News & thinking

Our Thinking:

On the home straight … long awaited Conduct of Financial Institutions SOP released

, , , ,
The Financial Markets (Conduct of Institutions) Amendment Bill took a major (and belated) step forward late last week with the release of the long awaited supplementary order paper (SOP) to amend the Bill. This progress comes almost two years…

Combatting modern slavery – proposed new duties across the supply chain

, , , ,
It is difficult to believe that slavery still exists in today's society, but the unfortunate reality is, it does. Modern slavery and worker exploitation remains in both the domestic and international supply chains and whilst our current laws…

Returning employees to the workplace

, , , ,
Vaccination rates are high and we have begun to contemplate herd immunity whilst New Zealand works our way towards the conclusion of the current Omicron outbreak. Employers may now be looking to return their employees to the workplace in lieu…

The End of the Mandate…

, , , , ,
After the decision of Yardly[1], IOX[2] and the wide spread community transmission of Covid-19, we waited with baited breath to see what changes the Government would make to the Covid-19 Protection Framework and the government vaccine mandates…

A significant reform to New Zealand’s labour laws: the Fair Pay Agreements Bill.

, ,
The Government has introduced the Fair Pay Agreements Bill to Parliament this week.  The purpose of the new law will be to provide a framework for collective bargaining for industry or occupation wide Fair Pay Agreements' or 'FPAs' that will…

Easter and Anzac trading restriction – what are retail employers allowed to do?

,
Thinking about the Easter/ANZAC holidays? Which ever way you like to enjoy your Easter, retail employers need to be aware of the special rules that apply to shop trading on these days of special significance. Shops are required be closed all…

COVID-19 Changes announced

, , , , ,
What are the changes and what do these mean for your business? This morning (23 March 2022) the New Zealand Government announced significant amendment to vaccination mandates, the COVID-19 Protection Framework and 'My Vaccine Pass' requirements. Following…

Menopause – what employers need to know

, ,
  Menopause has far reaching impacts on the lives of women, and as more stay in paid employment longer, on workplaces, too.  Some employers might jump to risk mitigation first. However, leadership specialist Kate Billing and…

Are vaccine mandates under threat?

, , , ,
As we head into the peak of Omicron, vaccine mandates remain highly contentious and the subject of prolonged protests around the country. Rather than joining the protest, three Police and Defence Force workers have convinced the High Court that…

The Government takes on the income protection insurance market

, , , ,
Last week, Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced the Government's proposal for a universal income insurance scheme. The "social insurance" would support New Zealanders who lose their job through no fault of their own, or need to stop…

Income insurance in New Zealand – a saving grace or undue burden?

, ,
On 2 February the Government announced the details of a proposed nation-wide Income Insurance Scheme (IIS). The implementation of such a scheme in New Zealand is a significant reform, potentially the largest since the adoption of the ACC…

Navigating the minefield of Repossession

Repossession.  It feels like one of those things that no one likes to talk about, but it inevitably happens often here in New Zealand. You find yourself in the situation, as a creditor, with a debtor who owes you money, is failing to meet their…
Action in the courts

Court ends Ross Class Action against Southern Response

,
A High Court Judgment delivered by the Hon Justice Osborne last week (16 December) terminates the Ross Class Action ("RCA") against Southern Response Earthquake Services Limited.  This removes the last hurdle for homeowners to recover their…
Peter Woods

Southern Response decision unlocks $300m more

, , , ,
Southern Response’s decision to accept the Court of Appeal's findings in the Dodds’ case allows at least 3,000 Christchurch policyholders who settled their claims before 1 October 2014 to receive compensation of $100,000 each, on average,…
Anne Wilson

Employment law demand fuels firm growth

Anthony Harper is pleased to announce the appointment of employment lawyer Anne Wilson to its partnership. Anne has primarily gained her experience working in a top tier firm but brings clients a unique perspective thanks to her background…

New partner brings Agribusiness expertise to national law firm

Mark Dineen brings Agribusiness expertise to national law firm. Anthony Harper has added agribusiness to its list of key specialty areas with the appointment of Christchurch lawyer, Mark Dineen, to its partnership. Dineen comes to Anthony…

New Anthony Harper partner boost tech, electricity sector expertise

Matt Smith will boost corporate law firm’s tech, electricity sector expertise. Anthony Harper continues to strengthen two key speciality areas with the appointment of tech and electricity sector specialist Matt Smith to its partnership,…
Calendar with a pin marking a public holiday

