Legal Updates

All Legal Updates

Employment Law and the 2020 Election - What's on offer?

New Zealand's General Election is being held on 17 October 2020. This article provides a snapshot of some of the parties’ proposed policies on wages and working conditions. 

Read more
Supreme Court decision heightens risk of personal liability for directors

After a long gestation period, the Supreme Court has released its judgment in Debut Homes v Cooper [2020] NZSC 100 which clarifies the circumstances in which a director of a closely-held company will be personally liable for debts incurred by a company following a decision to continue trading when the company is in financial difficulty.

Read more
Workplace Employment Investigators Require a Licence or Practicing Certificate
There has been a recent, and significant, clarification of the licensing requirements for employment investigators.
Read more
Supreme Court confirms mining legislation no longer gets the “special treatment”

The recent Supreme Court case of Rangitira Developments Limited v Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Incorporated [2020] NZSC 66 has clarified the legal position regarding the relationship between the Reserves Act and other relevant legislation.

Read more
Protecting your Personal Information in the Digital Age

From 1 December 2020, the Privacy Act 2020 (“the Act”) will replace the Privacy Act 1993 (“the 1993 Act”). The Act introduces sweeping reform to promote New Zealander’s confidence that their personal information is secure and treated properly by public and private sector agencies.

Read more
Employment Court widens the definition of gross earnings - Employers beware
Gross earnings provide the basis on which an employer calculates an employee’s annual holiday pay.
If an employer does not get this calculation right based on a misunderstanding of what constitutes ‘gross earnings’, they may find themselves in a situation where an employee’s holiday pay entitlements have been underpaid, resulting in an unexpected liability under the Holidays Act 2003 (“the Act”).
Read more
First Employment Relations Authority Determination on Government Wage Subsidy Pay Reductions and Dismissals
With the Government Wage Subsidy Extension continuing to be available until 20 October 2020, the Employment Relations Authority (“ERA”) on 30 June 2020 issued a timely determination on whether or not an employer is released from the obligation to pay wages or salary under an employee’s employment agreement and/or the Wages Protection Act 1983 by accepting the Government Wage Subsidy (“GWS”).
Read more
Small Businesses and Rent Disputes
Small businesses paying full rent on commercial leases when Covid-19 measures prevented them fully occupying their premises have today been given a pathway to rent reductions in a long-awaited government package released today.
Read more
Planning redundancies once your employees’ wage subsidy runs out? Not so fast!

Planning redundancies once your employees’ wage subsidy runs out? Not so fast!

Times are tough for many New Zealand businesses right now. As a result of Covid-19 and its implications, many businesses have had to lay off staff or temporarily or permanently close due to significant decreases in revenue.

Read more
COVID-19 – New Relief For Small Businesses – Government Small Business Cashflow Scheme

On 1 May 2020, the Government announced a new initiative to help small businesses grapple with the devastation inflicted by COVID-19 and the Government’s response to it: the Small Business Cashflow Scheme (SBCS).

