land Transfer Act 1952.

Amalgamation Condition

An amalgamation condition is a requirement imposed on a subdivision resource consent where adjoining parcels of land are held together in the same certificate of title. An amalgamation condition can save the property owner additional costs in undertaking the land transfer survey.

Amalgamation Covenant

An amalgamation covenant is similar to an amalgamation condition but is a substitute when an amalgamation condition cannot be imposed. For example, an amalgamation condition cannot be imposed when the two (or more) parcels of land are of different types, e.g. one land parcel of land is a guaranteed freehold title and the other parcel of land is limited as to parcels. An amalgamation covenant is made under s240 of the Resource Management Act 1991.

Appellation

An appellation is the legal description for a specific parcel of land. Land in New Zealand has been numbered and named differently in each Land District over time, and locating land by its historical legal description depends on the Land District and the type of land being dealt with. Some examples include:

  • Section 97 Fitzroy Survey District – for Crown Land
  • Matarikoriko 7B2A Block – for Māori Land
  • Section 8 Block XLIV Town of Waitara West – for land in a town

Under the current land transfer system each parcel of land is described as a Lot on a DP (Deposited Plan), e.g. Lot 12 DP 345678.

Approved as to Survey

Approved as to survey means that Land Information New Zealand has approved the survey dataset submitted by a Licensed Cadastral Surveyor in relation to a cadastral survey.

Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE)

An Assessment of Environmental Effects is a report that must be given to the council with a resource consent application. It describes all the environmental effects of a proposed activity and the ways that any negative effects may be avoided, remedied or mitigated.

Boundary Adjustment

A boundary adjustment in New Zealand is a subdivision to change the position of property boundaries between two or more separate land titles. The boundaries are moved to reflect an agreement between adjoining landowners. A Boundary Adjustment is still a subdivision and must go through the resource consent process. An example of a boundary adjustment is when a boundary is relocated to match existing or long-standing occupation.

Boundary Mark

A boundary mark is a physical mark placed by a Licensed Cadastral Surveyor to demarcate the legal boundary of a parcel of land. A boundary mark is commonly a large wooden peg, chamfered at the top and painted white, or an alloy or stainless-steel disk marked “boundary mark” and anchored into a fence post or into concrete.

Cadastral Survey Dataset [CSD]

The Cadastral Survey Act 2002 defines a CSD as “the set of cadastral survey data necessary to integrate a cadastral survey into the cadastre”. The cadastral survey dataset is held by the Crown and holds all the survey information required to identify and define land parcel boundaries. A cadastral survey dataset will include a CSD plan, a Title Plan (whenever a new parcel is being created), and a survey report; and may also include field observations, traverse sheets, calculations, diagrams of occupation, and any other relevant information.

Cadastre

The Cadastral Survey Act 2002 defines the cadastre as “all the cadastral survey data held by or for the Crown and Crown agencies”. The cadastre is a parcel-based system of land administration.  It is comprised of physically delineated boundaries as the extents of parcels or interests in parcels, and datasets containing the public record of the interests in those parcels.

Certificate of Title

A certificate of title records the legal owners of land and all dealings with the land, such as transfers of ownership, mortgages, and subject and appurtenant easements, registered under the Land Transfer Act 1952. All certificates of title were converted into ‘Computer Registers’ between 1999 and 2002 although the term ‘certificate of title’ is still commonly used.

Cadastral Survey Act 2002

Cadastral surveying in New Zealand is governed by the Cadastral Survey Act 2002, which defines the legal bodies that deal with aspects of the surveying profession. The Act delegates power to create specific regulations to the Surveyor-General who periodically issues the Surveyor-General's Rules for Cadastral Surveys.

Cadastral Surveying

Cadastral surveying is the discipline of land surveying that relates to the laws of land ownership and the definition of property boundaries.  It involves interpreting and advising on boundary locations, on the status of land ownership and on the rights, restrictions and interests in property, as well as the recording of such information for use on plans.  It involves the physical delineation of property boundaries and determination of dimensions, areas and certain rights associated with properties, whether they are on land, water or defined by natural or artificial features.

