vLex New Zealand

  • Was Budget 2020 a missed opportunity?

    There’s no question that helping the economy stabilise and recover was the first and pressing priority for the government, and the predominance of the ongoing COVID-19 support package was no surprise. But equally there can surely have been few greater opportunities than this to act boldly on the climate crisis, and for now, at least, that appears to be a missed opportunity. There was little funding for green investment or any kind of adaptation that might contribute to lowering potential emissions of economy of the nation’s economic activities. Please see full hub below for more information. (See Article)

    May 29, 2020 8:32 AM

  • COVID-19 red-tape cutting measures: Practical relief for KiwiSaver and lending processes – but why is it only temporary?

    The speed with which the Government and regulators responded to the regulatory compliance challenges thrown at New Zealand by the COVID-19 lockdown has been impressive. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the tightly prescribed environment within which financial service providers must operate. Much of the relief provided in response to the Epidemic Preparedness (COVID-19) Notice 2020 (COVID Notice) was on a short term basis. As yet, there has been no suggestion that any consumer harm has arisen as a result of this increased flexibility and the embracing of modern technology to cater for lockdown and remote working practices. That raises the question – do these emergency responses actually highlight the fact that some of the regulatory red-tape faced by our financial service provider sector is no longer fit for purpose? Please see full hub below for more information. (See Article)

    May 29, 2020 6:33 AM

  • Construction with COVID-19: Could you need a contractual reset?

    The new normal for construction is a large lurch, and lowered productivity will be unavoidable. New standards and protocols essentially add up to the familiar prescription: adequate distancing, comprehensive record keeping, due care. What that will entail varies between construction type, site size, and the nature of activity, but clearly it will not be possible to maintain levels of productivity that were being achieved before lockdown. (See Article)

    May 25, 2020 6:33 AM

  • What changes to expect in NZ’s overseas investment laws next month – and why New Zealand remains open for business

    As recently announced by the Government, certain amendments to the Overseas Investment Act 2005 (‘Act’) will be fast-tracked into law in response to COVID-19. A number of significant changes were already proposed for the Act before New Zealand went into ‘lockdown’ in late March – but now, some of these initiatives, including a particular ‘urgent’ measure, will be implemented ahead of schedule. (See Article)

    May 20, 2020 6:32 AM

  • Level 2 – What are the key employment and health and safety issues?

    The Prime Minister announced on 11 May that we will move to Alert Level 2 on Thursday 14 May 2020. Last week the government provided guidance on what Alert Level 2 will look like. In summary, while there is more freedom of movement in Alert Level 2, the core message is to play it safe. (See Article)

    May 18, 2020 8:32 AM

  • When it rains, it pours...

    Grant Robertson’s rainy day Budget just poured billions – with many more billions still to come – into saving and creating jobs. If the plan works (and it is still being developed to match rapidly changing economic circumstances) then New Zealand’s economy may be spared the worst of what the Prime Minister calls ‘dire global predictions’. Please see full article below for more information. (See Article)

    May 18, 2020 6:33 AM

  • Whistle-stop consenting for economic reboot - the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-Track Consenting) Bill

    Cabinet has released a paper which provides further detail on the government’s proposal to fast track consenting processes for various projects to provide immediate economic stimulus. (See Article)

    May 15, 2020 8:33 AM

  • COVID-19: Alert Level 2 – starting the ‘new normal’ in the retail sector

    Last week, the Prime Minister provided guidance on what Alert Level 2 will look like and today businesses will be pleased to be getting back to work in the ‘new normal’ as we move to Alert Level 2. However, many won’t have had much of an opportunity to consider the practicalities around a return to work. Here are some things you should make sure you consider before opening the doors. (See Article)

    May 15, 2020 6:32 AM

  • Independent contractor or employee – a 'land-mark' decision

    While most have been focused on the implications of COVID-19 on employment relationships, the Employment Court has released what has been described as a “land-mark” decision with respect to the classification of employment relationships, determining that a courier driver ostensibly engaged as a contractor was in fact an employee. (See Article)

    May 13, 2020 8:32 AM

  • Consumer credit update: Changes to reform timetable and impact of COVID-19

    In our mid-March consumer credit update, we outlined the latest legislative changes from the consumer credit law reform programme, and marked out some key dates in the implementation timeline. That was released just before the COVID-19 lockdown hit us, and the world as we knew it changed – including the timetable for implementing some of the new rules and regulations in the consumer finance space. (See Article)

