News

Proposed Income Insurance Schemes

May 25, 2022

Every year, more than 100,000 workers in New Zealand are laid off or lose their jobs through no fault of their own. In February, the government proposed a new compulsory insurance scheme for all employees. This would provide most Kiwis with 80% of their regular salary for a minimum of seven months if they lose work through no fault of their own (including a health condition or redundancy).

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2022 Budget - Commentary on the Minister's Main Points

May 25, 2022

The Minister of Finance, the Hon Grant Robertson, presented the government’s Wellbeing Budget to the House on Thursday, 19 May. With inflation running at a 30-year high at 6.9%, and similar levels of inflation with most of our trading partners, rising interest rates, the stock market in the doldrums, the knock-on effects of the Ukrainian war and the continuing situation with Covid, the government is walking an economic tightrope.

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Forestry Update

May 13, 2022

Forestry is attracting a great deal of interest and opportunity right now. This rapidly growing area faces challenges in terms of public opinion, regulation and general understanding. With all that is going on, where does this leave the agricultural sector in terms of sequestering carbon and the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)? We update you on some current issues.

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He Waka Eke Noa

May 13, 2022

He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) is a partnership established to reduce the emissions generated by the primary sector. It works to equip farmers to measure, manage and reduce on-farm agriculture greenhouse emissions and to provide sustainable farming practices for future generations.

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Not sure of your Boundary?

March 24, 2022

All property owners, whether commercial or residential, must ensure that any structure on their property is located within its legal boundaries. These boundaries cannot be moved without the property’s title also being changed. Sometimes, however, the legal boundaries do not match up with structures (such as a fence or a building) on that property. What happens when the title does not match what is literally ‘on the ground’?

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Resource Consents

March 24, 2022

The Resource Management Act 1991 places restrictions on how your land can be used; this is done by the issuing of consents. Their purpose is to limit any adverse effects that your intended use of your property may cause to neighbours’ properties or the environment. If you are a property owner, or you lease premises to operate your business, we explain below the various types of consent that you may come across from time to time.

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Caring for Kiwis who cannot make decisions for themselves

February 15, 2022

In the Spring 2021 edition of Trust eSpeaking, we looked at whether someone in New Zealand could end up in a similar situation to American entertainer Britney Spears. Britney was under a conservatorship (or guardianship) arrangement that was established against her wishes.

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Gift or Loan?

February 15, 2022

The trusty Kiwi “She’ll be right” approach is often manifested in a reluctance to formally document intra-family lending arrangements. Catch cries of “I trust the kids to sort things out between themselves after I’m gone” and “My new partner says she will never make a claim and I believe her” are common, but all too often lead to disputes down the track. In this article, we look at three different scenarios that are based on Maddy’s story.

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'Nuisance' Is still relevant in court

December 16, 2021

Many of us are familiar with the tort of negligence — an act or omission by one party that causes loss to another party. Inherent in a negligence claim is the concept of ‘fault’. A recent case illustrates why nuisance, a tort similar to negligence except that fault is not necessary, is still relevant.

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Co-owning a Property

June 20, 2022

For many, owning a property simply involves having your own name recorded on the title. There are some situations, however, where you might share property ownership with friends, family or business partners.

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Land Covenants

June 20, 2022

A covenant is an instrument registered against land that governs how an owner or occupier can use their land. The land bound by the terms of the covenant is referred to as the ‘burdened land’ as that has the burden (although not all covenants are negative) of complying with the terms of the covenant.

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Water Services Act 2021

December 16, 2021

Water has been very much in the news lately, particularly with the government’s proposed Three Waters Reform Programme. The Three Waters Reform generally deals with the transfer of water infrastructure (drinking water, wastewater and stormwater) to four new water service delivery entities.

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Lockdown rent relief – are there remedies?

November 22, 2021

For many of us the recent lockdown brought a sense of déjà vu. Once again, a number of us were back juggling Zoom calls while supervising school work from the confines of our own homes. The landlords and tenants amongst us were again grappling with the issue of how the lockdown affects lease obligations.

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Defining a de facto relationship

November 22, 2021

You may have heard that ‘Marriage is betting someone half your stuff that you’ll love them forever’. But what happens about the ‘stuff’ you own before you formally say “I do”? The law providing equal sharing of relationship property automatically begins after three years in a de facto relationship. However, what a de facto relationship looks like, and when it starts, isn’t always obvious and is often the subject of a dispute.

