The Wellbeing Budget 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.

PPSR lease losses

Can be a real risk for business

Business briefs

Mainzeal case – highlights director responsibilities

Property sale and purchase

Important to get the GST component right

Looking for your first home?

Help to get your foot in the door

Property briefs

Unit Titles Act 2010: are you complying?

Tenure review of Crown pastoral land to end

What is the government proposing?

National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry

Review due in May

Over The Fence – April 2019

Minimum wage review 2019

The bank of mum and dad

Contributions by family members to the purchase of a property and how this is recorded can affect property ownership.

No enduring power of attorney

Most people are now aware of the importance of having an enduring power of attorney (EPA).

Accessing the assets of a trust

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).

Business briefs

Directors have personal liability for company debt in liquidationA recent decision in the Court of Appeal* has made a director liable for almost $500,000 of company debt due to the...

Potpourri of employment law changes ahead

Monday, 6 May 2019 is D-dayLast year saw many changes in the employment law sphere, with the Labour-led government delivering on promises of reform in this area.

Construction industry and its retentions scheme

High Court provides useful guidance for subcontractorsThe collapse last year of Ebert Construction Limited took many in the construction industry by surprise, particularly its subcontractors who were owed retention moneys.

Over the fence

Mycoplasma bovis and land transactions Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) continues to be a real concern for the farming industry in New Zealand.

Wandering stock

The right to impound and to claim for damages One of the perennial problems that farmers face is that of stock wandering or stock getting out and interfering with, or...

Agri-tourism and food

The legal implications of diversifying your farming operationAgri-tourism and food are growing sectors in New Zealand.

The agreement for sale and purchase

Checking the conditions Given the significant financial commitment involved in purchasing a property, you want to make sure your investment is sound.

Buying a cross lease property

Quite different from a fee simple title New Zealanders love to talk about property. There are a multitude of topics relating to property that Kiwis have an intimate knowledge and...

Changes affecting every buyer of residential land

Overseas Investment Amendment Act 2018 now in force The Overseas Investment Amendment Bill has become law and is now the Overseas Investment Amendment Act 2018 (the OIA Act).

Validating imperfect wills

What can be done? For wills to be valid they must comply with a number of legal formalities; they must be in writing and there must be two witnesses who...

How do I bring my trust to an end?

The process 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...

Do I still need a trust?

It’s good practice to review its purposeIf you have a family trust set up a number of years ago, it’s good practice to review it to ensure it is still...

Over the fence

Anti-money laundering compliance A reminder that since 1 July 2018 all lawyers have been required to comply with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009.

Private land with public access

How is access granted? Our ability to access the ‘great outdoors’ in New Zealand is seen as something of a citizen’s right.

Biosecurity in New Zealand

Who is liable for an outbreak of plant disease? Biosecurity issues never seem to be far from the news these days.

More updates on property matters

If you have been following our articles about foreign residential investment, P contamination and warming up Kiwi homes, here are the latest updates on each topic. We’re pleased to let you know there is some good news here.

The fee is how much?

People who have secured a mortgage know that banks often sweeten the deal by providing a contribution towards legal fees. But how much are legal fees for a property transaction and why aren’t they a standard amount? We know people aren’t always comfortable talking about lawyers’ fees. Here’s how it all works.

The fundamentals of flatting

Remember going flatting for the first time? It’s an exciting time, but it can present problems for young people if they’re focused on fun and not the fundamentals. Wouldn’t it have made life easier if someone had explained your legal obligations from the start? Here’s a quick how-to guide for parents with children about to go flatting.

Due diligence is your friend

In legal matters, doing your homework is the safest way to protect you from an unpleasant surprise. Here are three briefs proving the point.

Increasing compensation payments for emotional harm

People who have suffered emotional harm in the workplace have traditionally received small compensation payments from employers.

Budget, budget, read all about it!

The budget announcement is an annual event that generally affects every New Zealander in one way or another.

Buying from a developer is the same as a builder, right?

You’d be forgiven for thinking the answer is yes. It’s almost the same, but the ‘almost’ is rather an important distinction and it can come with pitfalls.

I wish to register a complaint: pre-purchase inspections

Remember the famous Monty Python sketch where John Cleese purchases a parrot which isn’t in the condition he expected? All too often, the same happens when buying property.

Anti-money laundering

The sale and purchase of property usually involves transacting a significant sum of money. From July this year, all law firms will be required to comply with anti-money laundering legislation.

Bright-line extension announced

The Minister of Revenue announced an extension to the bright-line test to help keep the property market under control.

Insulate before it’s too late

Landlords, if you haven’t made your rentals safe and healthy for tenants, now is the time to get busy. Otherwise, you will be looking down the barrel of a hefty fine.

