Category: Conveyancing Lawyer


Free Auction and Deadline Sale Reports


Selling property by auction or deadline sale has become almost the norm in post-Covid-19 Canterbury. What we are hearing from agents is that there are too few listings and too many qualified buyers contesting those listings that there are. Sound Familiar? If you are looking to buy in the current market, you may well be experiencing the frustration that undoubtedly comes with that. The service we provide as your conveyancing lawyer could save you lots of money. If that sounds like you, please read on!

From a purchaser’s perspective, this could become an expensive exercise if you do a full due diligence exercise on a property with a lawyer only to miss out on property after property and then get a bill from the conveyancing lawyer every time.

When a property goes to either auction or Deadline sale, a vendor via their agent will traditionally provide information about the property including a Land Information Memorandum (LIM), a copy of the title, any earthquake-related information and sometimes, but not always, a building inspection report. Of course, for a purchaser, all of this means having a lawyer look through the auction or deadline pack and advising if there are any obvious issues with the information provided. It sometimes adds up to in excess of 100 pages of information to be digested and reported on.

Sometimes as a purchaser, you may feel the need to obtain a building inspection report at your own cost too if one is not provided and you feel it sensible to obtain one or your lender or insurer requires one. As a purchaser, it is also necessary to have your finance 100% sorted for the purchase of the particular property when buying at auction. A pre-approval is not sufficient. You must also have insurance in place from the fall of the hammer if successful.

For obvious reasons, if buying in Canterbury, having insurance in place is absolutely vital! On occasion, you may even need a valuation for your lender. For first home buyers, there is also the need to make sure you have Kiwi-saver preapproval and First Home Grant approval from Kainga Ora too if hoping to use those sources of funding.

Of course, the difference with a deadline sale is that you can still insert conditions in the agreement for your own benefit so you do not have to be unconditional as you do at an auction. The vendor hopes however that in supplying you with some information, that if you are happy with the LIM for example, you might make a nice clean offer without a LIM condition. Often, the cleaner your offer (the fewer conditions) the better chance you might stand of being successful.


If your conveyancing lawyer does the due diligence on the information provided properly and does not just give it a cursory glance, there can be a lot of time spent on pre-contract due diligence. A comprehensive review of an auction or deadline pack should not be dealt with by a quick phone call either in our opinion. We provide a thorough written report of all the information provided in the auction or deadline pack.

If you are unsuccessful at auction or deadline on two, maybe even three occasions and you get a bill from your conveyancing lawyer for say $400 plus GST every time, it can get expensive very quickly. Add to that the possible cost of a building inspection report and/or a valuation and you could be considerably out of pocket after a failed bid at auction or deadline sale. This is particularly the case in the ultra-competitive market we are experiencing at present.

One of the key services we offer for those looking at a property purchase at auction or by deadline sale is to review the contract and all associated information and provide a written report, at no cost to our client. When you add that to the fact that when you are successful at auction or deadline sale our price for your conveyance is guaranteed once advised to you, and we have a lot of happy buyers. In our experience, the vast majority of people for whom we perform this service remember us and come back to us for their conveyancing when eventually successful, whether at auction, deadline sale or otherwise.

So if you are looking to buy at auction or make an offer on a property offered for sale by deadline sale and would like one of our written reports on a property you are interested in and, the comfort of a guaranteed fee structure, give us a call or go to our contact page now and send us your details and we will contact you to discuss your requirements. In the electronic age, we live in it doesn’t matter where your purchase is because we can do conveyancing work for you no matter where you are located. If you prefer to talk to us in person, give Brent a call on 021 222 4546.


What Does the Level 4 Lockdown Mean for My House Sale or Purchase?

We are now officially in our first day of level 4 lockdown. The team at Kannangara Thomson are all up and running and able to work remotely from home. We remain ready and willing to help you with all your legal needs to the best of our ability in these trying times.

If you have a current conveyancing transaction you will no doubt be wondering where this leaves you with regard to the confirmation of your further terms of sale (special conditions inserted for your benefit) or settlement of your transaction if that is scheduled to happen during the period of the lockdown?

The vast majority of transactions due to settle over the next four weeks of Level 4 lockdown will most likely have parties that are not in a position to settle. Even if the loan and security documentation and all client authority and instruction forms have been signed, moving companies will not be operating so vendors will be unable to give vacant possession.