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Caveats

October 29, 2021

The Latin word ‘caveat’ literally translates to ‘let him beware’. In a legal sense, caveats are generally used to protect the proprietary rights of the person registering the caveat by stopping the registered owner of the property from transferring, mortgaging or otherwise dealing with the property.

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Disputes in Contracts

October 29, 2021

Building your own home or doing renovations can be a way to get exactly what you want in your residential property. Even with the best preparation and planning, however, there are things that can go wrong in a build: the work may not be completed in the agreed timeframe, the quality may be poor or there may be surprise costs. One current common issue is unexpected delays or costs due to Covid-related supply disruptions. If you find yourself in one of these situations, there are a few things to keep…

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Lease vs Licence

October 11, 2021

Choosing the premises from which to operate your business can be daunting; it is essential that you know you are entering into the right type of agreement to suit your intentions. Leases and licences are common contractual arrangements. Although both are similar, there are crucial differences between them which can have significant implications for anyone who owns or occupies commercial premises. Knowing their differences, and when to use each, will help prevent any confusion, conflict or loss that…

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Bonding Agreements

October 11, 2021

Bonding agreements can be an incredibly useful tool for ensuring employers can recoup costs incurred for training staff. Used improperly however, bonding agreements may be unenforceable and – in some circumstances – be a clear breach of the Wages Protection Act 1983 (WPA). We look at two of the most common issues with bonding agreements as well as what should be considered for enforceable agreements.

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The Wellbeing Budget 2019

June 10, 2019

As expected the government’s The Wellbeing Budget, presented by the Minister of Finance, the Hon Grant Robertson, on 30 May focussed very much on mental health and child wellbeing.

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PPSR Lease Losses

June 10, 2019

When the Personal Property Securities Register (the PPSR) was established in 1999, most businesses were quick to catch on that it was a good idea to register security over goods that were sold under a line of credit. What wasn’t so easily recognised is that the register was designed to also capture leases of goods that are indefinite or extend past one year. 

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Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman

April 10, 2019

The Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman office (IFSO) was established in 1995 to help consumers who were in dispute with their insurers or financial services providers. The IFSO1 is a free, independent entity to which you can lodge a complaint regarding the conduct and decisions of insurance and financial services providers, once you have exhausted that provider’s internal complaints procedures.

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Accessing the Assets of a Trust

February 26, 2019

When a marriage, civil union or de facto relationship breaks down, the couple will usually divide their property according to the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (the PRA). However, these two people often hold property in a trust rather than personally.

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No Enduring Power of Attorney?

February 26, 2019

Most people are now aware of the importance of having an enduring power of attorney (EPA). If you are unable to make decisions for yourself at any stage (either temporarily or longer term) it is important there is someone in place to act on your behalf. What happens to you, and your family situation, if you have no EPA?

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Do I Still Need a Trust?

January 21, 2019

If you have a family trust set up a number of years ago, it’s good practice to review it to ensure it is still ‘fit for purpose’. Leading on from that is the question that is often asked of us, “Should I bring my trust to an end?”

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How do I Bring My Trust To an End?

January 21, 2019

It has been estimated that there are between 300,000-500,000 trusts in this country. Trusts have been established for many different reasons, including estate planning, creditor protection, to ensure access to rest home subsidies, tax benefits or for protection from relationship property claims.

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What Happens When Your Employee Wants to Retract Their Resignation?

January 21, 2019

We all know that people can sometimes say things in the heat of the moment which, on reflection, they didn’t really mean. What happens when your employee quits suddenly, perhaps by storming out of your workplace as a result of a disagreement? As an employer, can you take this as a resignation? What happens if your employee has a change of heart and wants to return to work?

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Receivership of Construction Companies

January 21, 2019

In light of Ebert Construction’s recent receivership, not taking protective measures opens subcontractors up to recovery and enforcement issues. If you are a subcontractor, you should think about how to prevent your tools and equipment (including cranes and scaffolding) from being seized and sold by a receiver, and to ensure you have the best chance of getting paid.

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Changes Affecting Every Buyer of Residential Land

January 21, 2019

Overseas Investment Amendment Act 2018 is now in force. The implication for you is that when you next buy residential property, there will be another layer of compliance to be completed before your property purchase goes through.

