Looking after your wellbeing
In this very hard year, it’s important that we all look after our mental health. The New Zealand Economics Foundation’s (NEF) Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Welbeing research report has created Five Ways to Wellbeing. NEF found that building five actions in to your day-to-day life is important for the wellbeing of individuals, families, communities and organisations.
- Keep learning
- Be active, and
- Take notice
To find out more, go here
Put Matariki 2022 into your calendar
Aotearoa/New Zealand’s first Matariki holiday will take place on Friday, 24 June 2022.
The actual day will differ each year depending on the appearance of Pleiades in the sky, although it has been decided Matariki will be celebrated on a Friday to make a long weekend for New Zealanders. In 2023, Matariki will be celebrated on Friday, 14 July.
The Pleiades are a cluster of stars that rise in midwinter and mark the start of the Māori New Year. Some iwi name this time of the year Puanga, after a bright star that is above and to the right of the Matariki constellation.
Stay safe this summer
After another torrid Covid year, we are all looking forward to a sunny (and healthy) summer break. Remember, if you’re boating, driving, bush walking, swimming or enjoying your backyard this summer, please stay safe, look out for others and enjoy relaxing in our beautiful country.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy, safe and healthy 2022.
Meri Kirihimete me te Hape Nū la.
DISCLAIMER: All the information published in Fineprint is true and accurate to the best of the authors’ knowledge. It should not be a substitute for legal advice. No liability is assumed by the authors or publisher for losses suffered by any person or organisation relying directly or indirectly on this newsletter. Views expressed are those of individual authors, and do not necessarily reflect the view of Edmonds Judd. Articles appearing in Fineprint may be reproduced with prior approval from the editor and credit given to the source.
Copyright, NZ LAW Limited, 2021. Editor: Adrienne Olsen. E-mail: [email protected]. Ph: 029 286 3650
Covid relief key expiry dates for businesses in 2021
In 2020, the government introduced a raft of legislation to provide temporary relief for businesses struggling to navigate the effects of the Covid pandemic. Some relief measures, such as the safe harbour for company directors, have already expired, while others will expire this year unless they are renewed. The key expiry dates for 2021 that you should be aware of are:
- 26 March: Landlords and tenants of commercial premises who could not agree on rental arrangements during the 2020 lockdown period have until this date to access the government’s subsidised arbitration or mediation service to resolve the dispute.
- 31 March: Measures allowing companies, incorporated societies and other entities to hold meetings online and make temporary exceptions to their rules.
- 15 May: Provisions allowing for electronic signatures when signing security agreements that contain powers of attorney.
- 22 September: The requirement for landlords to give 30 working days’ notice instead of 10 working days’ notice to end a commercial lease where the tenant fails to pay rent.
- 31 October: The cut-off date for businesses to enter into the government’s business debt hibernation scheme has been extended until 31 October 2021.
The scheme allows businesses to have a month of protection from most creditors enforcing their debts, and a further six months’ protection if their creditors agree.
Consents not needed for small builds
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.
How many schemes are you eligible under?
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.
Apprentice Support Programme
If your business has an apprentice who is actually training, you may be eligible to receive $1,000/month for first year apprentices and $500/month for second year apprentices. This payment is for a maximum of 20 months from August 2020 to March 2022. Visit here at Work and Income Te Hiranga Tangata to apply.
Decision-making can be affected by bias
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.
Smoking in motor vehicles with children now banned
Smoking in motor vehicles when children under the age of 18 years old are present is now prohibited. The passing of the Smoke-free Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor
Vehicles Carrying Children) Amendment Act 2020 has made this an offence.
Police will now have the discretion to issue on-the-spot fines of $50 for those who are caught smoking in cars with children, or they may issue warnings or refer people to stop-smoking agencies.
As I write this editorial, the Covid-19 pandemic has had, and continues to have, a long-lasting effect on New Zealand and the rest of the world. Everyone has been affected in some way – to a greater or lesser degree.
During lockdown, our physical environment changed with significantly less pollution and fewer emissions. It was quieter with only a handful of vehicles on the road, and we could more easily see and hear our native birds. Our focus altered to our home and families, go-ing for long walks and enjoying each other’s company.
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’.
The legislation outlines the government’s targets over the next 30 years (by the year 2050) of net greenhouse gas emissions of zero and to reduce methane emissions by up to 47%.
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.
A bit of background
Following the Christchurch earthquakes, landlords and tenants were not permitted access to leased properties that were inside the ‘red zone’ while investigations into the structural integrity of buildings were being undertaken. In these instances, where the property had not been totally or partially destroyed, the parties were still required to meet their full obligations under their lease even though they were unable to operate from their leased premises.
Not a ‘gift’, there are employer obligations
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.
Not all applications were equal
Obligations imposed on an employer are different depending on when the subsidy application, and the associated declaration, was submitted.