Coastal Marine Area

Coastal Marine Area means the foreshore, seabed, and coastal water, and the air space above the water:

(a) of which the seaward boundary is the outer limits of the territorial sea:

(b) of which the landward boundary is the line of mean high water springs, except that where it crosses a river, the landward boundary at that point shall be whichever is the lesser of -
          (i) one kilometre upstream from the mouth of the river; or
          (ii) the point upstream that is calculated by multiplying the width of the river mouth by five.

 

Coastal Permit

A Coastal Permit is a type of resource consent. A coastal permit is a resource consent granted by a regional or unitary authority and is specifically for an activity within the Coastal Marine Area. This permit can only be given for activities that are identified in a regional plan or a district plan requiring a resource consent, or the activity is specifically required by the Resource Management Act. No person or organisation can receive a coastal permit for a prohibited activity.

Consent Notice

A Consent Notice is issued under s221 of the Resource Management Act 1991. A consent notice is imposed as a condition on a resource consent decision for subdivision and ensures the continuing compliance of a condition, or a set of conditions, made in the resource consent decision. A consent notice is registered on the certificate of title for the relevant parcels of land.

Controlled Activity

A Controlled activity is an activity that is required to have a resource consent and where the resource consent cannot be declined by the territorial authority. The territorial authority may impose conditions on the resource consent that must be met by the applicant.

Cross Lease

Cross lease is a term used to describe an interest in land whereby the purchaser of a dwelling/flat obtains a lease of that dwelling, generally for a term of 999 years, together with an undivided share in the underlying fee-simple estate. The cross-lease title is a single title document recording the proprietors’ proportional undivided share in the fee-simple title and an estate in leasehold of the particular flat. Cross-lease titles usually involve common-use areas and exclusive or restrictive covenant areas. Any changes to be made to a cross-lease site or building require the consent of all other cross-leasing owners.

Crown Land

Crown Land means land vested in Her Majesty the Queen that is not set aside for any public purpose or held by any person in fee simple. Crown Land in New Zealand is administered under the provisions of the Land Act 1948.

In terms of the Maori Land Act Te Ture Whenua Maori 1993, land (other than Māori customary land and Crown land reserved for Māori) that has not been alienated from the Crown for a subsisting estate in fee simple has the status of Crown Land.

 

Deposited Plan

A Deposited Plan is the record of survey and boundary data for a land transfer subdivision that has been deposited by the Registrar General of Lands for the issue of new land titles. It includes a graphical representation of the boundaries of the new land parcels. A Deposited Plan is identified by a DP prefix and a number, e.g. DP 345687.

Development Contribution

A development contribution is a financial contribution requirement to the District Council to fund the impact on network infrastructure resulting from subdivision and/or development or other land use. Network infrastructure may include roads, water supply, wastewater, stormwater drainage, and reserves and community facilities. For reserves a development contribution may be land or cash or a combination of both.

Discretionary Activity

A Discretionary Activity is an activity that is required to have a resource consent and where the territorial authority has full discretion to grant or deny the resource consent. The territorial authority may impose conditions on the resource consent that must be met by the applicant.

District Plan

A District Plan is prepared by city or district council to help them carry out their functions under the Resource Management Act 1991. The District Plan helps determine where activities can take place, what restrictions may be necessary, and what natural and cultural resources should be protected. The rules of the district plan set out the activities that can occur as of right (permitted activities) and the activities that will require a resource consent. The district plan also specifies the information that must be submitted with resource consent applications.

Dominant Tenement

The dominant tenement in respect to an easement is the property or parcel of land that benefits from or has the advantage of an easement.

Easement

An easement is a right over the land of another without having the right to possession of that land. The land subject to the easement is the ‘servient tenement’. An easement may be for the benefit of the owner of other land (the dominant tenement) or it may for the benefit of a specific person or company without land (easement in gross). Some common easements:

Right of way
Right to convey water
Right to convey gas
Right to convey electricity
Right to convey telecommunications
Right to drain water
Right to drain sewage

Easement in Gross

An easement in gross is granted, not to land, but to a person or company as the ‘grantee’. An easement in gross is usually associated with utility companies providing services to the land, e.g. telecommunication and electricity companies, or councils in respect of water and sewage.