In addition, purchasers will not be able to complete a final inspection and will have no means of moving their own furniture in the absence of moving companies operating during this time. Any such relocation will likely be a breach of the Level 4 lockdown requirements as other than essential travel in any event. Add to that the issue of where and how to collect the keys given the requirement for no non-essential travel and social distancing at all times.

Although your property lawyer from Kannangara Thomson can and will continue to operate from home, there are many factors outside our control that might significantly impact on the practicalities of settlement, such as:

• Key personnel in law firms being in self-isolation
• Clients overseas in isolation who cannot access documents
• Clients unable to sign documents (e.g. elderly clients who might struggle with technology)
• Furniture removal firms unable to operate due to lockdown
• Inability to have services such as electricity/gas etc connected
• A lack of scanning capability for either you or us working from home

The Property Law Section of the New Zealand Law Society has come out with the following recommendation which we are advising our clients to adhere to. It is suggested that the following wording be added to all contracts.

“The parties agree that settlement is hereby deferred to the 10th working day after the Government reduces the Covid-19 Level to Level 2 or below, or to such other date as may be mutually agreed. For the sake of clarity, neither party shall have any claim against the other in relation to this deferral.”

Similarly, if you have conditions due for confirmation such as a building report, finance or approval of insurance or a Land Information Memorandum, we are recommending that it be agreed between lawyers for both parties that the date for satisfaction of those conditions is extended until 10 working days following the lowering of the level 4 Lockdown to level 2.

Why are we recommending this? Well, for starters you will not be able to engage a building inspector to obtain your Property Inspection Report and nor will you be able to obtain a valuation for finance purposes during the lockdown period, with neither of those being considered as essential services. Indeed, for the purpose of your property transaction, lawyers are not considered as an essential service either.

We will be able to search titles and we may be able to obtain a Land Information Memorandum depending on staffing levels and volume of work at the relevant council. Similarly, you should be able to take steps to obtain insurance. On balance though, we feel that deferring the date for satisfaction of all conditions is the way to go.

There will be some settlements that may be able to happen. One such example is a property transaction involving bare land because there will be no final inspection required and nor will there be keys to collect.

If you have any query please feel free to contact your Kannangara Thomson property advisor by email or telephone. Most importantly, keep well and stay safe at home.

Brent Selwyn
26 March 2020

Since writing this article the New Zealand Law Society has issued a statement saying that in the current circumstances any property settlement which involves the movement of people is to all intents and purposes illegal.

Free Deadline Sale Review

We have noticed a large increase in the number of property sales put to the market by deadline sale of late. So what is a deadline sale and how does it compare to the sale of a property by auction?

In previous articles on this conveyancing lawyer blog, we have talked at length about our offer to review auction packs that no obligation to our clients. If you are unsuccessful and do not end up as the successful bidder we do not send you an account. It is that simple!

With a sale by auction, you are generally provided with as much information as possible about a property by the owner and their agent. This will traditionally include a Land Information Memorandum, a title search, copies of any easements or encumbrances affecting the title, often a building report and in Christchurch at least, all information relating to any earthquake claims, the settlement of those claims and repairs and how they have been completed.

So how does this differ from a deadline sale? Similarly to an auction, the owner will decide with their agent to accept offers by a certain predetermined date (unless sold sooner). Much information is then provided by the vendor similar to the situation where a property is listed by auction. This will typically include a Land Information Memorandum, all information regarding earthquake damage and repairs and sometimes a building inspection report also.

The significant difference with making an offer on a property offered by deadline sale is that unlike an auction, you can insert conditions for your benefit as the purchaser. So, even though you are able to do some of your due diligence in advance you can still make your offer subject to the likes of a finance condition, a Land Information Memorandum condition and perhaps a building report if you like.

From a vendor’s point of view of the hope is that if you are happy with the information in the LIM which is provided, you might make your offer without a condition requiring you to obtain a Land Information Memorandum.

Often a deadline sale will end up in a multi-offer situation where more than one party wishes to make an offer by the deadline. In that situation where there is an agent involved, you should be asked to sign a multi-offer form acknowledging that you know that multiple offers are to be presented to the vendor. When this happens you will get one chance to put in your best offer and if successful, you will never know how much more you offered then the next highest bidder for the property.