Four key dates for farmers

As always, our legal champions endeavour to keep you informed of key dates ahead of time so you don’t get caught short when something changes.

The not-so-easy problems with easements

If you’re thinking about making a rural subdivision to make the most of the rising popularity of lifestyle blocks and farm parks, it’s likely you’ll be granting easements for access...

Contract of sale: standard or specific terms?

Farmers will know that making a sale is usually a significant deal, and you’ll want to get the best deal you can for the fruits of your labour.

Do trusts pay trustees’ litigation costs?

We assume this will be the case, but as a trustee or executor, you aren’t always entitled to be reimbursed for your litigation costs.

Resolving the messy business of parental care

There comes a time in life where a certain amount of role reversal takes place between children and parents.

The choices that come from a difficult separation

Losing a spouse or partner is very sad and difficult, and not a time most people want to have to make important legal decisions.

Four more changes to business law for 2018...

In these briefs, we’re looking at moves to stop multinationals from avoiding paying tax, website privacy and why you need to make sure you’re compliant, another hefty fine issued under...

How to buy a business without getting burned

Buying a business can be a significant commitment of time and money, so you won’t want to find out there are issues after settlement, especially ones that come at a...

Improved working conditions for employees

The Labour led coalition government has make swift amendments to the Employment Relations Act 2000. These changes took effect on 1 February this year and will impact all businesses, so...

Alerts for farmers: employing workers and health and safety

In these rural briefs, we’re looking at the two hot topics for farmers this summer. The health and safety act is in force and the courts are issuing hefty penalties...

Loan documents: do you read the fine print?

How many of us actually read the fine print when signing a document? The old adage suggests we should and with good reason.

The low-down on Farm Management Plans

As you’ll be aware from our article What does the Clean Water Package mean for farmers, raising the water standards in our rivers and lakes is going to have an...

Caution required: three common scenarios with big consequences

In these property briefs, we have three situations which seem straightforward, but often aren’t, which can land the unwary in hot water.

Your legal obligations as an Airbnb host

As a follow up to our article about the tax implications for renting your accommodation as a holiday home, we’re taking a look at your legal obligations to your lender,...

Why you should talk to a lawyer before you buy property

Buying a house is a stressful process in itself, but if you’re competing for a purchase in a seller’s market, which has been the case for some time, the pressure...

Do you really want to be a trustee for life?

All trustees have tasks and duties that have to be performed on a regular basis, even in small family trusts.

What you need to do to retire as a trustee

If you’ve agreed to act as trustee for a friend, family member or another entity, you’ll be aware that signing up is a relatively easy process.

A practical approach to trusts

The Trusts Bill introduced on the 1st August this year updates the Trustee Act 1956 and reflects decisions made about trusts in common law.

Four more hazards to note...

In these briefs, we have four updates on topics which also present potential risks and hazards for the unwary: new health and safety legislation coming into effect, claims against rural...


We live in a region that gets very dry in summer. Last year’s fire that spread through areas forested with pine trees was a good wake up call for people...

What happens to rural property when relationships break down?

More to the point: what happens if your property is held in a trust? Trusts are arguably a New Zealand institution for ensuring property is passed on to specific beneficiaries,...

Three tips to protect yourself from property related problems

Buying, selling and owning property is usually straightforward… until it isn’t. These property briefs look at three such scenarios: How to avoid buying a property with insurance problems, how to...

Rental properties: what happens when tenants don’t pay?

Rental properties are an excellent source of income if you need extra money, want to pay off your mortgage faster or save for your retirement… unless your tenant doesn’t pay...

Is your agreement to lease working for your business?

People sometimes hurry into an agreement to lease commercial property. Time is money and delays to setting up a business can mean delays to generating income.

The good, the bad and the ugly changes to business law

There are three changes to business law on the horizon. If you’re a small to medium business owner, we recommend you read this article so you’re armed with the right...

Shareholder Relationships: What happens if you need to break up?

Shareholders’ agreements are often compared to a marriage. In many ways this comparison is true, so what happens if you need to break up? In business, breakups happen for many reasons.

More on Kiwisaver, multi offers and insulation

Here are three useful updates about topics covered in previous articles: using your Kiwisaver funds to buy your first home, buying homes in a multi offer scenario, and grants for...

Make money while you’re on holiday

An easy way to make a bit of money while you’re on holiday is to rent out your property as an Airbnb.

What’s in Budget 2017 for you?

The budget usually has a few sweeteners to keep voters happy ahead of an election. Not surprisingly, when Steven Joyce, Minister of Finance, presented his first Budget, he said the...

Is your shared driveway driving you nuts?

Shared driveways are regular hotbeds for disputes between neighbours. As demand for housing increases, and as sections are subdivided, shared driveways are going to become more common.