Easement Plan

An easement plan is a type of survey plan undertaken when an easement is required to be created over property but where there is no need to undertake a subdivision. An easement plan does not require resource consent or approval from the territorial authority except in the case of a right of way.

Environment Court

The Environment Court’s is a specialist court who’s work involves the Resource Management Act 1991. The court largely deals with appeals about the content of regional and district plans and policy statements, and appeals arising out of applications for resource consents. The resources consents may be for land use, a subdivision, a coastal permit, a water or a discharge permit, or a combination of these.

Esplanade Reserve

Esplanade reserves are a mechanism to protect riparian and coastal margins. An esplanade reserve, 20 metres wide, may be created when land is subdivided into allotments of less than 4 hectares.  Land ownership is transferred to a territorial authority at the time of subdivision meaning the council must maintain and manage the reserve. The landward boundary does not change as the water boundary accretes or erodes. Esplanade reserves are classified as reserves under the Reserves Act 1977. Territorial authorities can modify the requirements for esplanade reserves by stating in their district plans that: no reserve is required, the width of the reserve is to be greater or less than 20 metres, an esplanade strip is required instead, or esplanade reserves are required for allotments of 4 hectares or greater.

Esplanade Strip

Esplanade strips are a mechanism to protect riparian and coastal margins. Esplanade strips may be required by a rule in a district plan when land is subdivided. An esplanade strip is created by a legal instrument between a land owner and a territorial authority. The esplanade strip is registered on the title but remains in the ownership of the landowner. The title sets out restrictions relating to its use and management. The width of an esplanade strip remains unchanged so that if the water edge is eroded the strip moves inland and if there is accretion the strip moves seaward.

Freehold Subdivision

Freehold subdivision occurs where new allotments (usually referred to as lots) are created under the Land Transfer Act and ownership is held in an estate in fee simple. Fee simple means that the ownership of the land and the buildings on it is held solely by those persons listed on the certificate of title. Freehold is the most common form of subdivision.

Instrument

An instrument is a legal document referenced on a certificate of title that contains the details of a transaction in respect to land. The most common types of instruments are:

  • caveat
  • land covenant
  • discharge mortgage
  • easement
  • lease
  • mortgage
  • restriction
  • transfer
  • transmission

Land Covenant

A land covenant is a provision registered on the certificate of title to land that limits or restricts the current owner and future owners in respect of the use of that piece of land. A farmer cutting up his land for subdivision might restrict certain activities from being carried out on the land being sold.

Land Information New Zealand [LINZ]

Land Information New Zealand is a government department responsible for a number of functions around location information. Land Information New Zealand is responsible for managing land titles, geodetic and cadastral survey systems, topographic information, and hydrographic information; managing Crown property; and supporting government decision making around foreign ownership.

Land Transfer Act 1952

The Land Transfer Act 1952 is a New Zealand Act of Parliament passed in 1952. It implements the Torrens title system of land registration in which a register of land ownership maintained by the Crown guarantees an indefeasible title to those included in the register. Land ownership is transferred through registration of title instead of using deeds. The main purpose of the Act is to simplify land transactions and to certify to the guaranteed ownership of land.

Land Transfer [LT] Plan

A land transfer plan is a cadastral survey dataset that has been prepared under the Land Transfer Act 1952 to create interests in land such as lots, easements and covenants. It is a cadastral survey dataset that is approved as to survey but from which new certificates of titles have not yet been created. A land transfer plan is identified by an LT prefix and a number, e.g. LT 23456.

Land Use Consent

A land use consent is the authorisation required under the Resource Management Act 1991 for an activity on land that might affect the environment, and that isn't allowed ‘as of right’ in the district plan or regional plan.