To Mondayise or not to Mondayise, that is the festive season question…

, ,
It’s hard to believe it’s almost Christmas again and yet last Christmas feels like an eternity ago. This year Christmas, Boxing Day, New Years and 2nd January public holidays will fall over the weekend and will, in some cases, need to be…
Silhouettes of travellers in an airport walking

Case summary WXN vs. Auckland International Airport

, , ,
Unvaccinated Auckland International Airport employee granted interim reinstatement The Employment Court has granted an employee interim reinstatement after his employment was terminated for refusing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. His employer,…
Woman wearing a mask getting a vaccination

New law on vaccine requirements in the workplace

, , ,
The Covid-19 Response (Vaccinations) Legislation Bill was introduced yesterday and is expected to be passed into law later this week.  The Bill sets out the process an employer must follow to terminate an employee’s employment for failing…
Man putting on a disposible mask

COVID employment law complexities

, ,
Why faster isn’t always better when setting workplace policy. The fallout from COVID has created some of the greatest societal polarisation in living memory, and as New Zealand adjusts to the realities of living with the virus, workplaces…
Sam Wilson

Anthony Harper welcomes a new Partner, Sam Wilson, to the Christchurch team.

Anthony Harper’s Christchurch office has a new addition to its corporate advisory team with the appointment of Sam Wilson. Wilson joins the firm as special counsel immediately and, pending Law Society approval, will be appointed to the partnership…
Young masked woman looking into the camera
People line up for COVID tests being given by someone in PPE

Your obligations when WorkSafe comes knocking

, ,
A recent prosecution by WorkSafe provides a timely reminder that individuals and businesses have obligations to assist WorkSafe inspectors carrying out their roles. So, what is your duty and what steps do you need to take to avoid enforcement…
Hands holding a pen writes along paper

Duties as a PCBU – does a contract matter?

, ,
The High Court has provided welcome guidance on the question of whether the absence of a contract between duty holders affects the question of whether a party can be liable under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA). What happened? In…
COVID-19 Graphic

COVID-19 vaccination – can you make it mandatory on health and safety grounds?

, , ,
Organisations have well-known obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers. With public access to the COVID-19 vaccine expected within the coming…

New guidance on managing work site traffic

Following consultation in 2020, WorkSafe New Zealand (WorkSafe) has recently released new good practice guidelines for managing work site traffic (Guidelines). The Guidelines are intended to create a comprehensive reference point for businesses…
Man lays across couch with legs kicked up reading

Does no work during lockdown mean no pay?

,
In late December 2020, the first COVID related Employment Court decision (Gate Gourmet New Zealand Limited and Ors v Sandhu and Ors [2020] NZEmpC 237) was released. The majority of the full court found that employers did not have to pay employees…
Styalised image of woman looking toward the camera with a blue filter over top.

Bullying in the workplace

,
This article was originally published on the Legalwise website on 19 November 2020. An employee has recently been awarded $20,000 plus three months' wages as a result of the employer failing to properly address complaints of bullying We…
Spotlight on Privacy

Spotlight on issues regarding Privacy & Cross Border Transactions and Commerce

The Privacy Act 2020 introduces a new Information Privacy Principle (IPP 12) which imposes controls on the disclosure of personal information to overseas entities and people.   The intent of IIP 12 is broadly to ensure that agencies sending…
An areoplane flies across the blue sky

Air Freight liability increase

In a year to forget for international airlines, the hits keep coming. From 28 August, air carrier liability for loss, damage or delay significantly increased. Freight forwarders and others who contract for carriage by air will also be impacted…

Climate change – reporting on a sleeper issue

, ,
Earlier this week, the Government announced that mandatory climate-related financial disclosures will be introduced for large financial services entities. The announcement follows last year's consultation on the issue, and makes New Zealand…
Graphic design of two people facing the camera wearing masks.

Immigration, Employment and the Tech industry: FAQ in a post Covid-19 environment

,
On Thursday, 3 September 2020 our leading experts in employment, immigration and technology law appeared as a panel for IT Professionals New Zealand. As part of this, our experts answered some frequently asked questions around employment, immigration…
Digital representation of SARS-CoV-2

Impact of COVID-19 on contractual obligations

, ,
With the widespread disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses will be worried about how this impacts contractual performance. In particular, the first lockdown, and the recent sudden move to Alert Levels 2 and 3 will have…

Top tips for SMEs implementing an e-commerce solution

, ,
E-commerce is a very well established means of doing business (Amazon being founded back in 1994 and now having a market cap of over $1 trillion being testament to this!). Yet today, in the Covid-19 world, e-commerce has assumed an even more…
Single house in a row red against the other white houses.