When good husbandry goes bad

When rural land is bought and sold, sale and purchase agreements usually contain a ‘good husbandry’ clause.

Wages, calves and a doggy disaster

In this article we’ve got three important updates for the rural community concerning the care of people, animals and farm property.

What does the Clean Water Package mean for farmers?

The recently announced Clean Water Package has caused considerable controversy, mostly in regard to the proposed target to have 90% of all rivers and lakes ‘swimmable’ by 2040.

It’s your inheritance. Here’s how to keep it.

A legacy or a gift in a will can significantly change your life, personally and financially.

Is your business prepared for life after death?

Although many of us don’t want to consider this question, it is very important as most owners want their business to survive them.

The Trusts Bill: What will it mean for you?

Last December, the draft Trusts Bill was released for public consultation. Resulting from recommendations in a Law Commission report, the new Trusts Act will replace the Trustee Act 1956 if...

The rising popularity of limited partnerships

Limited partnerships are becoming an increasingly popular business structure for venture capital and private equity firms looking to enter the New Zealand market.

Streamlining overseas investment and consenting processes

Five new class exemptions recently announced by the Overseas Investment Office are changing the way it goes about its business.

More Crunch for Credit

Changes to the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 have tightened the rules and regulations for lenders.

The key to business survival on shaky ground

The Kaikoura earthquake late last year was a timely reminder for Hawke’s Bay businesses that we too operate on volatile and unpredictable land.

Rural property and natural disasters...

The Kaikoura earthquake late last year is a timely reminder to check you’re prepared for a natural disaster.

How to avoid a million dollar mistake...

If you’re buying or selling property, it pays for both parties to check the information in the documents supporting due diligence is accurate.

Red Alert: Farm trustees are now accountable for workplace health and safety

Many farms operate using trusts, but the changes to the Health and Safety at Work Act now make individuals accountable. Farm trustees, that’s you.

Three tips for property buyers and sellers

As always, we like to finish up the round of articles with three helpful hints for buying and selling property.

Buying a house? Don’t sign just yet...

So you’ve viewed numerous homes and have finally found one that you think you’d like to buy.

The time to listen to your lawyer is… now!

Throughout life, people give you advice: parents, friends, doctors… the list goes on and on. Hindsight can be a tough teacher when we don’t listen, which is why lawyers constantly...

Trusts under attack!

Trusts are used in many ways, but often their purpose is to protect assets, including claims by former spouses and partners.

Is New Zealand a potential tax haven?

This question is in the government’s spotlight. The problem is foreign trusts. A foreign trust is a trust held in New Zealand where all the settlors live outside New Zealand.

As a trustee, what information do you have to provide to beneficiaries?

Trustees are obliged to provide certain information to beneficiaries, but how much? This question has been a continuing source of frustration for trustees, especially those who find their discretionary decisions...

Are you making the best decisions for your company as Director?

The Court of Appeal recently revisited the critical subject of how far directors must go to ‘take all reasonable and proper steps’ when making decisions on behalf of their company.

When attention to detail goes bad, in corporate law…

Dot your I’s and cross your T’s! In business, we know we should do this but we sometimes don’t.

New Terms of Trade for Tradies

If you’ve received an invoice from a construction company or related service provider which says, “This is a payment claim under the Construction Contracts Act 2002” and you’re not sure...

Who let the dogs out?

Man’s best friend is also the right hand for many farmers, playing a vital role in the day-to-day running of a successful farm.

So you’re a farmer. Are you also a landlord?

If you provide accommodation for staff on your farm, you’re subject to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.

Three must-know tips for Spring

With the warm weather returning, it’s a busy time around Hawke’s Bay with calves and lambs.

Before you sign… have you checked the chattels?

Moving house can be a big job. On your first night, you’ll want to celebrate with a nice meal and a hot shower.

How KiwiSaver can help you into your first home.

With rising house prices and stricter conditions for finance, people are saying the Kiwi dream of owning a home is over.

Does your property have P-contamination?

Before you answer, consider the fact that every day more Kiwis find out they have been living in methamphetamine (P)-contaminated properties.

Commercial property rent reviews could be hurting you in the pocket.

Commercial property owners are often attracted to an annual CPI rent review. Standard agreements and deeds of lease make it very easy to agree to what seems like an annual...

A property lawyer can help ensure you don’t get caught out when making connections.

A property lawyer can help you ensure you are signing an appropriate agreement. If you’re thinking about purchasing a section, be aware of the time and cost involved to get...

Claims on Estates

In December 2015 the Sunday Star Times reported on a dispute amongst the members of the Ropati family in respect of their mother’s estate. The article contains the following statements:

Your Will, Your say - Really?

Most Wills have a clause directing the executors to pay funeral expenses as well as other usual estate liabilities.