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Buying a Cross Lease Property

January 21, 2019

New Zealanders love to talk about property. There are a multitude of topics relating to property that Kiwis have an intimate knowledge and understanding about which form the topic of water cooler and dinner conversation. The cross lease is just one of those many topics of conversation.

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Agri-Tourism and Food

January 21, 2019

Agri-tourism and food are growing sectors in New Zealand. We have farm tourism where tourists are shown working farms with activities such as sheep dog and shearing exhibitions. Artisan producers are growing their own products and then processing them into, say, cheese, and free-range pigs are becoming salami, bacon and ham.

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Wandering Stock

January 21, 2019

One of the perennial problems that farmers face is that of stock wandering or stock getting out and interfering with, or causing damage to, neighbouring properties. Generally speaking, the issue of having a small number of stock grazing on your land for a short time until they are put back in the neighbour’s property may not be too great a concern.

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New Website for Kaimai Law Bethlehem

January 23, 2019

Kaimai Law Bethlehem are starting off 2019 with a brand new website. The new design features photos that reflect our love of our local landscapes and new profiles of our staff so our clients can get to know them better. The new site also features a revamped news section that will enable us to keep our clients abreast of important legal matters in New Zealand.

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Construction Industry and its Retentions Scheme

January 30, 2019

The collapse last year of Ebert Construction Limited took many in the construction industry by surprise, particularly its subcontractors who were owed retention moneys. In our Spring 2018 edition (No 50) we published an article on Ebert Construction and subcontractors which had a section on retention moneys. Since then, the High Court decision has provided some guidance on the retentions scheme under the Construction Contracts Act 2002. We explain the main aspects of that decision and how subcontractors…

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Potpourri of Employment Law Changes Ahead

January 30, 2019

Last year saw many changes in the employment law sphere, with the Labour-led government delivering on promises of reform in this area. Of particular significance are the changes incorporated into the Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018 that was passed late last year. These changes will affect both employers and employees. We summarise some of these below.

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Tenure Review Of Crown Pastoral Land To End

March 25, 2019

Tenure Review Of Crown Pastoral Land To End

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Property Sale and Purchase

May 28, 2019

Generally speaking, GST on a property sale and purchase between two GST-registered entities results in a ‘GST neutral’ position for both the seller and the buyer. It’s essential that the sale and purchase agreement contains the correct wording, particulars and information in respect of the GST position of the parties to the agreement. 

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Looking For Your First Home?

May 28, 2019

The purchase of your first home may be more in reach than you think. In 2018, the government aligned the purchase price limits of existing first home buyer schemes with the newly-launched KiwiBuild programme. As a first home buyer, or an eligible ‘second-chancer’, you could use these schemes to help you into your new home, sooner.

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National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry

March 25, 2019

National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry

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Are You a Landlord or Looking to Buy a Rental Property?

May 31, 2019

From 1 July 2020, landlords will be required to provide additional details in their new or renewed tenancy agreements on how their property meets the standards

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Action Plan for Healthy Waterways

December 17, 2019

Water quality is no new issue in Aotearoa New Zealand, but it is a growing one. On 31 October 2019, the government closed submissions on the Action Plan for Healthy Waterways. The Plan has since been referred to an independent advisory panel that will consider the public’s submissions and report back to the government. The panel consists of five members with expertise in a range of areas including dairy farming, environmental law, hydrology and water management. Introducing the Plan, Environment…

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Rural Leases; More on COVID and access issues to land

August 12, 2020

In the Autumn edition of Rural eSpeaking we discussed the situation that COVID had caused with leases where tenants were unable to access their premises due to lockdown restrictions. Potential issues for the rural leasing sector arose from this problem, particularly given that rural leases are often in a different form to urban commercial property leases.

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On-Farm Emissions Reduction

December 17, 2019

On 24 October 2019 the primary sector launched the ‘Primary Sector Climate Change Commitment: He Waka Eke Noa – our future in our hands to manage agricultural emissions.’ He Waka Eke Noa kicks off a collaborative five-year joint action plan between the agriculture sector, the government and iwi with the target of decreasing farming emissions and developing a farm emissions pricing scheme. If the action plan produces satisfactory results, agriculture will not be brought into the Emissions Trading…

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National Environmental Standards for Freshwater 2020

August 12, 2020

Water was the hot topic in the 2017 election campaign. This year, with an election coming up shortly, there seems to have been little talk of water (or much policy at all, so far) with COVID still taking up most of the news space, closely followed by scandals of various sorts.

