Crown asset transfer and disposal

Crown asset transfer and disposal

Last updated 4 November 2016
Last updated 4 November 2016

This section provides information on the process for transferring or disposing of Crown title assets (land and buildings) managed by .

Background information

The Crown asset transfer and disposal policy was first agreed to in principle by New Zealand's Cabinet on 27 October 2009. The policy allows TEIs to obtain legal ownership of Crown assets (land and buildings) that are core to their educational purpose, and to dispose of Crown assets surplus to their requirements, and for the net proceeds of sale to be available for reinvestment, subject to the Minister's approval of a business case.

The intention of the policy is to provide a clearer framework for ownership and control of Crown title assets and to encourage tertiary education institutions to manage assets under their management in an efficient manner.

The two key features of this policy are that:

  • the ownership of Crown title assets managed by TEIs can be transferred to TEIs where there is an ongoing educational need for those assets
  • TEIs can dispose of Crown title assets where these assets no longer meet their needs, with 80% (potentially more) of the net sale proceeds available for TEIs to reinvest in other assets, subject to Ministers approving a business case.

Crown Asset Policy Guidelines (PDF 118 KB) 

Summary of policy and eligibility criteria

The policy sets out a standard process for how transfers and disposals will be assessed and how and when decisions will be made. In summary, the policy is:

  • If a TEI can demonstrate a current and ongoing need for a Crown-owned asset under its current and historic (pre-1990) management, then the asset will be eligible for transfer to the TEI’s ownership (subject to assessment against a range of criteria, as indicated below and in the Crown Asset Policy Guidelines). A condition of transfer will be that if the TEI sells the asset within five years from the date of transfer, the TEI must pay the Crown 20% of the net sale proceeds.
  • If a TEI manages a Crown asset that it no longer needs, the asset can be made available for disposal under the Public Works Act (subject to various clearances as indicated in the Crown Asset Policy Guidelines). When a TEI-managed Crown asset is disposed of, the TEI will receive at least 80% of net proceeds for reinvestment (subject to the approval of a business case), and (at joint Ministers' discretion) possibly more provided there are compelling reasons for additional capital expenditure. If a TEI is unable to spend the proceeds on capital projects, it can in certain situations apply to use the proceeds for operational expenses.
  • If there are over-riding reasons to retain the land in Crown title, or where Ministers do not approve the transfer, the Crown and TEI will identify a satisfactory outcome on a case-by-case basis. If the TEI wishes, it will be issued with a long-term registered head lease for the asset at a nominal rental. This will give the TEI similar benefits to ownership. In these situations, the TEC will only present recommendations to joint Ministers that have been seen and approved by TEIs.
  • TEIs that want to initiate transfers or disposals of Crown assets must integrate the TEC’s Capital Asset Management (CAM) standard into their strategic and financial planning systems, and the transfer or disposal of Crown assets must align with long-term strategic goals of the TEI. The TEC will work with TEIs on a case-by-case basis to achieve this.

The transfer or disposal must also align with TEIs’ investment plans and long-term strategic goals as outlined in the figure below.


Shows the transfer / disposal process aligns to the TEC strategic plan


Further information

For further information TEIs should email