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Ford Sumner’s focus on building strong relationships is what makes us special. Our clients trust us to get it right; because we do, many of them have worked with us since we began.

Our team collaborates to provide expert, personal and individualised service. We’re responsive, with a can-do attitude, and we always bring our ‘A’ game.

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Expertise

How can we help you?

OUR PEOPLE

Meet our team

Our team’s big enough to be experts across many fields, and small enough to know and care about each other, and our clients.

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Automated Documents

What does our legal document suite and automation software mean for our clients? Agreements to You is able to produce high-quality legal documentation in a shorter time – and with greater accuracy and less cost.  

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Latest legal news

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Do I Have To Pay My Unvaccinated Employees Redundancy Compensation? What exactly is the nature of an unvaccinated employee’s dismissal under a vaccine mandate? Are such dismissals redundancy situations and if so, will redundancy compensation need to be paid? Link
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Employers put on notice: vaccine mandates not a green light for termination The Employment Court has reinforced the need for employers to follow a robust consultation process when engaging with unvaccinated staff. Link
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It’s go time for Overseas Investment Act reforms – what you need to know about today’s changes Today (24 November 2021) marks the introduction of significant changes to the Overseas Investment Act 2005.  This is the final stage of reform which began in 2018. Link
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Time to negotiate: Commercial rent relief mandate enacted The COVID-19 Response (Management Measures) Legislation Act (“Act”) has come into force, mandating landlord and tenant rent relief negotiations in the COVID-19 pandemic from mid-August 2021. Link
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Employers Rejoice – Court of Appeal rules discretionary bonuses to no longer be included in Holiday Pay In 2020 the Employment Court in Metropolitan Glass & Glazing Limited v Labour Inspector (“Metropolitan Glass”) turned settled understanding of employers obligations to quantify holiday pay on its head when it determined short-term incentive or productivity-based discretionary bonuses ("STIB” schemes) fell within the definition of “gross earnings” under s 14 the Holidays Act 2003 (“the Act”).

This decision significantly limited the scope of payments that fell outside the definition of “gross earnings”, exposing many New Zealand employers to additional financial liabilities. It meant discretionary payments made under incentive or productivity-based schemes must be included in calculation of an employee’s gross earnings when determining their holiday pay entitlements
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Shopping for Medical Certificates and Vaccine Exemptions

Recently, the government announced a new traffic light system to replace the alert level system when 90% “double jabbed” vaccine coverage is reached in each District Health Board’s geographic area.

 

As part of this announcement, a number of legislative changes regarding vaccine mandates were signaled. Of particular note was the proposed, vaccination certificate regime, under which vaccinated Kiwis, along with those medically unable to be vaccinated, would enjoy a wider range of freedoms than those voluntarily unvaccinated.

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Covid-19 Commercial Rent Relief Update

Earlier this month, we wrote about the COVID-19 Response (Management Measures) Legislation Bill (“Bill”). If passed, the Bill will have the effect of inserting an implied clause into many commercial leases providing for a rent reduction where, because of an epidemic, the tenant cannot gain access to the premises to fully conduct its business.

 

The Bill has since been through a public consultation process and the Finance and Expenditure Committee (“Committee”) has now published a report which summarises the various submissions on the Bill that the Committee received.

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COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace: Obligations for employers (Part 3) Hot on the heels of our previous articles, the third instalment of our ‘Vaccinations in the Workplace’ series looks at new Worksafe guidelines for deciding whether certain work should be performed by a vaccinated worker. Link
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New 2021 Resident Visa Announced On 30 September 2021, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi announced the introduction of the new 2021 Resident Visa. Link
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Commercial rent relief to be mandated

A newly proposed law looks set to require commercial landlords to negotiate rent relief deals with their tenants, in a bid by the Government to counter the economic effects of COVID-19 lockdowns on New Zealand businesses. 

Parliament went into urgency on 29 September 2021 for the first reading of the COVID-19 Response (Management Measures) Legislation Bill (“Bill”). The Bill seeks to amend a number of existing laws, however, it is the changes the Bill proposes to make to the Property Law Act 2007 (“Act”) which have received the most attention thus far. 

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Dismissal for failing to vaccinate against Covid-19 - Employment Relations Authority has first word On 1 September 2021 the Employment Relations Authority (“Authority”) issued a decision in GF v New Zealand Customs Service [2021] NZERA 382 where it grappled with the vexed issue of an employee (“GF”) being dismissed from their employment for failing to vaccinate against Covid-19. Link
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Commercial leases and rent relief during the COVID-19 pandemic The effect of COVID-19 on New Zealand businesses has been profound. In the wake of the initial Alert Level 4 lockdown in March 2020, followed by several periods of Alert Level changes since then, commercial landlords and tenants were left out of pocket, scrambling to negotiate to reduce or defer rent and outgoings and in some cases, resorting to cancellation. Link
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COVID-19 Vaccinations in the Workplace: Obligations for Employers (Part 2) Following on from our last article, in this article we are covering off more questions regarding the debate around COVID-19 vaccinations in the employment context, and what employers should be vigilant of. Link
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COVID-19 Vaccinations in the Workplace: Obligations for Employers (Part 1)

New Zealand’s vaccination rollout has gathered pace with approximately 782,000 Kiwi’s now fully vaccinated.  As vaccination rates increase with the availability of the Pfizer vaccine (Vaccine) and the anticipated easing of some border restrictions, a number of questions from employers and employees will arise about their obligations and rights when it comes to workplace vaccination requirements.  

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Property purchasers beware! Rights of way: How to prevent neighbour warfare

A recent case has highlighted the importance of proper due diligence by purchasers in assessing legal title to a property and, more particularly, the effect of any right of way easement affecting the title.

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BEWARE LENDERS: New due diligence duty & fit and proper person certification for directors and senior managers

From 1 October 2021, directors and senior managers of lenders (i.e. a person or business providing credit under a consumer credit contract, including some mobile traders), must comply with new due diligence duties and obligations under the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 (the “CCCF Act”).

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Mainzeal: Round 2 of 3 The Court of Appeal’s recent judgment in Yan v Mainzeal Property & Construction Limited (in Liquidation) [2021] NZCA 99provides further guidance about the circumstances in which directors in office during a period of balance sheet insolvency will be held liable for breach of directors’ duties under the Companies Act 1993. Link
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Buyers and sellers beware! New Tax Rules 2021: What you need to consider when buying or selling a business If you are buying or selling a business this year, think carefully about how the purchase price should be allocated to the assets being sold/purchased.  Link
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Further COVID-19 relief available for SMEs Relief is now available for small and medium sized enterprises (“SMEs”) whose revenue has been affected by the recent COVID-19 Alert Level hikes (from Alert Level 1 to Level 2 for most of the country) during February 2021, with applications for grants and subsidies having recently opened on the Inland Revenue and Work and Income websites. Link
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Residential Tenancy changes – A new landscape for Landlords and Tenants The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020 came into force on 12 August 2020.  It changed the landscape for Landlords and Tenants in New Zealand by amending the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (“the Act”).  Whether you’re a Landlord or Tenant, here’s how the changes affect you. Link

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