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Leasing Commercial Properties

November 6, 2019

Commercial leases come in varying shapes and sizes. Whether you operate a transport business and need a place to park your trucks, manufacture and sell goods from a warehouse or conduct your trade from a boutique store in the heart of the CBD, your lease agreement will be at the heart of your business. Before you sign a lease, there are a number of core issues to consider. It is important to do your homework and talk with us before you commit to anything.

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Residential Tenancies

November 6, 2019

The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019 came into force on 27 August 2019. This legislation affects both landlords and tenants in a number of ways including limiting a tenant’s liability for careless damage in rental properties, and how methamphetamine (meth) contamination of rental properties is to be tested and managed. Landlords are also now required to provide a statement in the tenancy agreement about the property’s insurance.

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Emissions Trading Scheme

July 24, 2019

New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) was established by the Climate Change Response Act 2002. The ETS was created as the vehicle for New Zealand to meet its obligations for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. The purpose of the ETS is to achieve a reduction in GHG emissions through emissions trading. Emissions trading is the exchange of carbon credits between those parties with surplus credits and those who are required to contribute credits as compensation…

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People and the right information are vital for effective governance

July 24, 2019

The damage from governance failure can be profound, and can attract significant unwelcome media and public scrutiny. Focusing on the learnings from these cases is how we can get some real benefit and continuous improvement in corporate governance.

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Commercial Leases Post - COVID

June 25, 2020

Clause 27.5 and inability to access premises: In the past three months, most landlords and tenants would have become more familiar with the details of their lease. In particular, most will be looking at how clause 27.5 of the Auckland District Law Society (ADLS) lease applies to the government-imposed lockdown that we have all experienced as a result of COVID-19.

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Residential Tenancies Post- COVID

June 25, 2020

Due to the COVID lockdown and the ensuing impact on the country’s economy, the government has made temporary changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. These changes restrict a landlord’s ability to increase the rent or to end residential tenancies. If you are a landlord, you should read on to ensure you are not inadvertently breaching this temporary law change.

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COVID Relief Roundup

September 17, 2020

Since the pandemic arrived on our shores, the government has made available multiple types of financial relief; more than one may be available to your business. Although applications under the popular Wage Subsidy Scheme ended on 1 September 2020, other options are still available for support if you need it.

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OIO Temporary Emergency Notification Requirement

September 17, 2020

It seems as though the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has been under constant evolution over the last two years. In June, the OIO enacted a change that now requires all overseas purchasers of New Zealand business assets to submit a notification to the OIO before the transaction takes place — regardless of the asset value. This submission will allow the OIO to monitor and prevent New Zealand asset ownership being unnecessarily diluted due to stressed sales caused by unprecedented economic pressures…

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2021 Rural Leases

May 6, 2021

Leasing of farms, orchards and cropping land is becoming more common. It is a good way for farming operations to expand without capital commitments involved in buying land. For landowners, it can be a useful way to retain ownership of the capital but give away the day-to-day farming operations, either through a desire to semi-retire or to hold the farming asset for a period while family or continued ownership issues are resolved.

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Buying off the plans

July 9, 2021

It’s no secret that the housing market in New Zealand is incredibly competitive at the moment. Already on a trajectory pre-Covid, demand has shot up since New Zealand came out of lockdown. Many people are choosing to ‘nest’ rather than spend on overseas holidays and thousands of expats are returning home earlier than planned.

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2021 Trusts

May 6, 2021

Trusts have long been the preferred vehicle for farm ownership. Historically, holding a property through a trust meant that ownership did not change on the death of the farmer and, therefore, any death duties could be avoided during the generational change. There were also significant advantages in being able to allocate income amongst a group of beneficiaries according to their personal tax rates; this was particularly popular during the 1970s and 1980s when there were high marginal tax rates.

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Post-Covid Working World

July 9, 2021

Over the past 18 months, we have seen significant changes to employees’ hours of work, rates of remuneration and the expansion of flexible working arrangements as businesses have adapted to the Covid economy.