The ability to enforce following lease and mortgage defaults

, , ,
On 15 April, the Government announced further temporary changes to legislation giving some relief to commercial tenants and mortgagors. Particularly, changes to current legislation were introduced extending the timeframes that tenants and…
silhouettes of construction workers at the end of day

How does the construction and infrastructure sector respond to Covid and plans to regenerate?

,
Hamish Glenn, Policy Director at Infrastructure New Zealand, New Zealand’s peak infrastructure body, discusses the changes to the industry brought on by Covid and their response to the proposed stimulus plans. As part of the response to…
COVID-19 embossed and painted white on a red plastic see-through button.

Can e-commerce create opportunities both nationally and internationally for New Zealand?

,
The Covid crisis has seen many retailers seeking to streamline their business, reduce costs and innovate to attract new customers. Retail NZ’s CEO, Greg Harford takes a closer look at the challenges the sector faces. There has been much…
A technological solution

Did technology provide a solution to the COVID-19 crisis?

Lockdown saw the rapid move to technology-enabled flexible working arrangements for many and helped relieve the economic burden on many industries and sectors. We asked Paul Matthews from IT professionals to comment from the IT industry perspective. Covid-19…

Can New Zealand move from a focus of health and safety compliance to better work practices?

,
The Health and Safety at Work Act has now been in force for over 4 years. Grant Nicholson and WorkSafe’s CEO, Phil Parkes look at the Act’s impact and WorkSafe’s focus in the years to come. The Health and Safety at Work Act has now…

Update: The new Privacy Act 2020

,
The new Privacy Bill, now the Privacy Act 2020 was passed into law on 30 June and comes into force on 1 December 2020. In this note we briefly summarise the most salient aspects of the reforms. Mandatory notification of harmful privacy breaches …
Technology and lights

Implementing new technology during a pandemic

, ,
Covid-19 lockdowns have forced change on the business world. Two of the most visible areas of change have been in relation to the way we work and operate and the technology we use to support our work and operations. As restrictions have eased,…
Union Jack flag flapping in the blue sky

5 Quick Questions: NZ-UK Free Trade Agreement 

,
On 17 June, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) officially announced the start of negotiations on a free trade agreement between New Zealand (NZ) and the United Kingdom (UK), stating that the parties are committed to a bilateral…

Honey Bees takes the sting out of penalty clauses

, ,
The Supreme Court has upheld previous decisions in finding that when it comes to penalty clauses, the measure is no longer whether the penalty is a "genuine pre-estimate of loss". A penalty clause will now be enforceable unless it is "out…

FAQs regarding COVID-19 related restructures

,
Can an employer change the terms of an employee's agreement unilaterally because of COVID-19? An employer cannot unilaterally change the terms of an employee's employment without having consulted with the employee first. Employers must consult…

Are you an independent contractor or an employee?

,
The test to determine whether a worker is an employee or a contractor is well established, and it requires a focus on the real nature of the working relationship. In practice, this test assesses the intention of the parties, the level of control…
Digital COVID-19 representation.

5 Key learnings from the Covid-19 lockdown

,
The aftermath of the COVID-19 lockdown will likely see a significant litigation spike, as there will inevitably be disputes about parties’ contractual obligations and who bears the risk of lockdown ramifications. We have looked back on…

Has Covid-19 created a new flexible working regime?

,
For the better part of 2020, the outbreak of Covid-19 has challenged ordinary operations in the workplace. Globally, professionals have had to adapt, improvise and overcome problems that most have never faced before. Many have found this…
Vials of COVID-19 Vaccinations

Easing corporate governance in COVID-19

,
On 16 May a new law came into effect with temporary measures aimed at easing  corporate governance for companies and certain other types of incorporated entities in these times of physical distancing for COVID-19. The new temporary measures…

Businesses operating at Alert Level 3 and 2: What happens if an employee refuses to return to work?

,
As businesses resume operating in Level 3, and with the hope that the  New Zealand Government will announce a return to Level 2 soon, employees may be feeling some anxiety about returning to work. To operate at Level 3, businesses should…

Ensuring contractor competency is a critical health and safety issue

,
Finding competent contractors, and ensuring they implement appropriate health and safety processes, can often be a challenge.   A recent prosecution of a principal for engaging incompetent contractors highlights the importance of taking…

When fines are not enough – should workplace health and safety offending lead to seizure of assets as proceeds of crime?

