News & thinking

Services:
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…

Who can conduct workplace investigations?

,
What happened? On 4 June 2020, the Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority (PSPLA) issued an important decision (1) addressing the issue of whether persons or companies carrying out workplace investigations for employers into employee…

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.

Five 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…
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…

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…

First prosecution under tough Australian motor vehicle chain of responsibility laws: what might this mean for New Zealand?

,
Australia has strengthened its heavy vehicle transport Chain of Responsibility (COR) requirements and aligned them with workplace health and safety laws. The purpose of this reform was to clarify requirements, encourage a greater focus on…

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…

How not to advertise financial products

Financial advertising is pretty depressing these days. A lot of it is helpful – banks proactively communicating hardship options, fund managers explaining market movements, advisers trying to help investors make the right decisions (or avoid…

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…

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…

What will happen to my scheduled Court case?

This FAQ is intended to clarify some of the uncertainty about proceedings that are currently on-foot (i.e. filed before or during the Level 4 alert restrictions).   The information contained in this FAQ is focused primarily on proceedings…

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 insolvency risks 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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Buyer or Agent beware?

, ,
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…

Tis the Season…is what you spend on end of year gifts and functions fully tax deductible?

,
As the end of the year draws near it is likely you are considering what to buy for clients, customers and suppliers as suitable end of year gifts.  Alternatively, you may consider hosting a function to thank them for their business and loyalty. …

Do you know what a fair and thorough investigation and disciplinary process looks like?

,
There has been yet another Employment Relations Authority case where an employee was found to be unjustifiably dismissed due to flaws in the investigation and the disciplinary process. In this case, a dispatch assistant of a cheese company,…

New Trusts Act 2019

,
The law relating to trusts has been comprehensively reviewed. This review has culminated in the Trusts Act 2019 which was passed in July and comes into full force on 30 January 2021. The Act applies to all trusts, both existing and any new trusts. The…

All change! What is happening with New Zealand’s work visa system?

, ,
The proposed changes to New Zealand's visa system, which started out with a government consultation at the end of last year, are now underway. Work-to-residence visa - significant minimum salary increase Work-to-residence visas are available…

Conduct of financial institutions… the Government hits back

,
On 25 September 2019, the Government announced conduct licensing and other conduct rules for banks, insurers, and non-bank deposit takers (like credit unions). What will the changes mean? The conduct of financial institutions continues to…

Employees earning commission: Relevant Daily Pay or Average Daily Pay?

,
This is a technical update for those interested in all things Holidays Act 2003. It is important for those who pay employees based on commission. A recent Employment Court decision has finally clarified a point of law on the payment of public…

“Social licence” in the financial services industry

,
"Social licence" in the financial services industry – the Hon Grant Robertson speaks to Jack Tame at the Financial Services Council "Towards Wellbeing" Conference 2019 The financial services sector needs to look at its social licence,…

Immigration Alert: Changes to Accredited Employer Scheme

, , ,
Immigration New Zealand has announced significant changes to the accredited employer scheme. What is the accredited employer scheme? Why is it helpful? Accredited employer status makes it much easier for an employer to recruit migrant…

Reforms to the RMA – mere tinkering or complete overhaul?

, ,
Our planning system is not functioning effectively. This statement could be attributed to everyone interested in, or affected by, the development of our natural and physical resources. On one side, environmentalists claim that the system…

Supreme Court clarifies the law under s292 of the Companies Act

, , ,
The Supreme Court has now issued a judgment in Robt. Jones Holdings Limited v McCullagh and Lawrence in [2019] NZSC 86.  The decision clarifies the test under section 292, giving liquidators and advisors certainty around what must be proven…

WorkSafe New Zealand’s new Data Centre goes live

,
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

,
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

,
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

,
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…

Significant work visa changes

,
The New Zealand government is proposing a major restructure of the work visa system, so as to increase the financial and organisational burden on employers. Consultations ended on 18 March and the finalised proposals should be announced in June. Licensing…

New “Triangular Employment” legislation comes into force

,
The new Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Bill received royal assent on 27 June 2019.  This legislation provides a statutory entitlement for employees to raise a personal grievance, not only against those who it is employed…

Domestic violence legislation undergoes more changes

, ,
The Domestic Violence – Victims' Protection Act 2018, which was enacted on 1 April this year to provide support to employees affected by domestic violence, is already being altered. Key definitions in the Victims' Protection Act that are…

