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COVID-19 Alert Levels and the Construction Industry
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, August 2020

The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert level 3 and 2) Order 2020 came into force at 11:59pm on 12 August 2020, putting Auckland into alert level 3 and the rest of New Zealand into alert level 2. This is the second time New Zealand has experienced the respective alert levels, with parties more prepared and familiar with the requirements and restrictions...

COVID-19 “Safe Harbour” Not for Sinking Ships
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, August 2020

Director’s personal liability for company tax debts On 10 July 2020, Inland Revenue issued a public ruling (the Ruling) considering the application of the asset stripping rules (under which directors and shareholders may be personally liable for company tax debts) in the context of the recently enacted exception to certain directors’ duties under the Companies Act 1993 (the Safe Harbour)...

Government Releases Commercial Rent Relief Package
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, June 2020

You may well have seen announcements in the media last week around a Government ‘rent relief package’ for commercial tenancies affected by COVID-19, which involves an implied rent relief clause to be incorporated into ‘qualifying’ leases, and a compulsory arbitration scheme that will apply where parties are unable to agree a fair abatement of rent...

The New Insurance Landscape in the Face of COVID-19
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, June 2020

Business interruption (BI) insurance policyholders across the globe have raised concerns around their insurers’ responses to their claims for business interruption losses arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. With many countries in lockdown, many businesses have been significantly affected. Those business have typically found that their claims for lost revenue/profit have been declined. Many BI policies contain specific exclusions for loss arising from pandemics such as COVID-19...

Urgent Overseas Investment Law Changes Announced in Response to COVID-19
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, May 2020

The New Zealand Government has announced that it is further amending the Overseas Investment Act 2005 (Act) in order to protect key New Zealand assets as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic...

COVID-19: Practical Steps for Protecting Privacy while Contact Tracing
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, May 2020

The need to protect privacy while enabling contact tracing for COVID-19 cases is top of mind as more New Zealand businesses prepare to reopen their doors under Alert Level 2. While the basic requirements for contract tracing registers seem simple enough to follow, there are some practical steps businesses should take to ensure compliance with current privacy law...

FMA Level 2 Guidelines
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, May 2020

The Government has announced that New Zealand will be moving to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 at 11:59pm on 13 May 2020. While it is still not business as usual, Alert Level 2 will see an increase in business activity. The key, however, is to reduce the risk of transmission. In response, the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has published guidelines (supported by WorkSafe) on how financial service businesses and staff should operate under Level 2...

COVID-19 Contact Tracing - Will a Contact Tracing App Replace the Need for a Register?
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, May 2020

With the country now in Alert Level 3 and Alert Level 2 on the horizon, many businesses will be gearing up to welcome their customers physically back onto their premises in some way. At the same time, the Government has foreshadowed a continued focus on contact tracing for the foreseeable future...

Privilege Dilemmas: What Happened to "Dual Purpose" in New Zealand?
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, May 2020

Determining whether a document is privileged is a question that both in-house lawyers and private practice lawyers face when confronted with a discovery exercise – particularly in large-scale construction disputes. In this article we examine the recent decision in Minister of Education v James Hardie New Zealand [2019] NZHC 3487 (MOE) which provides timely guidance on the complex area of privilege...

Alert Level 3: Big Change for Some Commercial Tenancies, Very Little Change for Others
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, April 2020

Alert Level 3 began at 11.59pm on 27 April 2020, with the implementation of the Health Act (COVID-19 Alert level 3) Order 2020 (theLevel 3 Order). For some people and businesses this change provides welcome relief to revive business operations (albeit with some modifications), but for others very little has changed...

COVID-19: Remobilising the Construction Sector
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, April 2020

The New Zealand Government has announced that New Zealand will move to Alert Level 3 (AL3), effective from 11.59pm on 27 April. For the construction sector, this means that ‘non-essential’ projects are able to remobilise to site and resume performance of their works – subject to compliance with health and safety and physical distancing rules...

Advertising Health Related Claims for COVID-19 Products
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, April 2020

Currently there is an increase in the production and sale of products to help deal with risks from COVID-19 such as face masks, hand sanitisers and other personal protective equipment. In some cases, these products are advertised with health related claims, including the prevention of COVID-19. With a rush to get products to market quickly in response to global demand there is an increased risk of unsubstantiated or misleading and deceptive claims...

COVID-19: Summary of Government Support Available
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, April 2020

The New Zealand Government has provisioned $52 billion to spend (if necessary) on measures that cushion the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and communities, and support the long-term recovery of the country’s economy. The support programmes announced to date are primarily targeted at keeping businesses afloat and keeping employees in work using a variety of tools, including subsidies, preferential loans, revenue foregone and relaxations of regulatory obligations...