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Buying your first home using KiwiSaver funds

August 24, 2021

But you’re already the trustee of a trust. The rules around the use of KiwiSaver have evolved over recent years as banks and other financial institutions have developed their understanding of the KiwiSaver regime. KiwiSaver members may use their funds to help buy their first home; this is straightforward. What happens, however, if you want to buy your first home and you are already a trustee of a trust that owns property?

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Estate laws due for a shake-up

August 24, 2021

The laws about the administration of estates are being reviewed by the Law Commission. Much of what has been proposed so far is uncontroversial but there are some recommendations that may prove unpopular, although they are likely to be refined during the Parliamentary process.

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Congratulations Tayla!

August 19, 2020

Congratulations to Tayla Yim-Loy who was Admitted to the Bar as a Solicitor and Barrister of the High Court of New Zealand on Friday 14 August 2020, at the Hamilton High Court.

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Shareholdings for Employees or Family Members

February 19, 2020

Bringing a key employee or a family member into your business by offering them a shareholding can be a powerful motivator and a significant indicator of how much you value their contributions to your success. However, the process should be done carefully with a robust shareholders’ agreement and company constitution, as there are many facets of the company-shareholder relationship that must be agreed upon to ensure a harmonious future between yourself and the new shareholders.

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Restructuring your business

February 19, 2020

New year, new you – new business structure? Restructuring is common in the new year when business owners feel refreshed and ready to take on the next challenge. The process however, is often shrouded in uncertainty (and stress) for employees. Following the correct procedure for a restructure will allow your employees time to feel heard and to ensure decisions are made in good faith. They need to know your plans so they can ask the right questions and get the required support during a restructuring…

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Emission Control

July 1, 2020

What the Zero Carbon Act means for business One of the most significant pieces of new legislation introduced last year was the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019, more commonly referred to as the ‘Zero Carbon Act’.

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Charities in New Zealand

July 1, 2020

Charities play an important role in our society to help the disadvantaged, support specific causes or to advance knowledge. In New Zealand we have more than 27,000 registered charities, with 230,000+ volunteers and 180,000 paid staff1. Many of these charities are structured as trusts which can be incorporated and run as a trust board by the trustees.

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Succession and Trust law changes

February 19, 2021

A significant change to the succession laws relating to Māori land came into force on 6 February 2021 (Waitangi Day). Te Puni Kōkiri states that the amendments to Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 are intended to better support whānau to succeed to their land by:

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Trustees' Expenses

February 19, 2021

Should be reimbursed, but no need for extravagance. When trustees incur expenses, they are not expected to be out of pocket in carrying out their responsibilities. Trustees are entitled to use trust money or to get a refund from the trust fund if they incur expenses in carrying out their duties. Trustees’ expenses, however, must be fair and reasonable. A recent case shows why it is also important to be sure that you can trust your trustee not to take advantage of the right to claim expenses.

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Subdivisions

August 5, 2019

Subdivisions are more common than you think. A subdivision can range from the carving up of hundreds of acres of rural land for housing, developing land in a prime commercial area, selling half your quarter-acre section or simply wanting to extend your boundary a few metres. Whatever the scale of your subdivision, there is a common thread of stages to be ticked off – we explain below.

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The Secret Lives of Tenants

August 5, 2019

Following publicity in 2018 that some property managers were using the ‘KFC test’ to vet prospective tenants, landlords’ protection of their tenants’ privacy has come under scrutiny by the Privacy Commissioner. Any unlawful intrusion into your tenants’ private lives can be a costly mistake. If you are a landlord, it is timely to ask yourself, “How can I best protect my property without risking a privacy breach?”

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Changes to the Building Act 2004

October 20, 2020

Changes to the Building Act 2004 came into force on 31 August 2020. The changes vary the circumstances under which you are required to obtain a building consent.

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Understanding Your Property Title

October 20, 2020

Before you buy a property it is important that you understand exactly what you are purchasing. Your property title records (or should record) all of the interests that affect your title. That way, you are fully informed about any rights or obligations you may have – before you buy.