When builders go in to liquidation

Earlier this year, Stonewood Homes went into liquidation with more than 100 homes in Christchurch under construction. This left customers uncertain as to when their builds will be completed.

Misrepresentations in property transactions: keep to the facts

The difference between ‘misrepresentations’ (which may support a claim for damages) and ‘mere puffery’ (being statements no reasonable person would take seriously) isn’t always clear.

Test the Depth Before You Jump In: Always do due diligence

It‘s standard to test drive a vehicle before you buy it, so it‘s equally as important that you also do your homework on a property before you sign up.

Legal Boundaries: Why titles matter

You have just moved into your new home and your neighbour knocks on your door. They say that your garage is two metres into their boundary, and that they need...

Time to Fence Those Waterways!

The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill was introduced to Parliament on 26 November 2015. The submission process is well underway with the Select Committee receiving submissions until Monday, 14 March 2016.

Paid parental leave changes ahead

The government has made some changes to paid parental leave, with others to follow. It’s important you know how this will affect your staff and business.

New property taxation legislation

Since 1 October 2015 transferors and transferees of property have been required to complete a Land Transfer Tax Statement in order to complete settlement.

Minimum Wage Review 2016

This year’s minimum wage review has seen the adult minimum wage increase from $14.75/hour to $15.25/hour. The starting out and training minimum wage will increase from $11.80/hour to $12.20/hour.

Health and Safety at Work

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 comes into force on Monday, 4 April this year.

Digital Assets – What happens to them?

Previously, when a person died the executors or administrators of their estate have waded through the paperwork that can be located to find details of bank accounts, investments and organisations...

Incorporated societies reform ahead

There are more than 23,500 incorporated societies in New Zealand that are currently governed by the Incorporated Societies Act 1908.

Update on financial markets overhaul

The Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 is in the process of completely overhauling New Zealand’s financial markets laws.

Employment law changes: are you up-to-date?

As noted in a previous post, the government has introduced the Employment Standards Legislation Bill to Parliament.

New Health and Safety at Work Act 2015

We have previously posted an article on the proposed reform of New Zealand’s health and safety law. The new law will come into force on Monday, 4 April this year.

Creditors of Insolvent Companies

As we approach the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in what is known as the Fences & Kerbs case¹where three appeals were heard and ruled on together by...

Employee dismissed for cruelty to animals: the importance of getting the process right

Employers may find some comfort in a recent decision of the Employment Court¹ where an employee was denied financial remedies from his employer because his cruelty to animals resulted in...

Be Careful with Long-term Contracts

Many contractual relationships last for years and, over time, the parties may forget, or change, their understanding of what was originally agreed.

Health and Safety Legislation: update

The Health and Safety at Work Act was passed on 27 August 2015 and will come into force on 4 April 2016.

Company or Trust

The two most common farm-owning entities are either a company or a trust. Often, a farming operation is carried out with a mix of trust ownership (typically owning the land)...

The Bright-line Test

In our Winter edition (page 4) we noted the government’s proposed property taxation changes and ‘bright-line’ test.

Look before you leap into a contract

In a bustling real estate market, significant pressure is often placed on purchasers to make an offer in a short timeframe, often with few conditions (if any).

Selling your property? Avoid payment of commission to more than one agent

It’s surprising that when selling property, the seller often pays little attention to the terms of the real estate agent’s listing agreement – particularly when there may a substantial sum...

Contact us early on in the subdivision process, not right at the end

As you will know lawyers and legal executives are involved in many stages of the subdivision process as it grows from an idea in a developer’s mind through to the...

IRD numbers required for trusts to buy and sell residential property from 1 October 2015

This could cause a problem for any trust if the sale or purchase is due to settle after that date.

Companies acting as corporate trustees: 28 October is a critical date

As from 28 October 2015 a company must have at least one director who either: lives in New Zealand, or lives in Australia and is a director of a company...

Complying Trusts

Help is here for a settlor who leaves New Zealand. In New Zealand we have a settlor-based tax regime.

Changes to Health and Safety Law are on their way

The long-awaited Health and Safety Reform Bill passed into law on 27 August and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 will come into force in April next year.

Business Interruption Insurance

When considering your next business insurance policy the most important part is the fine print. Many people, particularly business owners, have recently learnt harsh (and expensive) lessons on their business insurance.

Should you change your trustees? Always good to review

If you set up your trust some years ago, it may be time to consider whether the trustees you appointed are still right for the role.

Worthy Causes

Many people consider leaving money to charity by their Will. This can be their whole estate, or just a specific amount or part of an estate.

The Health and Safety Reform Bill: Select Committee reports back

On 24 July, the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee reported back to Parliament on the Health and Safety Reform Bill.