In a multi-office situation, buyers will often strive to make their offer as clean as possible by doing as much of their due diligence as possible based on the information provided and making their offer as clean as possible. In other words, with as few conditions as possible to make their offer attractive to the vendor. In such circumstances, a vendor might accept an offer slightly lower than the highest offer if it is subject to no conditions almost no conditions.

The last thing you need to know about deadline sale is that often when an offer is received and that offer is at a level at or close to the selling price required by the vendor, the deadline will often be brought forward. If at that stage you are the only party making an offer but there are other people interested, the agent will go back to the other interested parties and let them know that there is an offer and that the deadline will be brought forward.

If that happens then the agent will tell you that you are in a multi-offer situation and usually advise you that you might consider whether you want to increase your initial offer because in those circumstances you will only get the one chance. How much you offer will obviously depend on how much you like and want the property.

As your Christchurch conveyancing lawyer, our offer with deadline sale properties is the same as our free auction Pack review for those going to auction. We will review the deadline sale information provided and report to you and if you are unsuccessful there will be no cost to you. To avail yourself of the service simply go to the contact page on this website and send us your details and a short message. We will be in touch with you promptly.

Interest Rates

The Reserve Bank surprised many by dropping the Official Cash Rate (OCR) by 50 basis points in August. Many believed it would be 25 basis points, so it came as a bit of a surprise.

Initially the banks only moved their floating rates and it took about a week before we saw the fixed rates they were offering begin to change. In the end customers received approximately 30 basis points off the older fixed rates that were being offered. A typical 1 year rate at the moment (if you have at least 20% equity in your home) is 3.55%.

What’s next?

There is likely to be a number of further drops to the OCR although there may only be one more in 2019. Some commentators are placing the eventual low at around .25% (Currently 1%). However how much of these further drops are passed onto the consumer remains to be seen.

The best term to pick at the moment is the 1 or 2 year term. I favour the 1 year term the most as it gives the mortgage holder the ability to take advantage of future drops on the OCR.

If you would like a review of your mortgage or help with your next loan rollover feel free to contact Scott Miller on 021 343 648


Check out the link to my article on LinkedIn about the landmark decision of the Court of Appeal in New Zealand in the case of Chief Executive of The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) v Broadbent.

Tragedy in Christchurch

In the wake of the horrific events on Friday the 15th of March 2019, we have all had occasion to reflect on what is happening in our little country. I thought (hell I think we all thought) that we were immune from this sort of horrendous hate crime way down here in the South Pacific but sadly, that naivety has now been proved wrong.

As my sister in law has just so eloquently and poignantly put it in a Facebook post, today we get to hug those we love, tell them we love them in person or give them a call or send them, a message, but for 50 families this week that is not the case.

Like many of you, I have been so impressed with the reaction of particularly Cantabrians, but in truth, all of New Zealand, in rallying around the Muslim community to show them that they are not alone, their pain is our pain and that we all hurting at this terrible crime which has been committed at their place of worship.

My business, like some other law firms, has tried to do its little bit by offering the services of our bi-lingual lawyer, Sandra Iskander, who speaks both English and Arabic fluently. That offer remains true and if any family affected by this dreadful tragedy requires pro bono legal services, you are welcome to call Kannangara Thomson on 377-4421 and, ask for Sandra in the first instance. If your legal query is outside the scope of her experience, she will find someone else who can help you.

I think we can all be proud of the reaction of our government, our country and our people. Evil cannot triumph where there is love, compassion, unity and understanding.

Conveyancing – What Do All Those Confusing Terms Mean?

There is a common misconception that conveyancing is ‘easy’ and that you should be able to get your house purchase done ‘on the cheap’ by anyone claiming to be competent in this field. In this post, we will try to bust a few of those myths and at the same time, explain a few of those confusing terms which you will hear used often in connection with your house purchase.

To many, the term ‘conveyancing’ itself is a confusing one. After all what exactly does it mean? Put simply, it is the process by which we, as your conveyancing lawyer, help you ‘convey’ or transfer ownership of a property from the existing owner (the vendor) to you (the purchaser) as the new owner. At the same time, in the vast majority of cases, we will also be instructed to act for your bank to register a new security in favour of the bank for loans advanced to assist you with the purchase.