,
A workplace fatality in 2015 resulted in multiple health and safety related convictions for a company and its managing director. The High Court is now being asked to decide whether proceeds of crime legislation can be used to seize millions…

Helping to make asbestos management easier

,
Asbestos related issues are an ongoing problem for businesses in New Zealand.  To help make compliance easier, WorkSafe New Zealand has recently launched a tool to help businesses develop their Asbestos Management Plans.  All businesses…

When returning to work consider these health and safety issues related to COVID-19

, ,
We imagine you (like the majority of our clients) will want to resume work as soon as you can, and part of doing so will be grappling with the health and safety related issues around COVID-19. We are naturally getting quite a few queries…

Changes to visa rules, to help with the Covid-19 pandemic

, , ,
On 16 April, some visa rules were temporarily relaxed for those working within businesses providing “essential services”.   Employers can submit an application, online, to have migrant workers’ visas amended.   In…

Operational changes for businesses under Alert Level 3

,
The Government has announced that Alert Level 3 will commence at 11.59pm on Monday 27 April 2020. At Level 3 some businesses that were not operating under Alert Level 4 will be permitted to operate under strict restrictions. Sectors able…

Where there’s a Will there’s a way

, ,
The COVID-19 pandemic may prompt you to consider whether your existing estate and asset planning arrangements are appropriate and up to date.   It is an exercise that is often put in the ‘too hard’ basket because, well, let’s…

What you need to know about the Covid-19 Essential Workers Leave Support Scheme

,
On 6 April 2020, the New Zealand Government announced a new leave support scheme for employees of essential businesses. The Essential Workers Leave Support Scheme is part of the wider relief package proposed by the Government to address the…

Can employees be made redundant if their employer is receiving Government support?

,
The Covid-19 pandemic is causing widespread economic damage across a variety of industries but the Government have made it clear: the law still applies. Is restructuring your organisation the best option? At Alert Level 4, various Government…

Property transactions in a time of challenge

, , ,
Our property team has been working through the national state of emergency and lockdown. Below are some questions we have been fielding from our clients and we hope our answers will assist those in a limbo. We assume that the standard form…
Depcition of a person looking out the window while working from a laptop

Employment obligations: COVID-19, privacy and working from home

, ,
We answer some frequently asked questions, around employers obligations to ensure their employees privacy whilst working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of my employees has told me that they have possible COVID-19 symptoms. Can…

UPDATED: The definition of essential goods and the law of unintended consequences…

, , ,
Update as at 18 April:   In the original version of this article (below), we highlighted some potential issues with the Government restrictions on freight movements.  The Ministry of Transport has now updated its rules and we have…
Morning shot of the highway with trucks on either side

Changes to standard operating procedures for essential transport and logistics businesses

,
Essential businesses must take steps to minimise infection risks for their workers – both to comply with Covid-19 Government requirements and existing health and safety law. That means minimising contact, physical distancing, increasing the…

Air New Zealand’s new freight service – a solution?

,
New airfreight options With Air New Zealand destined to be providing only domestic passenger services for some time to come (post lockdown), questions have arisen about airfreight since most is carried in the hold of international passenger…
Large container ship rests in a waveless bay

An update: Exports and imports to/from key markets

,
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) has set up an excellent website gathering the latest updates from its international teams on COVID-19 in key markets and other information for exporters. The site was focussed on China, but now includes…

What are my legal rights if my cargo can’t get to its destination?

, ,
A shipper typically has very few rights, while a forwarder and carrier has a number of options, in these circumstances.   The first point to bear in mind is that, unless a freight forwarder has accepted liability as principal (by…

Travelling to New Zealand: The travel ban and exemptions

, , ,
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has published guidance about the exemptions to the current travel ban.   What is the current travel ban? From 23:59pm on Thursday, 19 March, New Zealand closed its borders. The assumption is that people…

Business Debt Hibernation

, , ,
As part of the changes to assist businesses ride out the COVID-19 storm, parliament has proposed a business debt hibernation scheme to supplement the existing insolvency mechanisms under the Companies Act 1993. Business Debt Hibernation The…
Boardroom with table and chairs

Safe harbour for directors – Relief for businesses or storm brewing?