Section 21 Agreements and Trusts

Marriage, in the eyes of the law, is a largely – although not entirely – outdated institution; it’s now ‘relationships’ that are important.

Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment Bill

Introduced to Parliament in June as a private members’ bill, the purpose of this Bill is to amend the Minimum Wage Act 1983 to extend its provisions to apply to...

Zero hours contracts - new legislation introduced

In mid-August, the Employment Standards Bill was introduced into Parliament and, amongst other things, deals with the controversial issue of zero hours contracts.

Red-zoned earthquake claimants entitled to more

Canterbury’s red-zoned homeowners have recently received a boost following a Supreme Court decision¹. In Southern Response Earthquake Services Limited v Avonside Holdings Limited, Avonside’s property was damaged beyond economic repair...

Cheaper capital raising ahead for small code companies

The Takeovers Panel has granted a class exemption allowing small code companies to issue new shares, without needing to first obtain shareholder approval, in circumstances where the issue would otherwise...

Doing Up Your House?

If you’re looking at renovating your house, you should be aware that a building consent may be needed for more work than you think.

Student Flats

The start of semester two in student centres, like Dunedin, signals the beginning of the search for the perfect flat for the coming year.

Buying Property? Look a little deeper...

Before you buy a property, it’s prudent to check for any geotechnical issues. Often any known geotechnical matters or hazards are highlighted in the Land Information Memorandum (LIM) from your...

Taxing property gains: the proposed 'bright line' test

In May the government announced proposed changes to the tax rules for New Zealand and non-resident investors who buy residential property with the intention of selling the property and making...

Changes proposed to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986

Most staff employed on farms are also supplied with accommodation on the farm. With that comes rights and obligations as a landlord and employer.

Employment Standards Bill – minimum employment standards

In March 2015, the government announced a package of measures designed to strengthen the enforcement of minimum employment standards.

Terms of Trade

Despite a post-quake construction boom in Christchurch, an unprecedented number of building firms are going bust.

Budget 2015: Introduction of the 'Bright Line' Test for Property Investors

This year’s Budget, delivered on 21 May, contained few surprises and, generally speaking, little of significance for business.

New avenue for capital raising - small offers exclusion

The recently introduced Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 has completely overhauled New Zealand’s capital markets and financial services laws.

Cooking up a storm: the zero hours contracts debate

April saw a number of protests across the country concerning the use of zero hours contracts.

Parent company liable for debt of subsidiary company in liquidation

If you are a director of a company in a corporate group, a recent High Court decision¹ should serve as a timely reminder of the need to preserve each company’s...

The changing course of a river can alter your boundaries

When you bought your land, your lawyer will have sent you a search copy of the title to your property as recorded on the register at Land Information New Zealand (LINZ).

Get a Building Report when you're buying a new house

For many of us, buying a home is the largest purchase we will ever make. That’s why spending a few hundred dollars on a pre-purchase building report is so important...

Rent Reviews

Changes to the standard form of the Auckland District Law Society (ADLS) Deed of Lease now make it possible for landlords to review the annual rent payable by either a...

The value of a LIM report

It’s a common misconception that you don’t need a Land Information Memorandum (LIM) report when you buy bare land, or when the house and buildings have been signed off by...

Minimum wage review 2015

The government reviews the minimum wage each year. On 1 April 2015 the adult minimum wage is to rise from $14.25/hour to $14.75/hour.

Sharemilking agreements

With about three months remaining of the dairy farming season for 2014–2015 we recommend you review your sharemilking agreements, if you haven’t already done so.

New employment law provisions in force

The Employment Relations Amendment Act 2014 came into effect on 6 March 2015 and makes some important changes to New Zealand’s employment law. Key changes include:

Buying Rural Property

When buying any business, assets or property it’s important to undertake a due diligence investigation into what you are looking to buy.

Easements on Rural Land

An easement is defined as ‘a right of one person is respect of another person’s land.’ For rural properties these rights can often be crucial issues for the use of...

'Mondayising' public holidays

The Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day) Amendment Act 2013 came into force on 1 January 2014.

Home Buyers

Buying a home can be daunting – especially if you are doing it for the first time.

Protecting Your Digital Assets

Ten years ago the idea of protecting your digital assets after your death, or if you lost mental capacity, would have been regarded as absurd.

Duties of an Attorney under an Enduring Power of Attorney

Often people agree to accept the appointment as an attorney under an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) without really understanding what’s involved and what will be expected of them.

FATCA and New Zealand Trusts

The US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has been in force in New Zealand since June 2014.

New Legislation for Builders

On 1 January 2015 the Building Amendment Act 2013 came into force. As well as strengthening the consumer protection provisions currently in the Building Act 2004, it also implements new...