Leasehold Subdivision

Leasehold subdivision – land or buildings or both that are leased for a period exceeding 35 years is defined in the RMA as a subdivision. A leasehold estate is most commonly defined as an estate or interest in land held for a fixed term of years. Ownership is through a lease from the owner of the freehold title.

Licensed Cadastral Surveyor

A surveyor who is a Licensed Cadastral Surveyor under Part 3 of the Cadastral Survey Act 2002 is the only person authorised to perform cadastral surveys in New Zealand. The regulation of cadastral surveying reflects the importance with which Government holds New Zealand’s cadastre.

Limited as to Parcels

Where a certificate of title includes the notation “Limited as to Parcels” the Registrar General of Land does not guarantee the shape, the dimensions, or the area of the land parcel described in the certificate of title. Any dealings in the land that are reliant on the shape, dimensions, or area of the parcel will first require removing the “Limited as to Parcels” status. A survey must be undertaken by a Licensed Cadastral Surveyor who will interpret all of the available physical and documentary legal, survey, and occupation evidence and make a determination of the property boundaries. At the completion of the survey, approval is also required from all adjoining landowners prior to the Registrar General of Land issuing a “guaranteed” certificate of title with the limitation removed.

Limited Notification

Limited notification in relation to a resource consent application means that only those persons identified by the territorial authority to be directly adversely affected by the application are notified and can make a submission on the application.

Māori Freehold Land

This is land where the customary interest has been converted to a fee simple interest after an investigation by the Land Court, and the land has not subsequently been sold or otherwise changed its status. There are about 1.3 million hectares of Māori freehold land today. Where more than one person owns the land, which is the norm, the tenants in common are not assumed to hold equal shares, instead the size of the interest of each owner will have been noted in the Court Orders creating the freehold title.

Māori Land Court

The Māori Land Court is a judicial forum through which owners of Māori land and general land owned by Māori can interact with other owners or interested people about the current and future use, ownership, occupation and/or management of this land. The Māori Land Court is constituted as a court of record but has wide powers regarding the receipt of evidence and management of its own procedures. Almost all dealings with Māori land require the assistance or approval of the Māori Land Court.

Non-Complying Activity

A Non-Complying activity is an activity that is required to have a resource consent and where the territorial authority can refuse to give consent for the non-complying activity. The resource consent may be refused when the adverse effects of the activity cannot be avoided, remedied or mitigated, or when the activity is being contrary to the policies and objectives in the district (or regional) plan.

Non-Notified Application

A Non-notified application is a resource consent application where no persons are deemed to be affected by the proposed activity and therefore it does not require public consultation.

Permitted Activity

A Permitted activity is an activity that does not require a resource consent. This is because either the district or regional plan states that the activity can happen without consent if certain criteria are met, or the activity is not specifically mentioned in the plan but complies with all the district plan or regional plan rules.

Pre-Hearing Meeting

A pre-hearing meeting is an arranged meeting between an applicant and the submitters to a publicly notified or limited notified resource consent application, prior to a formal hearing. The purpose of the meeting is for the applicant to further explain the proposal, and for the submitters to voice their concerns, with the aim that all parties may agree to the application progressing in some modified format that reconciles or mitigates any objections.

Prohibited Activity

A Prohibited activity is an activity for which no resource consent can be granted under any circumstances.

Public Notification

Public notification in relation to a resource consent application means published notification in newspapers as well as notification to every person that the territorial authority considers may be adversely affected by an application for a resource consent. Any person who considers they may be adversely affected by the granting of the resource consent can make a submission on the application.

Monumentation Survey

A monumentation survey is a survey by a Licensed Cadastral Surveyor to locate and where necessary reinstate the boundary marks that demarcate one or more of the legal boundaries of a parcel of land. A monumentation survey includes a legal requirement for the associated survey information to be recorded and lodged with Land Information New Zealand.

Regional Council

The function of regional councils is to manage the sustainable use, development and protection of natural and physical resources. These resources include soils, the quality of water and coastal water and associated ecosystems; and to safeguard people and resources from natural hazards.

