News & thinking

Opinion:

The Government takes on the income protection insurance market

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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…

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…
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Case summary WXN vs. Auckland International Airport

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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,…

Your obligations when WorkSafe comes knocking

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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…

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…
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?

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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…

Ensuring contractor competency is a critical health and safety issue

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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?

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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

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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

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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…

Business Debt Hibernation

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

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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…

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

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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…

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

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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…

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

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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?

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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?

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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…

Buyer or Agent beware?

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What does "plus GST, if any" really mean? Real Estate agents and purchasers alike will be interested in a recent case, which found that a vendor's agent may be liable in negligence to the purchaser for using the words "plus GST, if any" in…

WorkSafe New Zealand’s new Data Centre goes live

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WorkSafe has recently launched an online resource containing a wealth of workplace health and safety data and information. The new "Data Centre" is available through WorkSafe's website at:  https://data.worksafe.govt.nz/. It is heralded…

New health and safety regulations are on the way

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It is three years since the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 ('HSWA') came into force, and work is underway to review the existing regulatory framework and improve requirements for the management of risks associated with plant, structures,…

Taking workplace bullying seriously — lessons from Australia

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Bullying is currently a hot media topic (and rightly so), but traditionally it's been seen as an employment – rather than health and safety - issue.  Australia's workplace health and safety regulators are now taking allegations of workplace…

New Zealand courts are starting to use their extended sentencing powers

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The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 ('HSWA') introduced several new sentencing tools for the courts when sentencing duty holders for health and safety offences. After a slow start, we are finally starting to see Judges use these new sentencing…

Doubts about proposed corporate manslaughter law

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This decade has brought the issue of workplace fatalities sharply into New Zealanders' collective consciousness. The Pike River mining disaster in 2010, the collapse of the Christchurch Television building during the 2011 earthquake and a wave…

Court halts litigation spanning 25 years

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On 1 March 2017, the Senior Courts Act 2016 (Act) came into force. The Act replaced the Judicature Act 1908 and introduced several changes, including specific provisions restricting vexatious litigants from commencing or continuing proceedings…