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Legal Documents Signed during Lockdown

August 21, 2020

Best to sign again after lockdown to avoid later complications. During the COVID lockdown, special rules applied to the signing of some legal documents. Obviously it was, and is, not possible to have your signature witnessed by someone outside your bubble in Levels 3 and 4. So the law allowed signing over audio-visual link (AVL) and other similar arrangements. While these documents will remain valid in the future, it may be wise to have wills and enduring powers of attorney (EPAs) signed out of…

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Succession Law in New Zealand

February 24, 2020

In late 2019 the Law Commission reported back to the government on its review of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (PRA). Discussion on Part 8 of the PRA that deals with the division of relationship property on the death of a spouse or partner was specifically excluded from the scope of that review. Acknowledging the issues that could arise by not addressing the division of property when a spouse/partner dies, in December last year the government asked the Law Commission to review the law of…

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Trustee's Decisions

August 21, 2020

In a recent case, trustees’ decision-making came under scrutiny from the High Court. Lara Unkovich was a young teenager when her grandfather died in 2016, leaving her a share of his estate. Her share was worth around $65,000. Under his will Lara would not receive the funds until she was 21 years old. The trustees, however, had the power to make payments towards her ‘maintenance, education, advancement or benefit.’ The trustees were her aunt Margaret and a lawyer.

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Enduring Powers of Attorney

February 24, 2020

In previous articles in Trust eSpeaking, we have explained why it is important to have an enduring power of attorney (EPA) and the problems that can be created if you do not have one when the need arises. You should have two EPAs – one for property, and the other for personal care and welfare. In your EPA, you should also take care to name appropriate people as your attorneys. Ideally you should name two people to manage your property, which also includes your finances and investments.

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Smooth sailing this summer

November 19, 2019

With summer fast approaching, many businesses will be hiring temporary staff to meet their needs over the busy summer months. Taking on temporary staff can throw up some tricky issues. Employers often are uncertain about what employment agreement is appropriate for temporary staff and how their holiday entitlements should be met. We explore the pros and cons of different kinds of agreements for temporary employees and provide guidance on their annual leave and holiday pay entitlements.

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Enjoy our waterways- but think water safety!

November 19, 2019

We are truly blessed to live in the Land of the Long White Cloud. This beautiful country of ours is, however, also the land of water. Wherever you are, you are never far from water. We are world-famous for our stunning waterways – our lakes, rivers and beaches. But, it‘s also important to always remember that water can be dangerous and unpredictable. Whenever you are near a waterway – going for a swim, collecting seafood, or paddling or boating – it is vital that you think about water safety. Swimming…

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Investment in Farming

December 18, 2020

With the current low interest rate regime looking set to continue for some time, investors are increasingly looking at ways to generate a reasonable income either for their retirement or for other forms of saving. Recently, commercial property syndicates have come back into fashion. Their popularity is based on the return that they are able to provide to investors, notwithstanding the risks inherent in that sort of investment.

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The Finite Supply of Water

December 18, 2020

Water is an absolute necessity for any type of farming or horticultural activity. Historically viewed as an infinite and expendable resource, water is now seen as having a finite supply and must be dealt with as a commodity. The right to access water from a source, such as a spring or well, and the right to use that water are different, but related, issues.

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Wellbeing Budget 2021: Key Points

May 26, 2021

A better than expected economic recovery after the scourges of Covid has enabled the government to propose significant investment in health and welfare, housing (particularly for Māori), infrastructure to rebuild from the impact of the pandemic and to continue to make this country safe from the virus.

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To Jab or not to Jab?

May 26, 2021

While many Kiwis are queuing up and eagerly awaiting their Covid vaccinations, not everyone is willing to take ‘the jab’. Recent headlines of sacked border staff who refused their Covid vaccinations have highlighted the difficulty many employers will face in deciding if their staff can reasonably be required to be vaccinated. Dismissing one of your employees on the basis of vaccination status is not as straightforward as it may seem and, in most cases, will be grounds for a personal grievance.

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Trusts Act 2019

October 9, 2019

The new Trusts Act 2019 will come into effect on 30 January 2021. Much of the Act updates or restates lawthat exists already, either in statute or in case law. There are, however, a number of changes about which trustees and settlors should be aware.The Act contains ‘mandatory’ and ‘default’ duties for trustees.