, , , ,
Parliament is introducing legislation to amend the Companies Act to assist companies facing solvency issues as a result of COVID-19. The hope is that this will assist companies to trade through and keep employees on board during this time…
The word 'Lockdown' made up of tiled letters

Mitigating insolvency risks during COVID-19 lockdown

, ,
The COVID-19 pandemic will have a significant financial impact on all businesses across New Zealand, particularly as a result of the Government-directed lockdown. The nationwide financial impact may give rise to solvency issues for some businesses. Now…

COVID-19: What do essential services need to do to manage health and safety?

, ,
The pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus has seen New Zealand – and the world – plunged into uncharted territory. On 26 March 2020, the Government took the unprecedented step of raising New Zealand’s COVID-19 alert to level four, resulting…

IMMIGRATION: COVID-19 migrant workers

, ,
Migrant workers are very vulnerable right now. The economic landscape is also difficult for employers. Here are answers to some common questions we have received from migrants and their employers.   Can we reduce migrant workers’…

Court proceedings under COVID-19 alert level four

, , ,
At midnight on Wednesday 25 March 2020 New Zealand moved into COVID-19 alert level 4, after which, only essential services remain operating.   The Ministry of Justice has advised that the Courts will be closed to the public, and only…

Tax relief measures for COVID-19

, ,
The Government has introduced various initial tax concessions to help with meeting your tax obligations.    The terms of the relief are not yet passed into legislation However some of the relief measures introduced in the Bill,…

Deductibility of home office expenses and employee reimbursements

,
On 17 March, Government announced their relief package for the financial fallout from COVID-19. This included various business tax concessions. They included: The re-introduction of tax depreciation on commercial and buildings at a diminishing…

Corporate tax residence – setting up business in the New Zealand market and the impact of recent Australian Tax Office rulings

, , , ,
Setting up business in New Zealand may be easy, however not having in place appropriate corporate governance practices can lead to costly tax residence consequences. Doing business in New Zealand We are frequently approached by global…

Privacy Commissioner’s recommendations on workplace bullying information access

, ,
The Privacy Commissioner's office has received several complaints regarding employees being denied access to information about bullying investigations arising out of complaints that they have submitted.    As a result, on 28 January…

Coronavirus – Useful steps all employers should consider

,
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the recent outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus originating out of Wuhan, China, comes from a family of viruses that includes the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle…

What should you be doing now to mitigate the health and safety risks posed by a potential Coronavirus outbreak in New Zealand?

, ,
In the wake of the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring the Coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency, China going into lockdown, and the New Zealand Ministry of Health advising against travel plans in the near future, New Zealand…

International rankings point to our expertise

,
The prestigious Chambers and Partners Asia Pacific Directory released their latest rankings in early December. The rankings are based on in-depth analysis and facilitated by a team of experienced researchers. Their findings offer reliable recommendations…

2019-2020 – Immigration Changes – Past, Present and Future….

,
It has been a busy year for Anthony Harper's new immigration team.  There have been a lot of immigration law changes.  Here is a brief overview, and also a summary of what we are likely to see in 2020. March 2019 – Mosque attacks These…

Shared responsibilities – identifying and managing health and safety risks in leased premises

, ,
Landlords and tenants need to pro-actively assess and manage the health and safety related risks their premises and operations may pose, and cannot contract out or delegate this responsibility to each other or a property manager. Ultimately,…

Silicosis – is this the new asbestosis?

,
Relatively little is known about the problem of silicosis in New Zealand, but data from around the world suggests construction workers, and workers in the stone bench top industry may be at risk from this disease. What is it, and how can you…

Is the New Zealand Transport Agency going to become a designated health and safety regulator?

, ,
Following an independent review of the New Zealand Transport Agency's performance, the Government is considering designating the Transport Agency as a regulator under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA). Such a move would significantly…

Open for consultation – an update to the classification system for hazardous substances

,
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently seeking public submissions on the proposed adoption in New Zealand of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) Revision 7 (2017). What's happening? The…

Anthony Harper – Winner of Employer of Choice 2019

,
Since 2015 we have been a finalists in the Employer of Choice category at the New Zealand Law Awards. This alone is most gratifying.  To win, however, is a huge endorsement of our forward-thinking and innovative HR policies and practices. We…

Will the new reforms to the Overseas Investment Act affect you?

, ,
On 19 November 2019, Associate Minister of Finance David Parker announced a raft of broad changes to the Overseas Investment Act as part of a Phase 2 reform of the Act. This followed the announcement, on 16 October 2018, that the Government…