Read more
Government Support for Business
The Government has this morning introduced a new suite of measures to provide relief for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Finance Minister Grant Robertson stated that the measures apply and impact on small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) in particular, and largely relate to tax payments and deadlines, commercial leasing and mortgages, and business advice.
Read more
Covid-19 – Changes to Company & Insolvency Law to help Preserve Businesses
Today the Government announced urgent legislative changes to the Companies Act 1993 (“the Act”) to help companies face the unique challenges presented by COVID-19.
Read more
Commercial Leases - Covid-19 and no access to premises
The spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand and the Government’s response of introducing a nationwide lockdown has meant that all non-essential businesses have closed for the initial 4 week period, preventing many businesses’ access to their premises. The unprecedented circumstances have left tenants and landlords scrambling to assess their obligations under leases, especially in relation to rent and outgoings payments.
Read more
Covid-19: Know your obligations as an employer
While the number cases of Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) in New Zealand remains relatively low, it is now inevitable that the outbreak will have a significant impact on many aspects of daily life. 
Read more
Chasing the Loan Sharks Out of the Water
The Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Bill (“CCLAB”) received Royal Assent on 19 December 2019, and introduces a number of changes that strengthen the requirements of responsible lending for banks and financial institutions.
Read more
REINZ/ADLS Agreement for Sale and Purchase – Update 2019
Banking on pulling out of purchasing a property? Not so fast!
Read more
Turbulence in the regions 2
In this second article in our three-part series, we look at some of the important changes to aviation law contained in the Civil Aviation Bill. This topic formed part of presentations by Ford Sumner’s Jaesen Sumner and Sarah Churstain at the recent New Zealand Airports’ Conference.
Read more
Turbulence in the regions?
Big legal changes are currently on the horizon for New Zealand’s aviation industry. When the Civil Aviation Bill has its First Reading and is referred to the Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee during the next 18 months, it will represent the culmination of over half a decade of policy work by officials at the Ministry of Transport, begun under the last National Government.
Read more
Trusts Act Overhaul – What You Need To Know
The Government has introduced significant changes to trust law that will impact anyone that is a trustee or beneficiary of a trust in New Zealand.  It is important for trustees and beneficiaries to be aware of the influence the changes will have on their rights and obligations.  In short, trustees will face increased compliance requirements and beneficiaries will receive a greater amount of information about the trust.
Read more
Do you offer financial advice? You may want to read ours...
The Government has introduced a new financial advice regime that will likely impact any business or individual involved in the delivery of financial advice, services or products in New Zealand.
Read more
A reminder to chatterboxes - Confidential remains confidential
Parties to a Record of Settlement (“ROS”) may be subject to penalties under the Employment Relations Act 2000 (“the Act”) if they breach agreed terms of settlement.
Read more
A lifeline for the construction industry? New procurement rules announced

New Zealand’s construction industry is growing rapidly. In recent years, the industry has used a ‘lowest price model’ approach when awarding construction projects. This has led construction companies to cut costs and under cut each other to secure tenders.

Read more
Fair Trading Act Reminder

The Commerce Commission (“the Commission”) recently took issue with Hell Pizza as a result of its online advertising of the “Burger Pizza”.

Read more
Subbies suck it up again?
On 5 September, Auckland and Waikato-based Stanley Group/Tallwood became the latest in a long line of construction companies to go to the wall.  Initial estimates put the amount owed to creditors at $5 million, with individual subcontractors reportedly owed up to $600,000.
Read more
Incorporated societies update - do your clubs rules need a refresh
The suspensions occurred in the context of Avondale’s prospective plans to rationalise its landholding.
Read more
Overstepping on your restraint of trade clause
The recent High Court case of Commerce Commission v First Gas Limited highlights the need for businesses to think carefully about restraint of trade clauses when it comes to their contractual arrangements.
Read more
High Court exercises jurisdiction to award non-party costs
A recent decision in the High Court in the case of Minister of Education v H Construction North Island Ltd (in rec and liq) has seen a parent company, uninvolved as a party to the legal proceedings, be ordered to pay non-party costs of over a million dollars.
Read more
Law changes for rental properties
From 1 July 2019, several significant changes came into effect which impact landlords, residential tenants and property managers. 
Read more
Court of Appeal rules on interest rate swaps

The Court of Appeal at the end of June held in Bushline and Coomey v ANZ that ANZ’s representations to dairy farmer borrowers were false and of legal consequence

Read more
Breaks legislation – Do employees have to take breaks?

The law regarding break allowances for employees has recently changed.

The Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018 has amended the Employment Relations Act 2000 to state that:

“an employee is entitled to, and the employee’s employer must provide the employee with, rest breaks and meal breaks”.

Are you up to speed with the new changes and what they require?

Read more
Are You Still Relying on Employment Trial Periods?

Trial periods are no longer available for employers with more than 19 employees

If you are an employer that relies on trial period provisions when employing new employees, you need to be aware that the law has now changed.

If you have over 19 employees, you can no longer use a 90 day trial period and any attempt to use one will not be effective.  A new approach is needed.

Read more
Changes to Employment Law in 2019
We address recent changes to the Victims' Protection Act 2018 and the Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018.
Read more
Employment Law Changes

The Employment Relations Amendment Bill 2018 was passed on 5 December. There are 3 stages of changes, taking effect the day after the date the Bill becomes an Act (expected to be this week), 6 months after the date the Bill becomes an Act, and then 6 May 2019.

Read more