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COVID-19 Legal Updates

Changes to overseas investment rules post COVID-19 - Emergency Notification Regime

Thursday 28 May, 2020

Businesses hoping for foreign investment to help them survive after the COVID-19 lockdown need to be aware of the proposed changes to the Overseas Investment Act. The Government is making urgent changes to the Act to ensure that overseas investment in sensitive New Zealand businesses is in New Zealand’s ‘best interests’, while those businesses are ...

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Commercial leases at Level 2

Thursday 14 May, 2020

Many businesses will be breathing a sigh of relief that New Zealand has officially moved to Alert Level 2. Businesses will be trying hard to get back to business as usual as fast as possible. Most businesses, except bars, will now be able to operate to some extent, but many businesses will still face restrictions on how they can operate, and these ...

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Business Debt Hibernation regime

Tuesday 12 May, 2020

The Government has released the COVID-19 Response (Further Management Measures) Legislation Bill. This article is part two of two and comments on the second proposed amendment to the Companies Act 1993 - the “business debt hibernation” regime to allow companies and other entities to enter into agreements with their creditors in relation to existing...

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Safe Harbour for Directors

Monday 11 May, 2020

The Government has released the COVID-19 Response (Further Management Measures) Legislation Bill. This article is part one of two and comments on the first proposed amendment to the Companies Act 1993 - the safe harbour for insolvency-related director's duties. The provisions of the Bill are subject to change prior to enactment.

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COVID-19 fast-track consenting process

Tuesday 5 May, 2020

As part of the COVID-19 rebuild plan, the Government plans to introduce the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast Track Consenting) Bill which will provide an accelerated consenting process that will fast track eligible development and infrastructure projects that can boost employment and economic recovery.

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Farmers' Moving Day still on

Tuesday 5 May, 2020

Farmers around New Zealand were relieved to find out that ‘Moving Day’ on 1 June can still go ahead, regardless of the alert level. Every year on 1 June, hundreds of sharemilkers and their families move their cows and equipment to new farms. It’s also the day that many farm workers start their new job, if they are changing employers.

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Breaking up is hard to do, even after lockdown has ended

Monday 4 May, 2020

The risks posed by COVID-19, and the associated Government action, have created an unprecedented situation in New Zealand. As we emerge from lockdown, we are seeing an increase in enquiries around separations and relationship breakdowns. For many, the situation has been complicated by the fact that we have only just emerged from lockdown.

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Obtaining the wage subsidy "just in case"

Wednesday 29 April, 2020

Over the past weeks, over $10 billion has been paid to businesses under the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme (Scheme), with over 1.6 million employees’ income supported. Questions have started to arise about the type of businesses accessing the scheme, and the ability of the government to claw back payments if a business’s circumstances have changed, ...

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The truth about the relaxation of work visa conditions

Tuesday 28 April, 2020

As part of its management of the Covid19 pandemic, Immigration New Zealand have relaxed the conditions associated with work and student visas for some specific industries and situations. This has caused some confusion amongst migrant workers and employers, with some believing that anyone with a work visa tied to an employer can enjoy these relaxed...

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Employment issues during COVID-19 lockdown

Thursday 23 April, 2020

New Zealand's move to COVID-19 Alert Level three at 11.59pm on Monday, 27 April 2020 will see the nation transition from essential services only, to safe business operations. Our employment team discusses the potential issues employers may face with safe working, working from home, compromised employment terms, "at risk" workers and annual holiday ...

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Frequently asked questions on COVID-19 for local government

Thursday 23 April, 2020

The Ministry for the Environment (“MFE”) has released information on frequently asked questions regarding local government and Resource Management Act 1991 (“RMA”) obligations within the context of the COVID-19 response and recovery.

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Limited business activities allowed to prepare for Alert Level 3

Thursday 23 April, 2020

While we remain in Alert Level 4 until 11.59pm, Monday 27 April, the Ministy of Business, Innovation and Employment have released details of a variation to the COVID-19 rules, meaning some limited workplace activities are permitted this week (20-27 April) and weekend (25-27 April).

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COVID-19 Annual Holiday Impact

Wednesday 22 April, 2020

We have been receiving a lot of questions from employers and employees about the effects that a reduced income and/or wage subsidy will have on annual holiday entitlements. The answer, in short, is – it depends. An employee becomes entitled to four weeks’ annual holidays at the completion of 12 months employment, and at the completion of each subs...

