Over the Fence

New government-endorsed health and safety toolkit now available

SafePlus, a new government-developed and endorsed health and safety toolkit, is now available to all New Zealand businesses, including those in the rural sector.

SafePlus currently consists of three products:

  1. Resources and guidance
  2. Independent onsite assessment and advisory service, and
  3. Online self-assessment tool (available mid-2018).

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Loan Documents: Read the fine print, there could be some surprises

Whether you like it or not, you will probably need to fund your farming operations with borrowing from one of New Zealand’s main trading banks.

The main terms that borrowers look at when signing loan facility documentation relate to the cost of the borrowing: interest rate, the amount of the repayment sums and the term of the lending. The security required is usually a mortgage over the farm land and, more often than not, a general security agreement which is effectively a mortgage over all of the farming entity’s assets that are not land such as stock, crops, machinery, receivables and so on.

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Farm Management Plans

A new (uncertain) dawn for farmers

One of the hot issues in the recent election campaign was raising the water standards in our rivers and lakes. Regional authorities are the bodies that are charged with implementing the government’s water standards policy.

All regional authorities have implemented, or are in the process of implementing, plan changes that are designed to enable them to achieve the minimum water standards set by government.

Reduce leaching into waterway

One of the aims of these plan changes is to reduce the amount of nitrogen and/or phosphorous leaching from farms into waterways.

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Property Briefs

Current tenants selling their business – what it means for a landlord

If you are a commercial building owner, you will at some point come across a situation where your current tenant wants to sell their business. Tenants often forget to talk to their landlord about them consenting to the new business owner.

When a business is sold, the current tenant is obliged to seek the landlord’s consent to assign the lease to the incoming business owner. The landlord usually has 10 days to approve the new tenant.

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Being an Airbnb Host

You have significant obligations to a number of parties

In our Autumn/Winter edition (No 24) we discussed the tax aspects of being a host with Airbnb or other online accommodation platforms. We thought a reminder would be useful if you’re an existing host (or you’re thinking of letting your house/room) about obligations to your lender, insurer and local authority.

Before becoming the host-with-the-most with phenomenal reviews, it is important that not only do you understand the IRD’s requirements, but also that you are aware of your obligations to other ‘parties’ involved in what is your accommodation business.

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Speak With Us Before you Sign the Agreement

Don’t be like John

Buying a house is known to be one of the most stressful times in your life, and competing with other would-be purchasers in a heated property market doesn’t help the stress levels.

Often the pressure can be on to make a snap decision and put an offer on a property that you’ve only had a quick look around. As the Agreement for Sale and Purchase of Real Estate is likely to be one of the most important documents you ever sign, make sure you talk with us first just so you know what you’re getting yourself in for.

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Privacy in the Workplace

What’s yours is mine?

In a world where technology is becoming more prevalent, it’s easy to feel that privacy rights are a thing of the past.

During the recent election campaign, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters accused government officials of breaching his privacy by leaking information to the media regarding errors in his superannuation payments. This created an uproar and, as yet, it’s not clear how the information was provided to the media. Not all privacy breaches are so high profile but they are becoming increasingly common given developments in technology and social media. Considering the numerous forms of communication we have now, there are many ways that information can be disseminated.

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Ageing Trustees

Know when to walk away

When Barack Obama was US president, he made an historic visit to Africa. One of the messages he repeated was that, under the US Constitution, he could only be president for eight years and this time limit is generally a good thing.

Obama was, of course, making an indirect reference to the tendency in some African countries for leaders to have themselves declared to be president for life. This, in Obama’s view, was not only unhealthy but also an excessive burden for one person to bear for too long.

Something similar could be said of some trustees. No one should want to be trustee for life. It’s useful for trustees to think about a succession plan: which trustees should we expect to retire or be replaced and who are the likely replacement trustees? Sometimes, likely future trustees are asked to sit in on trustee meetings to understand how the trust runs. (We have an article about the process for retiring trustees here.)

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Retiring as a Trustee?

There’s a process that should avoid any problems down the line

Many people agree to act as trustees of trusts set up by friends or relatives on the basis that they wish to help out or assist their friend or relative in some way. Eventually it comes time to retire as trustee for reasons such as age, the winding up of the trust or other changes of circumstance.

Retiring as a trustee is not as simple as it sounds and there are a number of potential liabilities that need to be covered off.

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Trusts Bill

Deals with practical issues

The long-awaited Trusts Bill was introduced to Parliament on 1 August 2017. The Bill is largely an update and restatement of the Trustee Act 1956 and the common law. However, it also deals with practical issues that have faced lawyers and trustees for some years. We outline some of the most important parts of the Bill.

‘Express trust’ defined

An ‘express trust’ is defined in the Bill. The definition makes it clear that trust property is separate from a trustee’s personal property, it must be administered in accordance with the trustee’s obligations in the trust deed, and that trustees will be accountable to beneficiaries for their compliance with the duties imposed on them by the trust deed and by law.

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