Guarantees: Assuming the Risk

Guarantees are a common form of credit enhancement often required by banks and other lenders before they will provide finance, including loan advances.

Financial markets overhaul complete

On 1 December 2014 the second phase of the implementation of the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 came into force.

Important employment law changes come into force on 6 March

The Employment Relations Amendment Act 2014 (which amends the Employment Relations Act 2000 and comes into force on 6 March 2015) makes significant changes to New Zealand employment law.

Be cautious about being a guarantor

While guarantees are a very useful tool, particularly for a debtor wanting to ‘get ahead’, as guarantor you should be cautious about entering into a contract such as this, particularly...

Town and Country

The popularity of ‘lifestyle’ and ‘farm park’ type subdivisions is ever increasing as city dwellers look to the fresh air and open spaces of country living.

Trust Decision-Making

Over the years, the trust has been one of the favourite entities for farm ownership. Historically this has been for estate duty and tax reasons.


If you’re considering making redundancies in your business you need to be mindful of the business case that you must develop for consultation with your employees before you start the...

Mid-season dairy farm settlements

It’s now not uncommon for dairy farm settlements to occur mid-season. If you’re negotiating to buy or sell a dairy farm mid-season it‘s important that consideration is given to the...

New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards

If you have entered the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards and as part of the preparation for judging, you may like to consider getting a ‘legal audit’ or a review...

Resource consents: compliance and enforcement

The Resource Management Act 1991 contains significant financial penalties (fines) and an ability to impose a term of imprisonment.

Residential Building Contracts: Homework is important when building

Building a new home can be exciting, as well as being rather daunting. Stories abound of disappointments and building hassles.

Facebook: Is this your personal property or not?

Within five seconds, you can take a photo on a smart phone and share it with the world. Or the world on Facebook.

Owning a cross lease

A cross lease title consists of two parts; the first is an undivided share of the whole piece of land that the dwelling or ‘flats’ are built on; the second...

Cross lease insurance

The Memorandum of Lease states that you must keep your property insured at all times. You may insure your own flat independently or there may be an arrangement where all...

Making alterations to your dwelling on a cross lease title

If your alteration is structural but non-load bearing, you’ll need consent from the other flat owners. This could include moving internal doors or partitions.

Dying without a will?

Most people know that it’s important to have a Will and to keep it up to date.

Common Intention Constructive Trusts

The widely publicised separation and property dispute of Sally Ridge and Adam Parore saw the High Court consider the concept of a common intention constructive trust.

Importance of an 'Independent' Trustee

The law requires all trustees to act independently and impartially. The term ‘independent trustee’ is used to describe a trustee who does not benefit from the assets of the trust.

Construction Contracts Act 2002

Making sure you get paid, and on time, is critical if you’re running any business. If you’re involved in commercial or residential builds, the Construction Contracts Act 2002 outlines a...

Buying Into an Existing Business

Buying an existing business is sometimes preferable to establishing one from scratch. This article gives some pointers (but not an exhaustive list) to prospective purchasers to help ensure you get...

Unfair contract terms

New rules regarding ‘unfair contract terms’ will come into effect on 17 March 2015. The rules will apply to ‘standard form consumer contracts’ – that is contracts between a supplier...

Three fundamentals for a successful joint venture

So you’ve been looking at doing with a joint venture with a business partner you know you can trust.

Health and safety reform - increased obligations for directors and managers

The Health and Safety Reform Bill 2014 (which will replace the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 and is expected to come into force sometime in 2015) will place...

Farm buildings to be exempt from assessments

In July the government announced farm buildings are to be exempt from the requirements for assessments under its earthquake-prone buildings policy

Looking after the intellectual property

“The issue of branding and marketing fruit has increased greatly in recent years as some of our horticultural industries have developed.

Who will be responsible on the farm?

“Last year we wrote an article that summarised the Report of the Independent Task Force on workplace health and safety.

Responsibility in the rural sector

One of the issues that the rural sector faces is clarity as to whose responsibility health and safety might be given the way that many rural businesses are structured and...

Minimum wage order change

The minimum wage order has been changed to include a fortnightly minimum wage rate; it became effective on 26 June 2014. This change affects salaried employees on fortnightly rosters.

Animal Welfare (Dairy Cattle) Code of Welfare 2010 has been revoked

The Animal Welfare (Dairy Cattle) Code of Welfare 2010 has been revoked and replaced by a new Code which came into force on 13 June 2014.

All Trustees Must Sign when Dealing with Trust Assets

“When establishing a family trust that usually owns your family home and some investments, the usual ‘mum and dad’ trust has you and your partner as trustees, together with an...

Paper Roads and Public Access

“Paper roads are relatively widespread across New Zealand farmland. They are more precisely called ‘unformed legal roads’ and have the same legal status as any other legal road.