The ‘Clean Slate’ Act – What you need to know

, , ,
Like many millennials, the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 (Act) remains widely misunderstood. It seems that people either grossly exaggerate its power and scope, or reduce its operation to a twink pen for drink driving convictions. Misconceptions…

Earthquake-hit ex-Rydges hotel building clears Supreme Court insurance battle

, ,
After legal debates over fractions of a millimetre, a final court decision has at last cleared the way for a $190 million repair and rebuild project in central Christchurch. Partner, Peter Woods, discusses what is next for this landmark…

Doubts about proposed corporate manslaughter law

, ,
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…

How the Government plans to leverage its $41 Billion spend

, ,
The New Zealand Government spends approximately $41 billion each year buying goods and services from third-party suppliers and providers. Cabinet agreed last year to more explicitly leverage those contracts to achieve broader social, economic…

Bullies beware: Unfair commercial practices to be banned

, ,
Many New Zealand businesses and consumers regularly confront what they see as unfair commercial practices. The Government believes that these practices may undermine its attempts to build a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy. Recently,…

What the Australian Royal Commission means for New Zealand

,
The final report of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry was released in February. It highlights conduct by financial services entities "over many years" that has caused substantial…

Privacy Bill Update – Act Now!

, ,
The Justice Select Committee recently published its widely anticipated report on the Privacy Bill, having now completed its review. This Bill will repeal and replace New Zealand's 25 year old Privacy Act 1993, an Act in desperate need of a refresh.…

Court of Appeal ruling challenges confidentiality of documents provided to the Financial Markets Authority

, , ,
Court of Appeal ruling challenges confidentiality of documents provided to the Financial Markets Authority The Court of Appeal has issued a much-awaited judgment regarding the ability of the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) to disclose to…

The Tax Working Group Report – What could this mean for you?

, ,
Recently, the Tax Working Group (the Group) released its final report, setting out its recommendations and the design of the proposed broad taxation on capital gains (TCG) – aimed at addressing the structure, fairness and balance of our tax…

What happens when a visa is declined?

, , ,
Immigration applications are complex. There are multiple requirements to be met, some of which can seem contradictory.  Also, of course, the immigration authorities are as human as the rest of us.  Therefore, what can a migrant do, if he…

Court halts litigation spanning 25 years

, , ,
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…

Thinking of moving to New Zealand?

, ,
If you intend to move to New Zealand or have recently arrived, you need to be aware of legal issues that affect your ability to buy a home, and also your tax residence status which affects your tax liability in New Zealand, on foreign-sourced…

What the Trusts Bill could mean for you as a trustee?

, ,
Trusts are very popular in New Zealand and are used in a variety of ways to protect property, family members and manage assets. Between 300,000 to 500,000 trusts are operational in New Zealand, and the proposed changes will impact many New Zealanders. Following…

Final report of the Australian Royal Commission

, ,
The final report of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry was released on 4 February 2019. The report is bleak: it makes uncomfortable reading for anyone who participates in the…

What you need to know – employment and immigration law changes

, ,
The Employment Relations Amendment Act gained Royal Assent on 5 December 2018 and amends the Employment Relations Act 2000. The Minister of Immigration also announced proposed substantial changes to the immigration system, on 18 December 2018. It…

Financial services – Looking ahead to 2019

,
Legal reform and the financial services sector go hand-in-hand, with almost constant regulatory change the norm. Looking ahead to 2019, there are two developments which will need particular attention – good conduct, and changes to financial…

End of a relationship – New changes proposed on how your property and assets may be shared

Whether you are married, or in a de facto relationship, whether you have a pre-nup or not, in the event your relationship comes to an end either through separation or death the division of property and assets may be affected by the terms of…

Managing the risk of insolvency on a construction project

, ,
With the new Construction Contracts Act retentions regime in place, and rising construction costs, more and more businesses in the construction industry are facing solvency issues.  Contractors are finding their cashflow is tightening and margins…

Do you need to update your privacy policies before the new regulations bite?

Traditionally, privacy compliance has been perceived as relatively low risk – NZ businesses have not necessarily sought to comply with our privacy laws, typically because our Privacy Commissioner "lacked teeth".     That's…

Will the financial advice change affect you?

, , ,
The Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee has reported back on the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Bill (FSLAB). FSLAB will amend New Zealand's financial advice laws, by replacing the current stand-alone Financial…