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Navigating your way through a separation during COVID-19

Wednesday 22 April, 2020

The COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown has created a disrupted a stressful and uncertain time, particularly if relationship difficulties surface. Our article provides guidance for clients in a situation where they have separated, or wish to separate, from a partner and the options and process under Alert Level 4 and Alert Level 3.

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What does Alert Level 3 mean for your business?

Monday 20 April, 2020

The Government has released details of what Alert Level 3 will look like and we will find out today whether the Alert Level will reduce this week. However, Alert Level 3 doesn’t mean we’ll be back to business as usual. Find out what it means for your business here.

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Government Support Package for SMEs

Wednesday 15 April, 2020

The Government announced its package designed to support SMEs through the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses who have seen a significant decrease in turnover will be interested in the tax loss carry-back scheme which will allow businesses to offset forecast losses for the current financial year against net profits for the previous financial year and gai...

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Gypsy Day and COVID-19

Thursday 9 April, 2020

31 May/1 June is known as Gypsy Day amongst New Zealand’s dairy farmers. It signals the movement of stock, contract (including share) milkers and farm workers around New Zealand’s dairy farms. Currently the country is in lockdown at Level 4. If that is extended, Gypsy Day could be seriously affected raising the question - can Gypsy Day proceed?

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Trans-Tasman debt recovery and COVID-19

Tuesday 7 April, 2020

COVID-19 is already causing cashflow difficulties for some companies. Australia, like many countries, has recently made changes to its corporate insolvency laws in order to help businesses survive until the economy starts to recover.

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COVID-19 Essential Workers Leave Support

Tuesday 7 April, 2020

As part of its wider Economic Relief Package, the government announced on 17 March 2020, a wage subsidy available to businesses impacted by COVID-19 and a leave payment available to employees unwell with COVID-19, required to self-isolate, or caring for a dependent unwell with COVID-19 or required to self-isolate.

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Corporate Insolvency and Directors' Duties Changes

Monday 6 April, 2020

Due to the impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown, some businesses are already facing cashflow difficulties. Many countries have already made changes to their corporate insolvency laws in order to help businesses survive until the economy starts to recover.

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COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Act 2020

Wednesday 1 April, 2020

The COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Act 2020 (“the Act”) came into force on 26 March 2020. This is an omnibus Act that amends various legislation to put in place the necessary arrangements to implement COVID-19 Alert Level 4, or where arrangements are essential to respond effectively to the outbreak of COVID-19.

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COVID-19 and care arrangements

Wednesday 1 April, 2020

COVID-19 has descended upon us as an unprecedented event and at an unprecedented speed. There was little warning given to the New Zealand public about the Alert Level 4 lockdown. For separated families, there was little time to consider how the lockdown would affect their children and their care arrangements.

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COVID-19 Employment Considerations

Monday 30 March, 2020

As you will be aware, the government recently announced that New Zealand has entered level three of our COVID-19 alert system, and that level four will be put in place from 11:59pm on Wednesday, 25 March 2020. We are expected to remain at level four for at least four weeks.

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COVID-19 and Commercial Leases

Thursday 26 March, 2020

As of midnight on Wednesday, 25 March, an unprecedented number of New Zealand businesses will not be able to gain access to their business premises due to Government restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If their lease is on the current (sixth) edition of the Auckland District Law Society (ADLS) form of lease, it is likely to contain a “n...

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Collaboration within the Commerce Sector in response to COVID-19

Wednesday 25 March, 2020

The Government has requested the Commerce Commission to be flexible around essential business collaboration in the short term due to the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19.
The Commerce Act 1986 prohibits anti-competitive agreements between competitors, however, as a result of COVID-19, essential business sectors may work together...

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Director's Duties - Reckless Trading

Wednesday 25 March, 2020

There is huge uncertainty in the current environment due to the impact of Covid19 and the unprecedented Level 4 ‘lockdown’ affecting businesses. Many companies will be facing cashflow difficulties and, unless they can source additional capital, directors will be in the difficult position of having to assess whether to continue to trade in circumsta...

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Frustration in the time of COVID-19

Monday 16 March, 2020

As country after country closes its borders or shuts down all non-essential businesses, the effects of coronavirus are really starting to be felt. Some businesses may find themselves unable to meet their contractual obligations, whether because of shortages of labour or materials, movement restrictions, or downturns in their business.

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Is Coronavirus impacting your business?

Tuesday 3 March, 2020

Three months have passed since the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) was first reported in Wuhan, China. Following the significant growth of confirmed cases outside China, most recently in Italy, South Korea and Iran, the World Health Organization (WHO) has advised that the world should do more to be prepared for a possible Coronavirus pandemi...

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