Will Latest COVID-19 Tax Changes Reignite M&A Transactions?
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, April 2020

While targeted as relief for small and medium-sized enterprises adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, new tax measures announced today by the Government apply more broadly and may have significant implications for M&A transactions. The package of business tax changes could affect the purchase price for some target companies and potentially the timing of when transactions should complete...

COVID-19: Unlocking the Lockdown – Key Issues for Landlords and Tenants as Alert Level 4 Restrictions Ease
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, April 2020

As the Covid-19 curve appears to be flattening and Government rhetoric becomes more positive, the country, and in particular the business community, is starting to contemplate what life at Alert Level 3 might look like. The breakneck speed with which the country moved to Alert Level 4 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic – from Level 2 to total lockdown in less than three days – left businesses with little time to prepare for the impact it would have on their operations...

NZX Releases Continuous Disclosure Update to Issuers in Response to COVID-19
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, April 2020

NZX Regulation has today released an update providing guidance for issuers on the approach to disclosure in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19. The full text of the NZX update is available here...

COVID-19: Government Guidance for Public Agencies in the Construction Sector
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, April 2020

Two weeks into the Government-imposed countrywide lockdown (the Alert Level 4 Lockdown), we have seen a flurry of activity in the construction sector as Contractors and Principals grapple with the commercial, legal/contractual and practical challenges associated with the lockdown and COVID-19 more generally. The construction sector will play a lead role in kick-starting the New Zealand economy when the Alert Level 4 Lockdown is lifted...

COVID-19: Essential Workers Leave Support
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, April 2020

The Government’s COVID-19 Essential Workers Leave Support scheme provides support to essential services to pay employees who can’t work due to COVID-19.   Eligibility COVID-19 Essential Workers Leave Support is only available to essential services. Essential services are those that provide the ‘necessities of life’ and are listed on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s website...

COVID-19: Employers Can Still Make Commercial Decisions Regarding their Workforce
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, April 2020

Much has been said in the media about how employers cannot make changes to their workforce without the consent of employees, or that accessing the Government’s COVID-19 Wage Subsidy means you can’t make changes to your workforce. However, those blunt messages risk sending a simplistic message which does not reflect the commercial reality of the world that businesses are now operating in...

Consumer Finance and COVID-19 – New Regulations and Guidance
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, April 2020

The Government has provided guidance on the regulation of consumer finance following the disruption caused by COVID-19. Parliament passed theCredit Contracts and Consumer Finance (Exemptions for COVID-19) Amendment Regulations 2020(Amendment Regulations) on 31 March 2020. The Commerce Commission (Commission) has also releasedguidancefor lenders operating during the COVID-19 pandemic (Guidance Document)...

Government Issues Relief for Directors and Companies from Insolvency Provisions in the Companies Act 1993
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, April 2020

MinterEllisonRuddWatts welcomes the announcement made by the Government today of a number of measures to support businesses during the uncertainty created by COVID-19. The reforms provide flexibility in the application of certain directors' duties in the Companies Act 1993 and implement an accelerated mechanism for companies to request a moratorium on the payment of debts...

New Zealand Tax and COVID-19 — New Tax Relief Measures
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, April 2020

The New Zealand government’s new tax measures provide some relief for taxpayers dealing with the effects of COVID-19. However, the global pandemic is causing a number of tax issues that have not yet been addressed. Simon Akozu and Phillip Chrisp of MinterEllisonRuddWatts explain the new tax measures, and flag some potential issues for multinationals that operate in New Zealand to consider...

Construction Sector Mitigation Measures in the Face of COVID-19
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, April 2020

Some construction companies are just weeks away from collapse – including private principal developers and contractors. As parties battle out what contractual relief looks like for the Alert Level 4 lockdown, it is encouraging to see a focus on mitigation measures. This focus spans across all levels: mitigation as an industry; collaborative mitigation steps by parties for projects; and the requirement on contractors to mitigate their loss...

NZX Announces Additional Class Waiver and Ruling in Response to COVID-19
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, March 2020

On 26 March, NZX Regulation announced an additional class waiver and ruling for issuers in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19. This follows two previous waivers announced earlier in the month. The NZX’s media release is available here.   Who needs to read it? Why? The NZX’s announcement will be of interest to all listed issuers, particularly those considering their capital raising needs in the coming months...

COVID-19: What’s fair when it comes to rent and outgoings abatement?
MinterEllisonRuddWatts, March 2020

As New Zealand progresses through the Government-mandated Level 4 lockdown period in response to COVID-19, we are reminded by our Prime Minister to be kind to each other. In the commercial world, parties generally do not always make business decisions based on kindness. But landlords and tenants will certainly need to work together as they grapple with the issue of a “fair proportion” of rental and outgoings abatement during this period...

 

 

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