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.

mycoplasma

If you are thinking of entering into legal arrangements for the sale and purchase of rural land, it’s important that you consider including specific provisions that address M. bovis. There will be the possibility that livestock on the subject property may test positive for M. bovis between the date of the signed agreement for sale and purchase and the date for settlement.

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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 causing damage to, neighbouring properties. Generally speaking, the issue of having a small number of stock grazing on your land for a short time until they are put back in the neighbour’s property may not be too great a concern.

There are, however. some fairly serious issues that can arise, particularly where stock from a pastoral farm, for example, gets into cropping or orchard land where the damage could not only relate to the crops that are eaten or destroyed but also could cause issues with export or organic certification. As a result, losses caused by wandering or trespassing stock could be significantly in excess of the value of the lost crops.

What can be done about this?

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Agri-tourism and food

The legal implications of diversifying your farming operation

Agri-tourism and food are growing sectors in New Zealand. We have farm tourism where tourists are shown working farms with activities such as sheep dog and shearing exhibitions. Artisan producers are growing their own products and then processing them into, say, cheese, and free-range pigs are becoming salami, bacon and ham.

Often farm and food tourism begins as a way of diversifying a farm’s income stream. Sometimes it starts off as a relatively small hobby or sideline activity but then grows into something much larger in scale.

agritourism

There are legal implications to consider when you diversify your farming operation in these ways, particularly with regard to health and safety in the workplace and food safety.

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Postscript

Inform your customers properly about extended warranties

In October, local computer retailer, PB Technologies, was fined $77,000 in the District Court for not informing its customers of their rights under its extended warranties scheme. PB Technologies (PB Tech) had pleaded guilty to 14 charges brought by the Commerce Commission.

Over eight months in 2017, PB Tech sold more than 4,000 extended warranties but did not provide enough information for purchasers to properly understand the worth of these warranties. The extended warranties were sold in PB Tech’s retail stores and online.

If you are a retailer offering extended warranties on your goods, we remind you that under the Fair Trading Act 1986, you should provide a comparison of the cover provided relative to that available under the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993.

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Enforceable undertakings

An alternative to prosecution under health and safety legislation

Enforceable undertakings were introduced in the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) as an alternative to prosecution. An organisation that has breached its health and safety obligations, and is under investigation by WorkSafe, can enter into a binding agreement with WorkSafe to remedy their breaches, rather than going through prosecution and sentencing. In this article we discuss the features of this alternative and the potential benefits of taking this path.

enforceable

Enforceable undertakings are not an easier or lower cost alternative to prosecution, but there are other benefits to a business.

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Make sure you have a will

Gives comfort to your family

New Zealanders need to find time to sit down and make sure they have a will. We all know this is important but how many of us don’t get around to it? Recent research by the Commission for Financial Capability has shown that only 47% of Kiwi adults have a will and the figures are worse for women, Māori and Pasifika. This survey of 2,000 New Zealanders found that only 44% of women have wills compared with 51% of men. These statistics are concerning when you consider the devastating effects that not having a will can have on your family.

Will

Why should you have a will?

A will is often described as your final letter to your family. We agree with this but would add that your will is a legal document that gives instructions on what you want to happen to your personal assets after your death. Your will can also include matters such as the appointment of guardians for your children, what happens to any family heirlooms, whether you would like to be buried or cremated, or even who you would like to look after your beloved pet. Your will can relieve financial and emotional strain on your family, and help minimise the likelihood of disputes about your estate.

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New Zealand has the perfect business environment to develop blockchain technology

Guest editorial from the ANZ

By Reuben Tucker, ANZ Head of Transaction Banking for New Zealand and the Pacific

While there’s been a lot of hype around cryptocurrencies, it’s the underlying blockchain technology that has the potential to solve real business problems, particularly here in New Zealand.

Blockchain is a secure and decentralised way of sharing data and transactions. This means that every event and every transaction is time-stamped and stored in digital ‘blocks’, which become part of a growing chain and a permanent record that cannot be altered or tampered with because it is accessible to all those who can access the ledger.

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Retirement village life

The upside (and downside) of downsizing

New Zealand’s ageing population has created a boom for retirement villages, with record numbers being developed. For many looking to retire or slow down, retirement village living is attractive – and it’s not hard to see why. A new apartment or cottage in a secure, well-maintained environment, offering a lock-up-and-leave lifestyle, and providing resort-like facilities such as cafes, gyms, pools, bowling greens, libraries and men’s sheds can be very appealing.

Many clients tell us how happy they are to have made the move, some even say they wish they had done it sooner, but retirement village living is not for everyone. It’s important to think carefully about what this move means for you – both financially, and in terms of your current and future needs.

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Property briefs

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. One way of ensuring that a property is right for you is to include some conditions in your agreement for sale and purchase. If you do so, the purchase will only go ahead if your conditions are met. An agreement with no conditions included is ‘unconditional’ and you are obliged to complete the purchase once the agreement is signed.

Some common conditions that can be included in an agreement are conditions that give you time to sell your existing property, check what restrictions there are on the property’s title, or get a building report before the agreement becomes unconditional.

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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 understanding about which form the topic of water cooler and dinner conversation. The cross lease is just one of those many topics of conversation.

Traditional land ownership model

When you’re considering buying a house, you don’t envisage a cross lease form of ownership. You think of owning your own slice of land, subject only to the laws of New Zealand, and what your title says you can and can’t do. This form of ownership is called a fee simple title.

A cross lease is not the same as a fee simple title.

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