This again is an area where many folk find the terminology used by lawyers confusing. When someone pays off their loan to a bank they will often be heard to declare that they ‘don’t have a mortgage’, when in fact, a distinction needs to be made between having a loan from a bank and having a mortgage in place over the title to the property you own as security for that loan.

You see, when you finish paying off your loan(s) to the bank and you no longer owe any money to the bank, you have in fact cleared or paid off your loan, but the security for that loan is a different issue altogether. The mortgage you hear referred to is the security registered by your conveyancing lawyer to give your bank security for the money it has advanced to you by way of loan. In order for the ‘mortgage’ to be removed once you have repaid the loan in full, it is necessary for someone to write to your bank requesting that the mortgage security be released. Once you have paid off the loan and discharged or removed the mortgage from the title, you can truly be said to be ‘mortgage free’.

In some cases, even though your loan has been repaid, it is still a good idea to leave the mortgage security in place on the title. If, for example, you were contemplating buying an investment property or upgrading the kitchen or the bathroom in your home, you might want to borrow funds from the bank to help with this. Having the mortgage still in place over the title saves you the time and money of registering new security for the further advances, whatever the purpose of those advances might be.

The phrase ‘equity’ is another term which often confuses some people. The equity you have in the property is calculated by taking it’s current market value of your home and deducting any loans you owe to your bank. The net figure you arrive at will represent the equity which you have in your home.

This can become particularly important if you wish to buy an investment property as a part of your retirement plan. In many cases, rather than having cash savings to put toward the deposit, you might borrow against the equity you have in the family home. The purchase price is often therefore 100% borrowed, partly against your ‘equity’ in the family home and then partly against the security of the investment property itself.

If you want conveyancing done well, and everything explained in Plain English by an experienced practitioner with 30 years’ experience offering guaranteed fees at competitive rates you don’t need to look any further. Just enter your details on our contact page and we will get back to you, usually within 24 hours at the latest.

KiwiSaver And Buying at Auction

If you are thinking of buying at auction then there are a few basic things which you need to be aware of. 

For starters, if you are a first homebuyer looking to avail yourself of funding from either or both of the Home Start grant or your KiwiSaver first home withdrawal then buying at auction is not ideal for you. Why not? Well for starters, you cannot begin the process of formally having your withdrawal approved until you have a contract in place. There is always going to be some risk involved in that as a purchase at auction must generally be unconditional. In other words, there are no conditions inserted for your benefit as there generally are when you buy land through a process other than auction. The sort of conditions we refer to are those relating to you arranging suitable finance, approval of a Land Information Memorandum, insurance, building inspection and so on. Non satisfaction of any of those conditions for genuine reasons will give you an ‘out’ and a way to cancel the purchase that you do not generally have when buying at auction.

Secondly, a purchase at auction generally requires a 10% deposit at the fall of the hammer or in other words, as soon as you are confirmed as the successful buyer. Now you can of course enter into an aside agreement with the vendor agreeing to a smaller deposit or a delayed payment of the deposit.That might, of course, make any offer from you look less appealing if there are other offers to be considered.

For reasons stated above, you cannot use your KiwiSaver money for immediate payment of a deposit at auction because you cannot even commence the process of withdrawing your savings until you have a contract in place.

A further issue with KiwiSaver funds is that the provider (the fund manager you have your KiwiSaver with) require your lawyer to obtain an undertaking that KiwiSaver funds be paid, not to the agent, but to the trust account of the solicitor for the vendor and, that we obtain an undertaking from the vendor’s solicitor to hold those funds until settlement and, should settlement not proceed due to the default of the vendor, that they will refund your KiwiSaver funds to us in full so that we, as your lawyers, can pay it back to your provider. This is not necessarily ideal as for starters, the agent usually collects the deposit and once a statutory time frame has been observed, is entitled to deduct their commission from it. The balance of the deposit after commission is then paid to the vendor, who might be needing the same for the deposit on their next purchase.

So, whilst it isn’t impossible by any means to buy your first homeat auction there are a few hurdles to get out of the way if some or all of yourdeposit is coming from KiwiSaver or Home Start funding. For that reason, it is really important that you engage the services of a specialist conveyancing lawyer to assist you with your purchase.

