Articles

Covid-19 updates

Health and Safety Protocols for the Construction Industry - Covid-19 Alert Level 2

There is an important update on the health and safety requirements in the construction sector we wish to share with you if you have not yet been updated. Over the last few weeks, the situation with Covid-19 in New Zealand has noticeably improved. However, it is too soon to celebrate, and there is no room for complacency as we will still be under Covid-19 Alert Level 2, starting this Thursday 14 May 2020. It will remain critical, perhaps more than ever, for everyone in the construction industry to take all necessary steps to keep the virus under control until we are down to Alert Level 1.
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Electronic Signing of Contracts

Part 4 of the Contracts and Commercial Law Act 2017 ("CCLA") provides that, with some few exceptions, where a signature is required by law (including to conclude a contract) you can sign that document electronically provided certain conditions are met. An electronic signature is defined in the CCLA as a method used to identify a person and to indicate that person's approval of that information.
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Leasing in a Post-Pandemic World

A New Normal - The impacts of the Covid-19 virus have been felt the world over and have pushed businesses to their limits. Parties on each side of a lease have been left with the job of negotiating through untested and uncertain lease clauses in a time where the support being offered by Government has been unclear and anyone who did hold insurance is discovering that 'pandemics' and 'infectious diseases' are a common policy exemption.
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Construction Contracts: Contractual Framework for Navigating Through Covid-19 Alert Level 4 (NZS 3910:2013, NZS 3915:2013, NZS 3916:2013 & NZS 3902:2004)

Parties to construction contracts, especially those contractors (and subcontractors) who are engaged to carry out particular contract works by an agreed due date for completion, may be exposed to penalties or "liquidated damages" if unable to carry on or complete those works during the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown.
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Residential Tenancies and the Covid-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Act 2020

The Covid-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Act 2020 ('the Covid-19 Act') came into effect on 26 March 2020. The single broad policy objective of the Act is to put in place the necessary arrangements in order to implement Covid-19 Alert Level 4.
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A Time to Reflect on Estate/Trust Matters

The current 'lockdown' is unprecedented. In times like these your first priority is to ensure you take care of yourselves, friends and family. However, while it is important to protect those close to you, you should also give consideration to the protection of your assets. Accordingly, it may be an opportune time to review your current estate planning to ensure everything is 'as you would like' and, if you have a trust, to make sure that it aligns with the provisions of the Trusts Act 2019 ("the Act") which was enacted this year but comes into force at the beginning of 2021.
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Hardship - Consumer Credit Contracts Under a Covid-19 Related Lockdown

Section 55 of the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 ("CCCFA") provides that a person who is unable reasonably, because of illness, injury loss of employment, the end of a relationship, or other reasonable cause, to meet their obligations under a consumer credit contract and who reasonably expects to be able to discharge their obligations if the terms of the contract were changed as provided for under the CCCFA may apply to a creditor to agree to that change. In the present Covid-19 lockdown, we expect these provisions to be tested and both debtors and creditors need to know their rights and responsibilities in these sorts of situations.
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How do Bodies Corporate Operate in Response to Covid-19?

Under Section 89 of the Unit Titles Act 2010 (“the Act”) bodies corporate are required to hold an annual general meeting ("AGM") within 15 months of the last AGM. An extraordinary general meeting ("EGM") is required to be held when requested by more than 25% of unit owners or when necessary business is required to be completed under Section 89A of the Act. Current Covid-19 restrictions will limit bodies corporate from convening physical meetings of owners consistent with obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 which requires bodies corporate to take all practicable steps to ensure the health and safety of any person attending body corporate meetings.
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Practical Guidance for Employers During Covid-19

The Covid-19 Lockdown is a unique situation that continues to change rapidly and this raises a number of questions and concerns for people, especially in the employment space. The situation surrounding Covid-19 requires flexibility from both employers and employees.
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Redundancy During Covid-19

In the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown, many employers are assessing options available to them to save their business and are contemplating cutting staff. This decision should not be taken lightly as the underlying requirements for proper termination of employment still apply.
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