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Grandparent Wills

October 9, 2019

Grandparents often want to give some financial assistance to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. There can be a number of good reasons for making specific provision for grandchildren in your will or through a family trust. The traditional will-drafting practice is for parents to provide for each other and then when both of them have died, they provide for their children, on the assumption that their children will then in turn acquire assets and provide for grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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Significant Natural Areas

July 30, 2021

The identification of ‘Significant Natural Areas’ has been in the news lately. How are these areas defined and what are the implications for rural landowners?

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Buying or Leasing Māori Land

July 30, 2021

There are significant amounts of Māori land in New Zealand in productive rural areas. Much of this land is farmed by way of lease, sometimes in conjunction with adjoining general freehold land. Sometimes these ’joint’ farms have been farmed in this way for generations. For Maori land to be leased or sold, however, specific rules apply. The Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993 governs the ‘alienation’ of Māori land.

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Directorships Mean Significant Obligations

November 23, 2020

Hefty consequences for getting it wrong when company was in financial distress. In September 2020, the Supreme Court released its keenly anticipated decision in the Debut Homes case . This decision illustrates the risks for directors where a company is experiencing irrecoverable financial distress.

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Holiday Houses

November 23, 2020

With New Zealand’s borders closed and overseas travel restricted for the foreseeable future, many Kiwis will be looking to rent a holiday home for the traditional summer holiday this year. There are plenty of options on sites such as Bookabach, Holiday Houses and Airbnb as well as renting a holiday house privately. Whether you own a holiday home and are looking for some extra income, or you want to rent a place for the whānau Christmas, there are a few things to remember.

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NAIT Review

August 16, 2019

The NAIT (National Animal Identification and Tracing) system was first introduced in 2012 and came into effect progressively until it was fully implemented on 29 February 2016. Any completely new system is likely to need a review after being in operation for a period of time. Within 18 months of NAIT’s final implementation date, the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis in this country gave the regime a real test and, not surprisingly, the system was found wanting in some respects.

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Over the Fence

August 16, 2019

The law surrounding the ownership and possession of firearms has been reformed following the Christchurch mosque massacre. The Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Act 2019 has introduced changes to ban the ownership and possession of most semi-automatic firearms and pump-action shotguns (known as ‘prohibited firearms’), some large capacity magazines (‘prohibited magazines’), and parts (‘prohibited parts’). New offences have also been created, such as importing a prohibited…

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Social media – intellectual property owner’s friend or foe?

April 21, 2021

Treat your friend as if he might become an enemy (Publilius Syrus, 85-43 BC) Social media is a very powerful marketing tool. If used and managed properly, platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can be a brand’s best friend.

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Cyber security 101 for business

April 21, 2021

You arrive at work to find that files with sensitive commercial and client information held on your computers have been hacked. This is the situation the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) found itself in earlier this year. In January, the RBNZ encountered a data breach of its global file-sharing application Accellion FTA. This application was once used by the RBNZ and its stakeholders to share personal and commercially-sensitive information.

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The Wellbeing Budget 2020: Rebuilding Together

May 19, 2020

The government’s Budget, presented by the Minister of Finance the Hon Grant Robertson on 14 May has addressed, in the words of the Minister, “a 1-in-100 year health and economic challenge” as it moves to rebuild the economy post-COVID-19.

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Government's COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

May 19, 2020

Many New Zealand employers are scrambling to maintain solvency while balancing their employer obligations during the COVID-19 lockdown; thousands of businesses accepted the government’s COVID-19 12-week wage subsidy as a necessary lifeline. The subsidy was not, however, a gift. We take a closer look at employers’ obligations when accepting the wage subsidy.

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Recent Property Tax Changes

June 18, 2021

In March 2021, the government announced three changes to property tax rules that are likely to affect anyone with residential property investments. The changes include extending the bright-line period from five years to 10 years, changing the main home exemption ‘test’ and removing the ability to deduct mortgage interest from rental income.

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Going out on your own

March 31, 2020

You have decided to quit your job, and go out on your own to run your own business. Do you form a company or trade in your own name? We outline some of the pros and cons of these two options to help you make a decision.

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Clarity around Fixtures and Fittings

June 18, 2021

In December 2020, a commercial landlord and their tenant found themselves in the High Court arguing about who was responsible for replacing fixtures and fittings because their lease was silent on the issue. These types of disputes around fixtures and fittings in commercial leases are quite common.