    May 12, 2020 8:32 AM

  • Important issues related to COVID-19 for commercial landlords and tenants to consider under alert level 2

    Businesses will be eager to return to work following Monday’s announcement that we will move to alert level 2 from Thursday 14 May 2020. Under alert level 2 most commercial premises will be able to open if they can do so safely and in accordance with Government guidance. It is important for commercial landlords and tenants to remember the following points relating to health and safety and leasing arrangements generally. (See Article)

    May 12, 2020 6:33 AM

  • When more debt is not an option - raising capital through equity finance

    Businesses of all shapes and sizes are being pushed to the brink. As the revenue drops and the outgoings continue, even businesses with strong balance sheets and healthy working capital accounts are feeling the pinch. The old saying that ‘cash is king’ has never been more relevant. (See Article)

    May 11, 2020 8:32 AM

  • Further changes to hearing processes under the RMA during COVID-19

    A timely announcement from the government has proposed further legislative changes to clarify the practicalities of virtual hearings under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) during New Zealand’s response to COVID-19: Virtual hearings: Specifically authorises council RMA hearings to be conducted using a ‘remote access facility’ (audio/ audiovisual link or similar) if the council considers it ‘appropriate and fair to do so’ and is satisfied that the necessary remote facilities are available. (See Article)

    May 11, 2020 6:33 AM

  • Further details provided on ‘safe harbour’ and business debt hibernation schemes

    At the beginning of last month, the government announced that it would introduce a number of changes to the Companies Act 1993. These changes included a ‘safe harbour’ scheme for directors in respect of their duties under sections 135 and 136 of the Act and a business debt hibernation scheme. Now that Parliament is sitting again, the government has introduced a Bill to bring these changes into effect and we expect it to come into force in the next couple of weeks. In this article, we set out a few key details in the Bill. (See Article)

    May 7, 2020 6:32 AM

  • Health and safety issues related to COVID-19 to consider when working under alert level 3

    Now that we are in alert level 3, many more businesses are able to return to work if they can do while ‘operating safely’. It is timely to bear in mind the following important points relating to workplace health and safety. Under the HSW Act, a PCBU must engage with workers who are directly affected by a matter relating to work health or safety. That includes when the PCBU is making decisions about how to eliminate or minimise risks, including those related to COVID-19. Any changes or proposed changes to health and safety policies and procedures to deal with the return to work at alert level 3 should be discussed with workers in accordance with your existing worker engagement procedures. (See Article)

    May 6, 2020 6:32 AM

  • Update to IPONZ services during the COVID-19 pandemic

    The impacts of COVID-19 have had far-reaching effects on businesses, both in terms of the economic effects and capacity to attend to day-to-day matters. The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (‘IPONZ’) has recognised the material impact COVID-19 continues to have on business's and the community, and has adjusted its approach to deadlines to reflect the disruption. Accordingly, IPONZ has advised that certain due dates for cases and tasks will be automatically extended – for example, deadlines to respond to trade mark compliance reports. (See Article)

    May 5, 2020 8:32 AM

  • Bypassing the RMA on the journey to economic recovery

    Yesterday the government released the eagerly awaited details of its proposal to fast-track consenting processes for projects, aimed at kick starting New Zealand’s economic recovery. The new legislation, due to be passed in June, will largely remove the public submission and hearing process for those projects approved by the Minister for the Environment, David Parker. Instead, small panels of experts, chaired by an Environment Court Judge or senior lawyers, will decide whether consent should be granted. The proposed legislation will contain a two-year sunset clause and will be repealed in June 2022 if not before. (See Article)

    May 5, 2020 6:32 AM

  • New Zealand International Review

    Issue number #45-2 (March 2020) of publication New Zealand International Review is now available

    May 1, 2020 6:27 AM

  • Restructuring amidst COVID-19: Practical tips for employers

    COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on many businesses, some of which are now in a position where they must consider making changes to ensure their continued viability, including reducing operating costs and letting staff go. This update provides some practical guidance for employers considering restructuring their businesses and redundancies in the context of COVID-19. (See Article)

    Apr 24, 2020 6:31 PM

  • Moving from doing not much at all to doing what can be done safely: What Alert Level 3 will look like

    Details of Alert Level 3 were released by the government on 16 April 2020. While a specific date for this transition has not been provided, the information provides all of New Zealand a chance to prepare for the future. The overriding principle for Alert Level 3, the government has said, is to stay at home, other than for essential personal movement and going to work and school. Please see full article below for more information. (See Article)