If you miss out on buying at auction you need also be aware that you are likely going to get a bill for anywhere between $300-500 plus GST for the solicitor’s time in appraising and advising you on the auction pack. That is, unless you click on our contact page and take us up on our offer of a FREE review of any auction pack for you. We will provide you with a written overviewof the auction pack and our pledge to you is that if you are unsuccessful, wewon’t send you a bill. Just put your details on the contact page of this websiteand Brent will get back to you within a very short time to arrange the reviewof the auction pack for you.

Are You Able To Buy Land In New Zealand?

With recent changes to the law, we have had a lot of inquiry regarding the recent changes to the Overseas Investment Act 2005, and whether clients are eligible to buy a home in New Zealand. The rules can be confusing, particularly if you are not a New Zealand Citizen. Since 22 October 2018, anyone purchasing land in New Zealand is required to complete a Residential Land Statement relating to whether the transaction requires consent before they can proceed.

An area of confusion is if you are not a New Zealand citizen but are in a relationship with a New Zealand citizen. In most cases, the answer will usually be yes and you will be able to purchase a home. However, we need to temper that by saying that your relationship will almost certainly need to be a qualifying relationship as defined by New Zealand law. This is because there is an exemption if your spouse or partner is a New Zealand Citizen or ordinarily resident in New Zealand – no consent is required.

You can also purchase land in New Zealand if you are ordinarily resident in New Zealand yourself (have a residence class visa and have been living in New Zealand the last 12 months and are a tax resident – have been in New Zealand for 183 days in the last 12 months and tax residency has not stopped).

If you are unsure about your eligibility to purchase a home, feel free to contact your conveyancing lawyer to discuss your eligibility.

Free Auction Report

Want Guaranteed Legal Fees?

Everyone has a story about a conveyancing lawyer who has quoted them one price and then charged them another. Most lawyers record their time in six minute units and live in a world where they have a large budget to meet each month. So every time you pick up the phone and talk to that lawyer, if their hourly rate is say $350, which is par for the course among Christchurch lawyers, your phone call just cost you $35! It doesn’t matter whether that phone call took 30 seconds or five minutes! But watch out, stretch the call out to 7 minutes and all of a sudden you’re likely to be up for $70 for that phone call!

We think that is wrong so when we help you with your conveyance we will send you a letter of engagement as we are obliged to do, but in that letter we will specify a fee which we have agreed with you and, here’s the good bit, we will honour that fee regardless of how complicated your transaction might become. How can we do this? Quite simply, because we do not believe in imposing large budgets on our lawyers and legal executives and we do not record time.

As a business we do not fight for work by quoting on price either. If it is simply the cheapest price that you are after then you may find it somewhere else. But if what you seek is a fair fee for a job well done with excellent personalised service along the way then this is what we offer you. We like to call it “no surprises law”.

This can be particularly important for first home buyers who are often utilising the Welcome Home Loan product and who, because their deposit is usually less than 20%, will be paying a low equity fee to their lender and, almost always will not be receiving a contribution towards their legal fees. If that describes your situation then my guess is that what we are offering is exactly what you need, a fee which once quoted is set in stone and will not change.

So if you are looking for excellent service at a fair price for your conveyance which we will guarantee in writing then we invite you to go to our conveyancing lawyer contact page now and reach out to us now for your guaranteed fee quote.



So you bought a house and the vendor didn’t leave it clean and tidy.  It’s a story we hear all too often. A vendor doesn’t bother to clean the house properly and sometimes, not at all. Surely there’s amessy house legal obligation to leave a home neat and tidy and to give it a proper clean. Right? Sadly, no there is no legal obligation contained in the widely used Auckland District Law Society form for the sale and purchase of property to leave a house clean and tidy.


Most reasonable vendors will leave a home in a clean and tidy condition for the new owners. But if they do not do a proper job, or just don’t clean the house at all, legally, you don’t have a leg to stand on once settlement has occurred.


Sometimes a purchaser will tell us prior to settlement that there is rubbish on the section, sometimes even car bodies or parts. If you buy a home where there is extensive rubbish on the land or in the home and you want it removed prior to settlement, have your agent make this a condition of the contract.


Likewise, if you would like the house left clean and tidy before you take over, have the agent write in the agreement that it is an essential term of the agreement that the vendor leave the home in clean and tidy condition. That way, it becomes a contractual obligation, which can be enforced. If the vendor fails to leave the home clean and tidy prior to settlement or fails to remove that rubbish from around the section, we can require retention until it is done, or sometimes a deduction to allow you to get it done.