Resource Consent

A resource consent is consent granted by a regional or local authority for an activity that might adversely affect the environment and that is not permitted ‘as of right’ by the Resource Management Act 1991 or by a rule in a district or regional plan. A resource consent may be granted with a set of conditions that need to be complied with to mitigate any adverse environmental effects.

Resource Management Act 1991

The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) is New Zealand Act of Parliament that sets out how we should manage our environment. It is based on the principle of sustainable management which involves considering effects our activities have on the environment now and in the future when making resource management decisions. As well as managing air, soil, fresh water and coastal marine areas, the RMA regulates land use, including subdivision, and the provisions for infrastructure.

Restricted Coastal Activity

A Restricted Coastal activity is an activity that is stated in the regional plan (or coastal plan) as a Discretionary or Non-complying activity for which the Minister of Conservation is the person who needs to give consent. An activity can only be specified as a restricted coastal activity in a regional coastal plan. It must be likely to have significant or irreversible adverse effects on the coastal marine area or be likely to occur in an area having significant conservation value.

Restricted Discretionary Activity

A Restricted Discretionary activity is an activity that is required to have a resource consent and where the territorial authority may grant or deny the resource consent, with conditions, but only when decided on matters set out in the regional or district plan.

Right of Way

A right of way is an easement that allows the owner of a property access over a portion of another property. The rights and obligations associated with the right of way are governed by the Easement Certificate and the Land Transfer Regulations. The dominant tenement is granted the right to go over and along the right of way on foot or by vehicle, to use the right of way but not to obstruct the same in any way. The registered proprietor who is providing the right of way cannot restrict or block access or cause an obstruction. The easement will determine who has the obligation for upkeep and maintenance. Usually, the responsibility will rest with those owners who have the legal entitlement to use the right of way.

Scheme Plan

A scheme plan is prepared as part of a resource consent application for subdivision as a visual representation of the proposed subdivision layout. A scheme plan will include the boundary location, dimensions and areas for the proposed lots, as well as any other pictorial information that will assist the territorial authority to understand the proposed subdivision and its compliance with the district plan rules.

Section 92 Request

A request under s92 of the Resource Management Act 1991 is a request by the territorial authority for additional information required to fully assess an application for resource consent. It is important that an applicant acknowledges a s92 request to the territorial authority either agreeing or disagreeing with the request. If the applicant does not acknowledge the request the territorial authority can decline the application based on there being insufficient information available for them to complete the application.

Section 223 Certificate

A certificate under s223 of the Resource Management Act 1991 is required from the territorial authority prior to the approval of the survey plan by Land Information New Zealand. The territorial authority will check that the survey plan conforms to the subdivision consent and either approve or decline the plan. The territorial authority must ensure that the subdivision layout and provisions are correct and that all conditions of the consent have been (or will be) satisfied. The territorial authority may approve the plan under s223 notwithstanding that some or all conditions of subdivision consent have not yet been satisfied. The certificate is signed by the chief executive or an authorised officer of the council.

Section 224(c) Certificate

A certificate under s224(c) of the Resource Management Act 1991 is required from the territorial authority to allow the survey plan to be deposited with the Registrar General of Land.

The territorial authority is required under s224(c) to provide a certificate stating that all or any of the conditions of the subdivision consent have been complied with to its satisfaction. For any condition that has not been complied with, the s224(c) certificate must state that one or more of the following relevant actions has been taken:

§  a completion certificate (s222) has been issued;
§  a consent notice (s221) has been issued;
§  a bond (s108(2)(b)) has been entered into by the subdividing landowner

Section 226 Application

An application may be made under s226 of the Resource Management Act 1991 when a certificate of title has two or more individually defined parcels that are held together in the same certificate of title. If under the District plan a subdivision could be executed to sever the title along existing identified boundaries and there is no need for conditions on a resource consent, then a request can be made to the territorial authority under s226 of the Resource Management Act 1991 to have the amalgamated parcels separated into separate titles. Not all territorial authorities allow s226 applications.