Joint tenancy v tenancy in common

The first option, and the most common form of ownership, is known as a ‘joint tenancy’.

Relationship property update: 30/70 asset split

After we had put this Winter edition together, a High Court decision2 was delivered in a relationship property situation involving a Wellington medical specialist and his wife.

Key Considerations for Employee Share Schemes

Employee share schemes can be a great way to attract, retain and incentivise staff. They haven’t been widely used in New Zealand, with a big part of the problem being...

Director’s Drawings

“If you are a company director it’s tempting, particularly in a closely held company, to withdraw funds for expenses and to pay yourself as and when you decide that you...

P-lab testing

Methamphetamine (commonly known as ‘P’ or ‘meth’) contamination is an increasing problem in New Zealand properties. The by-products of P-use and manufacture are extremely dangerous.

Cross leases

Cross leasing was a very popular form of subdivision in the 1960s as a means to avoid strict planning rules.

Business sales and earnouts: Five cautionary tips for sellers

So you’ve been negotiating the sale of your business and while you’re confident that it’s going to continue to grow as you’re projecting, the buyer just isn’t sure and you’re...

Supreme Court limits access to insured defence costs

Directors of two collapsed finance companies, Bridgecorp and Feltex, have looked to their directors’ and officers’ insurance policy for their defence costs in responding to claims by investors and receivers,...

Social media in employment

Social media is the new business lunch, promotional pamphlet, business card, word of mouth – the new ‘normal’.

Kid Gloves Needed

GST is always something that you can’t trifle with, particularly when you’re completing the sale or purchase of a property.

Retirement Village Living

When the family home no longer suits your needs and the time is right to consider your future requirements, many New Zealanders choose to move to a retirement village.

Change on the way for taxation of property investment

Residential property has long been a favourite investment for Kiwis looking to take advantage of no capital gains tax and a rising market.

Gift Duty Abolition

The government has announced it will abolish gift duty from 1 October 2011 citing the cost of gift duty compliance (estimated to be $70 million pa) significantly outweighs government revenue...

Personal Property Securities Register

Recently in this newsletter, we have looked at the implications of the Personal Properties Securities Act 1999.

Animal Welfare Amendment Bill

The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill is currently at the select committee stage, with the committee due to report back to Parliament at the end of March.

Public holidays: Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day

Special public holiday arrangements are now going to apply for Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day. From 1 January 2014, ANZAC Day and Waitangi Day are now ‘Mondayised’.

Minimum wage review 2014

The government reviews the minimum wage each year. It has recently been announced that the adult minimum wage is to rise from $13.75 per hour to $14.25 per hour, coming...

Sharemilking arrangements

With about three months remaining of the dairy farming season for 2013–2014, we suggest you review your sharemilking agreements, if you haven’t already done so.

Contractual considerations when entering into Agreement for Sale & Purchase of Farms – ‘Proper Farming’

If you are entering into contractual arrangements for the purchase of a farm, there are some important considerations you need to keep in mind.A purchaser will always expect a vendor...

Risks for Trustees

The Pike River Mine tragedy has changed the way in which health and safety is thought about.

When a Trustee Loses Capacity

With New Zealand’s ageing population, more and more people are losing mental capacity as they grow older.

Looking into the Election Crystal Ball

With an election coming up this year we thought it would be interesting to turn our minds to what impact this election, or the next, may have on how you...

Voidable Transactions

When an insolvent company goes into liquidation it’s accepted that not all creditors will get paid 100 cents in the dollar.

A Boost to Employee Share Offers and Capital Raising

The overhaul of the laws that govern New Zealand’s financial markets took another big step last September with the passing into law of the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013.

New Zealand company business numbers

All companies currently registered in New Zealand have now been assigned a New Zealand Business Number (NZBN).

Director residency requirements

An important part of the government’s companies and limited partnership reforms package is undergoing its final legislative steps.

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye! Getting staff resignations right

It’s said that the only things certain in life are death and taxes. For business owners, the list also includes resignations.

Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney allows you to appoint someone (the attorney) to look after your affairs.

Finance conditions for Sale & Purchase Agreements

With the standard ADLS/REINZ Agreement for Sale & Purchase containing a ‘subject to finance’ condition, a purchaser must do all things reasonably necessary to arrange finance on or before the...

Forestry Rights

Forestry Rights were created by the Forestry Rights Registration Act 1983, which means the first wave of cropping relating to those rights is well underway.

Signing on Behalf of Trustees

Trustees sometimes need to sign documents in a hurry. An example is bank mortgage documents which may need to be signed so that the trust can borrow to cover expenditure.