If you want quality legal advice from a specialist Christchurch conveyancing lawyer give me a call or go to our contact page and drop me a line and we will get back to you within 24 hours. We have 27 years’ experience helping clients with the conveyance of their new home purchase.


Buying a New Home?

So you’ve entered into a contract to buy a new home. Buyers will be aware of the range of conditions which are traditionally inserted in a contract for their protection. These include things such as confirmation of finance, approval of a Land Information Memorandum and a building report.

What About Meth Testing?

With recent coverage in the press, people are becoming increasingly aware of the danger of buying a home which has been used for the production, or even recreational use of methamphetamine (meth). If meth has been smoked or manufactured in a home, the cost of repairing the home to a standard which is safe for habitation can be considerable.

How Does Meth Affect a House?

Traces of meth can stay in a property for many years. It gets absorbed into the gib board, insulation, framing, carpets and fittings. In some cases the solution will be to strip the lining, insulation and possibly even the framing. It could amount to many thousands of dollars. In extreme cases where meth has been baked in a home, demolition may be the only solution!

What Should You Do About This?

We believe that the time has come when a special condition needs to be included in a contract for any conveyance of property in New Zealand to allow a purchaser to obtain a meth test report. When going to auction, it could even become standard practice for a vendor to supply a meth test report to give buyers peace of mind.

What Would a Meth Test Tell Us?

A meth report will tell you the sites where sample were taken. Traditionally this will be in areas such as the kitchen, bedrooms and living areas. The report will disclose any traces of meth found, the results compared to known safe levels and a recommendation on what you would need to do to fix the problem, if one exists.

If you would like to know more about including a condition in your purchase contract for meth testing, contact your conveyancing lawyer for assistance. We have many years’ experience in assisting purchaser’s with the conveyance of their home.

FREE – Yes You Read It Right, Free Auction Pack Appraisal


Selling property at auction has become almost the norm these days. From a vendor point of view it is often a clever ploy because if there is anything at all dodgy about a property it forces the buyer to do their due diligence and maybe ‘take a punt’ on that unpermitted old conservatory or load bearing wall removed without consent! If buying through the usual conditional contract structure a buyer is more likely to require a vendor to deal with such issues by obtaining a ‘certificate of acceptance’ from the relevant council or for older structures, having a report from a qualified professional added to the LIM file.  From a purchaser’s perspective however, it can be an expensive exercise if you do a full due diligence exercise on a property at your own expense.

 Vendors via their agent will traditionally provide a Land Information Memorandum (LIM) and sometimes, but not always, a building inspection report. For Canterbury properties it is also now common for all relevant EQC and Insurance related information pertaining to the earthquakes to be provided too. Of course, for a purchaser all of this means having a lawyer look through the auction pack and advise if there are any obvious issues with the information provided. It often adds up to in excess of 100 pages of information to be digested and reported on.

 It might also mean a purchaser obtaining a building inspection report at their own cost too if one is not provided and you feel it sensible to obtain one or your lender requires one. As a purchaser it is also necessary to have your finance 100% sorted and, having insurance in place from the fall of the hammer if successful. For obvious reasons, if buying in Canterbury, having insurance in place is absolutely vital! On occasion you may even need a valuation for your lender. For first home buyers there is also the need to make sure you have Kiwi-saver preapproval and Homestart too if hoping to use those sources of funding.


We won’t sugar coat it, if your conveyancing lawyer does the due diligence on the information provided properly and does not just give it a cursory glance, there is a bit involved. But if you are unsuccessful at auction two, maybe even three times and you get a bill from your lawyer for say $400 plus GST every time, it can get expensive very quickly. Add to that the possible cost of a building inspection report and valuation and you could be considerably out of pocket after a failed bid at auction.

so one of the services we offer for those looking at a property conveyance at auction is to review the particulars and conditions and all associated information and provide a written report, at no cost to our client. When you add that to the fact that when you are successful at auction our price for your conveyance is guaranteed once advised to you, and we have a lot of happy auction buyers. In our experience, the vast majority of people for whom we perform this service remember us and come back to us for their conveyancing when eventually successful, whether at auction or otherwise.

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