Section 348 Application

An application may be made under s348 of the Local Government Act 1974 when a property owner wishes to create a right of way over their land and there is no subdivision being undertaken. A request is made to the territorial authority for a certificate under s348 of the Local Government Act 1974. The territorial authority may impose conditions in relation to the right of way. The s348 certificate and a CSD plan must be submitted to Land Information New Zealand to allow the right of way easement to be registered on the certificate of title to the land.

Servient Tenement

The servient tenement in respect to any easement is the property or parcel of land that that must cede rights to the dominant tenement. It is the land upon which the easement is located.

Subdivision

The subdivision of land is defined in s218 of the Resource Management Act 1991 as being:

a) The division of an allotment
i)    By an application to the Registrar-General of Land for the issue of a separate certificate of title for any part of the allotment; or
ii) By the disposition by way of sale or offer for sale of the fee simple to part of the allotment; or
iii)   By a lease of part of the allotment which, including renewals, is or could be for a term of more than 35 years; or
iv)   By the grant of a company lease or cross lease in respect of any part of the allotment; or
v)   By the deposit of a unit plan, or an application to the Registrar-General of Land for the issue of a separate certificate of title for any part of a unit on a unit plan; or

b) An application to the Registrar-General of Land for the issue of a separate certificate of title in circumstances where the issue of that certificate of title is prohibited by section 226.

 

Submission

Submission means a written submission on a proposed District Plan or Regional Plan, Regional Policy Statement or Resource Consent Application.

Survey Office Plan

A survey office plan is a cadastral survey dataset that is not prepared for the purposes of the Land Transfer Act 1952 and does not create new interests in land. A survey office plan may relate to a survey for the acquisition or disposal of Crown land; a monumentation survey redefining existing property boundaries; or a plan of survey information not related to property boundaries. A survey office plan is identified by an SO prefix and a number, e.g. SO 432017.

Survey Report

A survey report is the report prepared by the Licensed Cadastral Surveyor as part of the Cadastral Survey Dataset. A survey report will include the purpose for which the survey was conducted, an assessment of the adequacy of the number and location of old survey marks used to define boundaries, details of any conflict and how this was resolved, and reasons for, and details of decisions made regarding each existing boundary defined by survey, and the information considered to reach those decisions.

Sustainable Management

Sustainable management means managing the use, development and protection of natural and physical resources in a way, or at a rate, which enables people and communities to provide for their social, economic and cultural wellbeing and for their health and safety while:

a. sustaining the potential of natural and physical resources (excluding minerals) to meet the reasonably foreseeable needs of future generations, and
b. safeguarding the life-supporting capacity of air, water, soil and ecosystems, and
c. avoiding, remedying or mitigating any adverse effects of activities on the environment.

 

Territorial Authority

A territorial authority is a city or district council responsible for the sustainable management of the city or district; the health and safety of people and the environment; the provision of infrastructure; and control of the adverse effects of land use.

Title Plan

A Title plan is part of a Cadastral Survey Dataset. A Title plan includes all the title information relating to the appellation, dimensions, area and purpose of each new land parcel to be created, as well as information related to any new or existing easement or covenant parcels relevant to the subject land.

Topographical Survey

A topographical survey is an accurate 3-dimensional survey of existing ground levels and changes in contour, as wells as physical structures, features and services upon and sometimes under the land. A topographical survey is typically translated into a digital or hard-copy format as a basis for design and future land development.

Traverse Mark

A traverse mark is a physical reference mark placed by a surveyor and connected by measurement to other new and old traverse marks to create a network of points that connect all cadastral surveys together. All property boundary marks are connected by measurement to one or more traverse marks.

Unit Plan

Unit title subdivisions occur where more than one dwelling or building is built on a single title and separate ownership is required. This includes multi-storey developments and the unit title allows for ownership to be defined in three dimensions. A unit title provides single ownership of a 'principal unit' and one or more 'accessory units'. There are usually common areas that provide access for all unit title owners. A unit title is made up of two components; ownership in the particular unit, and an undivided share in the ownership of the common property. The Unit Titles Act 2010 controls such developments, and a body corporate administers the day-to-day running of the complex.

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