Changes to the ADLS/REINZ Agreement for Sale & Purchase

Changes have recently been made to the ADLS/REINZ Agreement for Sale & Purchase; this is the standard form of Agreement used in almost all New Zealand property transactions.

A reminder: buyers beware of GST zero-rating

The Taxation (GST and Remedial Matters) Act 2010 (TGRM) was created to streamline administrative costs to the IRD and to prevent ‘phoenix’ GST schemes where land was transferred between associated...

Joint Tenancy and Tenancy in Common

If you are thinking you would like to own property or assets with your spouse, partner or friend (or several others) you will need to decide on the form of...

Family Trusts and the Family Protection Act 1955

Under the Family Protection Act 1955 (FPA), parents have a moral duty to provide in their Wills for their children’s maintenance and support.

Sharemilking Agreements - Variable Order

Federated Farmers has now released an updated Variable Order Sharemilking Agreement. This follows the Sharemilking Agreements Order 2011.

Rest home care

After gift duty comes to an end from 1 October, one thing will still be clear: you can’t give everything away to a trust and then expect to rely on...

Rest home subsidies and the abolition of gift duty

Recently, much has been made of the government’s intention to do away with gift duty from 1 October.

New Unit Titles Legislation now in Force

On 20 June 2011 the Unit Titles Act 2010 and the Unit Titles Regulations 2011 came into effect.

Buying and selling a unit title property: management agreements

Since the Unit Titles Act 2010 came into force on 20 June 2011, we expect to see a greater level of transparency and disclosure of relevant information in respect of...

GST on land transactions

On 1 April 2011, the GST position for some land transactions took effect. Where property including land is sold between two GST-registered parties, the transaction will be ‘zero-rated’ for GST purposes.

Christchurch earthquake: buying property

Property buyers and sellers, together with their lawyers, are generally adapting well to the difficult circumstances surrounding the recent Canterbury earthquakes.

The 'Solicitor's Approval' Clause

Have you ever signed an Agreement for Sale & Purchase without first giving it to your lawyer to consider? What would happen if something went wrong with the contract? You...

Rush to Trust - or Maybe Not?

With the abolition of gift duty taking place on 1 October 2011, commentators are already predicting there will be a rush to transfer assets into trust, or to complete any...

Leasing the Farm

Leasing a farm, an orchard or cropping land is becoming more common and has attractions for both the land owner and the tenant farmer.

Sharemilking Arrangements: 2011/2012 season

Many dairy farmers are at this time of the year planning their sharemilking and employment arrangements for the upcoming 2011/2012 season.

Limitation Act 2010

Limitation laws prevent certain legal claims being brought against a person or company after a defined period of time.

Encumbrances: What does the future hold?

The Law Commission has recently made recommendations for a proposed new Land Transfer Act to replace the current Land Transfer Act 1952.

Abolition of gift duty: Implication of family trusts

The announcement in October that the government intends to abolish gift duty will affect all people with current gifting programmes in place after the transfer of ownership of property into...

Trustee Nearly Bankrupted by the Construction Contracts Act

Taking on a trusteeship of a family trust has significant responsibilities and can have severe implications, something that many people do not realise when they agree to be appointed to...

Running a Family Trust

The Sunday Star Times recently published an article about Do-It-Yourself family trusts and how failure to manage them correctly can put the integrity of a trust at risk.

Transferring Assets during a Relationship

The transfer of assets during a relationship does not guarantee their protection if your relationship then breaks down and your spouse or partner makes a claim.

Landlocked Land

You own a secluded property amongst lush greenery in a hillside suburb. The only access is via a steep pedestrian path.

Tenants in Common versus Joint Tenancy

When buying property it is important to consider the type of ownership that is appropriate for your particular circumstances.

Loss Attributing Qualifying Companies

If you have an investment making losses and you want to pay less income tax, an LAQC may be a useful investment vehicle for you.

Disputes Between Co-Owners of Land and the Property Law Act 2007

If there is no formal agreement co-owners of real estate sometimes find themselves in dispute on a variety of issues relating to their joint venture property.

How is a Trust's Income Taxed?

Income earned by a trust can be either retained by the trust or it can be distributed to the trust’s beneficiaries.

Bankruptcy and Trusts

The present economic downturn has thrown up the problem of what to do when a settlor and/or a trustee becomes bankrupt. This article looks at possible remedies for both situations.

Loans and Capital Distributions to Beneficiaries

In the last issue of Trust eSpeaking (September 2008), we discussed the scenario that often occurs when trustees provide funds to beneficiaries, for example, to help in the purchase of...

Trust Busting

There is considerable power held by the courts to make orders under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (PRA) if relationship property has been transferred to trustees.

Taxing Property Transactions - When buying, be careful

Many of you may have seen the ‘Property Climbers’ programme on television which must greatly amuse the Inland Revenue Department.