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Solving relationship property issues by mediation

March 31, 2020

After separating, you could find yourself at loggerheads with your former partner or spouse on exactly how all property should be divided between you. Negotiations may be bouncing between your lawyers, with no common ground achieved. Without agreement, you could file court proceedings but learn costs would increase dramatically. As well, it could be years before a judge can give a decision on how your property will be divided. Mediation, on the other hand, could be arranged within weeks. It offers…

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Are restraint of trade clauses worth the bother?

September 12, 2019

Restraint of trade clauses are common in the sale and purchase of a business and in some employment agreements. In a business context, they offer protection to a buyer who has acquired a business and prevent the seller from directly competing against the buyer. A restraint provision in an employment context is designed to protect the employer’s business interests when key employees leave. There’s a general perception that these clauses are difficult to enforce, so why bother?

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Employing people with a past

September 12, 2019

Employing staff is never a simple process. Finding people with the right skills and personality to fit into your team can be challenging. Today’s employers go through a rigorous process when recruiting; most believe it’s better to put time into getting the right person than to have to deal with the consequences if things don’t work out. One aspect of all staff recruitment is background checks on applicants. This is more important in some roles than others. It’s standard to ask prospective employees…

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Raising Capital for your Business

February 5, 2021

The COVID pandemic has paved the way for innovation, and many New Zealanders spent 2020 investing time and money into their new or existing businesses. When raising capital to grow their business, however, many business owners find themselves limited by the size of their wallet. While interest rates are currently at an all-time low, trading banks’ lending terms are arguably the strictest in recent memory.

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Rent Reviews in Commercial Leases

March 17, 2021

Negotiating commercial leases can involve a significant amount of crystal ball gazing – particularly when some leases can last decades. As recent times have shown, the landscape at the start of a lease can be miles away from the situation at the end of the lease. One area where the shifting sands can bite for long-term leases is the rent figures. Without appropriate rent review clauses to adjust the rent, any landlord could find themselves with a vastly undervalued rental as the lease progresses.

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Having a puff at work

February 5, 2021

New Zealand laws have finally caught up with vaping (also called e-cigarettes) that have, for some time, enjoyed freedom from the country’s strict tobacco regulation. Since 11 November 2020, however, all vaping products and behaviours must now be treated the same as for tobacco products and smokers. All businesses and employers should be aware of the changes to SmokeFree legislation; for retailers of any vaping-related products these changes are especially important.

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Reverse Mortgages

March 17, 2021

The current combination of increasing living costs, rising house prices and low interest rates has seen more than property-seekers signing up to home loans. On the other side of the coin, some older homeowners are seeking ‘reverse mortgages’ from their lenders in order to release the growing equity in their property.

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Covid-19

May 1, 2020

The COVID-19 virus that is sweeping the world will impact upon us all and pretty much everybody in the world one way or another. The repercussions will differ depending on where you live, what age you are and what you do, but it will be there nonetheless. The economic impact of the virus is uncertain but it will be significant. In New Zealand, the immediate effect was on the tourism, hospitality and retail sectors.

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Rural Leases

May 1, 2020

As a result of the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 situation, one of the issues that has arisen in the commercial leasing area is that of tenants being unable to access their leased buildings. These tenants are in non-essential industries and are therefore prohibited from working, other than from home. This affects commercial leases right across the spectrum from hospitality, retail, office to warehousing. Leasing is common in the rural sector, particularly in the pastoral, horticultural and cropping areas.…

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Retirement Village Life

December 18, 2018

New Zealand’s ageing population has created a boom for retirement villages, with record numbers being developed. For many looking to retire or slow down, retirement village living is attractive – and it’s not hard to see why. A new apartment or cottage in a secure, well-maintained environment, offering a lock-up-and-leave lifestyle, and providing resort-like facilities such as cafes, gyms, pools, bowling greens, libraries and men’s sheds can be very appealing.

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Make Sure You Have a Will

December 18, 2018

New Zealanders need to find time to sit down and make sure they have a will. We all know this is important but how many of us don’t get around to it? Recent research by the Commission for Financial Capability has shown that only 47% of Kiwi adults have a will and the figures are worse for women, Māori and Pasifika. This survey of 2,000 New Zealanders found that only 44% of women have wills compared with 51% of men. These statistics are concerning when you consider the devastating effects that not…

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