    Apr 22, 2020 8:31 AM

  • Once the emergency is over we need to ask what we have done

    New Zealand has never experienced anything like this pandemic. Overnight, personal freedoms were curtailed, businesses were forced to stop trading, schools were closed and workers were prevented from earning a living. The powers being wielded are the product of an earlier health scare – avian or bird flu which spread quickly, mainly across Asia and Europe from 2004 – 2006. Checks and balances built into the legislation include limiting the duration of any such action and requiring Parliament to meet as soon as practicable afterwards. But now the theoretical has become a reality such levers look very light indeed. Please see full analysis below for more information. (See Article)

    Apr 22, 2020 6:32 AM

  • Doing more business with data means doing more work on privacy

    Out of lockdown many organisations will be collecting and dealing with more data than ever, and more sensitive data than ever before. That could be for the purposes of offering products and services in what’s recently been coined the ‘shut-in economy.’ It could also be in order to to better protect personnel, clients, and end-customers from the spread of the virus. (See Article)

    Apr 21, 2020 4:32 PM

  • What does alert level 3 mean for your business, and returning to work?

    The Government announced today that we will move to Alert Level 3 next week. Last week, the Prime Minister provided guidance on what Alert Level 3 will look like. The guidance around what Alert Level 3 will look like was provided in advance so that businesses can begin to prepare for a return to work. In summary, Alert Level 3 remains restrictive. The core message of Stay At Home remains. Not all businesses can re-open. If you can work from home, you are required to do that. So, for many, life will go on in home office bubbles for at least the next three weeks. (See Article)

    Apr 21, 2020 2:32 PM

  • Cryptopia: High Court decides cryptocurrency is property and it was held on trust for account holders

    A recent High Court judgement, following an application for directions by the liquidators of Cryptopia Limited (in liquidation), has brought some much needed clarity on the legal status of cryptocurrency. While many questions remain as to the legal and regulatory framework governing cryptocurrency, the High Court’s decision that it does constitute property and, therefore, in this case, was capable of being held on trust for account holders, brings greater certainty not just to the creditors and accountholders of Cryptopia, but also to others looking to invest in cryptocurrency. (See Article)

    Apr 20, 2020 8:32 AM

  • NZ Government Announcements affecting Landlords and Tenants in the COVID-19 environment

    New Zealand has reached the end of the third week of a 4 week mandatory lockdown period where all non-essential businesses have had to shut their premises. While some businesses have had the capability to generate revenue and operate from home, a lot of businesses around the country have been unable to operate without access to their premises. While the Government has stepped in to assist with wage subsidies, tenants previously operating all over New Zealand have had to review one of their largest outgoings: rent. (See Article)

    Apr 20, 2020 6:32 AM

  • Consumer credit update

    Hot on the heels of the Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Act (the Amendment Act) being passed into law on 19 December 2019, the consumer credit law reform programme has not lost any of its momentum in 2020. (See Article)

    Mar 24, 2020 7:33 AM

  • Preparing for the Insolvency Practitioners Regulation Act 2019

    With just three months until the Insolvency Practitioners Regulation Act 2019 (IPRA) changes come in, what should you be doing to prepare? With the IPRA fast approaching, we set out what insolvency practitioners should be doing to prepare for the changes. (See Article)

    Mar 23, 2020 7:33 AM

  • Update for employers on Government Covid-19 package

    The Government announcement yesterday introduces some important new factors that, for any reorganisation process to be fair, will need to be factored into decision making around potential cost-saving proposals. First, and most directly, the wage subsidy scheme may provide an alternative option to avoid redundancies. Secondly, there are measures to help businesses economically, and thirdly, there is financial support for workers who are ill or required to be isolated. (See Article)

    Mar 20, 2020 9:32 AM

  • Preparing for the IPRA

    With just three months until the Insolvency Practitioners Regulation Act 2019 (IPRA) changes come in, what should you be doing to prepare? With the IPRA fast approaching, we set out what insolvency practitioners should be doing to prepare for the changes. (See Article)

    Mar 20, 2020 7:32 AM

  • COVID-19 and contractual obligations (New Zealand)

    COVID-19’s effects are having a significant impact on the global economy and are likely to cause considerable disruption to commercial activities. As a result, many New Zealand companies are bracing for major changes to what was only a few weeks ago considered “business as usual”. (See Article)

    Mar 19, 2020 9:32 AM