Over The Fence

Stock movements

Gypsy Day approaching and Mycoplasma bovis

First detected in New Zealand in July 2017, Mycoplasma bovis (M.bovis) has become an issue for our agricultural sector.

Gypsy Day is fast approaching for our dairy farmers which sees increased stock movements around New Zealand. If you are buying cows, we recommend that you have the protection of a written agreement. This agreement can provide warranties and provisions around the rejection of animals.

Such protections are not available, obviously, when moving your own stock to another property you also own or on which you sharemilk. We recommend you check for Restricted Place Notices and Notices of Directions when moving stock/farms.

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Easements – get them right first time

In the Autumn 2015 issue of Rural eSpeaking we pointed out some aspects of rights of way and water easements, and the rights attached to them.

Expanding on this topic, we discuss another feature of easements that is important and, in many cases, is not properly understood – the permanence of an easement and issues that might arise from that over time. Virtually all easements are granted ‘in perpetuity’ which means they last forever.

When granting an easement over your property, or you’re purchasing a property that is subject to easements, you need to consider not only the situation as it is now but also potential issues that might arise over time.

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Having your own terms of sale

Rural businesses are no different from any other producers in the market in the sense that the ultimate fruits of their labours are, at some point, sold to a third party, whether that is to a meat company, a fruit packer or exporter, or a wine or dairy company.

All sales of product are governed by a contract of sale, the terms of which are either set out by statute (see below) or in a supply agreement or a contract to purchase goods or services of some description. Most of these contracts are industry standard-type contracts and, in many cases, the rural producer has little say over what goes in those contracts; most large fruit exporters, winemakers or dairy companies have their standard terms and conditions and won’t negotiate individual contracts with individual suppliers.

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Trustees’ personal liability for litigation costs

It can be an unpleasant surprise

Trustees and executors are not always entitled to reimbursement for their litigation costs.

While most trustees and executors will assume that costs incurred in the course of their trustee or executorship will be paid from the estate or trust, the recent decision in Courteney v Pratley[1] is an illustration of the perils that trustees or executors can face when they go to court.

Trustees and executors are in charge of the property of others. They are not expected to pay for their own expenses in doing so and, as such, are usually entitled to reimbursement of the costs they incur.

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When Grandma comes to live with us

As parents age, their children often find they need to take an increasing role in looking after them. Unpalatable as it seems, it’s important to think about the legal difficulties that can arise where one member of the family has assumed responsibility.

If questions are asked some time later, it may not be enough to say “but that is what mum/dad wanted”. We also explain the restrictions on when an attorney (the person who holds the Enduring Power of Attorney) can benefit from the decisions they make. We touch on the issues where a parent later needs to go into care.

EPA

Often elderly people do not want to live alone. Buying a unit in a retirement village, or some other form of sheltered accommodation, may be a good option. Others may find buying a unit is not financially possible or desirable. Some prefer to stay with one of the family. In that case, an increasing burden may be thrown on the family member who is providing care. These arrangements should be recorded carefully and it’s important to get legal advice.

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Option A or Option B? That is the question!

Entitlements under your spouse or partner’s will

When your spouse or partner dies you will need to make a very important decision between your entitlements under their will and potential claims against their estate. We discuss the implications of that decision, some of the issues that it raises and the consequences of the choice that you make.

In 2002 the law in New Zealand was changed so that when one of the spouses to a marriage or one of the partners in a de facto relationship of more than three years dies, the death for most purposes is treated the same as separation. Under the Matrimonial Property Act 1976, when a married couple separated the general rule was that their matrimonial property was split 50/50.

Wills

The changes to the law in 2002 extended this division to the situation where one of the spouses or de facto couples dies leaving a surviving spouse or partner. For practical purposes, death is treated the same as a separation under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976, known as the PRA.

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Business Briefs

Website privacy falling short

Your business website is a powerful tool for engaging potential and existing customers, and for collecting useful data. Where information collected is personal information, however, you have obligations under the Privacy Act 1993. The legislation contains
12 Privacy Principles which regulate how you collect, use, disclose and store personal information.

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Great, You Have Found a New Business, Now How to Buy It?

Looking to purchase a business? We can help! There are a number of steps involved in buying a business, and working your way through them can seem quite overwhelming, particularly for first time buyers.

Often prospective purchasers overlook important aspects and end up having to sort out issues that arise after settlement – at significant cost. This article puts the spotlight on common snags people experience when buying a new business.

Choosing a business structure

It’s important that you select the business structure to suit your personal circumstances and business aims. There are four main types of business structures, each with pros and cons:

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Flurry of Employment Law Changes Ahead

The 2017 general election has given the Labour-led government an opportunity to re-shape the direction of employment law in New Zealand.

We outline the upcoming changes, announced on 25 January, which include modifications to the 90-day trial period, the restoration of rest periods and collective bargaining. These changes will be incorporated into an amendment to the Employment Relations Act 2000. We also touch on the proposed compulsory redundancy provisions.

The 90-day trial period

After early indications that this change was to affect all businesses, the government will abolish the current 90-day trial periods for businesses with more than 20 employees. The 90-day trial periods remain in place for businesses with 19 or fewer employees.

New employees of businesses with 20+ employees now have recourse against any perceived unfair treatment and unjustified dismissal by allowing them to bring personal grievance proceedings during the first 90 days of employment.

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Recent Workplace Health and Safety Sentencing

Legislation is showing its teeth

The hefty sentencing in the recent Budget Plastics workplace health and safety case confirms the strict attitude now taken by WorkSafe and the courts. With the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 having been in place 18 months or so, this case reinforces the need for all businesses to ensure they comply with their obligations under the new regime.

Worksafe New Zealand v Budget Plastics (New Zealand) Ltd[1] involved a worker who had his hand amputated after it was caught in the auger of a plastic extrusion machine. His employer, Budget Plastics, pleaded guilty for failing to ensure the safety of its employee while at work, so far as was reasonably practicable, which led to serious injury. The maximum penalty was a fine of up to $1.5 million.

Health & Safety Law

Budget Plastics was found to have failed to comply with a number of industry standards and WorkSafe guidelines. It had also not implemented all the recommendations which arose from a health and safety audit six weeks before the accident.

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