On 16 February 2017 the Contract and Commercial Law Bill passed its third reading.
The Bill consolidates 11 contract and commercial Acts into a single piece of legislation. The drafters have also taken the opportunity to update the legislation to simplify the language used and make it more accessible and easier to understand.
There have been many changes to our laws over the last few years that directly affect New Zealand businesses. In this article, we have brought together key information on the most important changes.
Arguably the most wide-reaching change following the recent overhaul of New Zealand's consumer laws is the prohibition on unfair contract terms in standard form consumer contracts. These changes come into effect on 17 March 2015.
The Commerce Commission has indicated that it will take a proactive approach to enforcing these new rules. It has recently finalised its guidelines outlining its intended approach to enforcement. You can access these guidelines by clicking on this link http://www.comcom.govt.nz/fair-trading/guidelines/unfair-contract-term-guidelines/
You can now register domain names in New Zealand without second level domains. This means the '.co' in '.co.nz' and the '.org' in '.org.nz' are now optional.
If you have a domain name which uses a second level domain such as '.co' or '.org' you should consider reserving the shorter .nz domain name before it is obtained by a competitor or someone else.
The inclusion of a new prohibition on businesses making unsubstantiated representations is one of the key amendments to the Fair Trading Act.
Businesses are prevented from making representations about their products or services if they do not have reasonable grounds for the representation when it is made, whether or not it later turns out to be true. These changes come into effect on 17 June 2014.
Parliament has abolished the Door to Door Sales Act and replaced it with new provisions in the Fair Trading Act covering door to door and telemarketing sales.
The new provisions cover uninvited direct sales where a supplier approaches a consumer uninvited in their home or workplace or by phone to try and sell them products or services and an agreement is entered into for those products or services costing at least $100 (or where the price is uncertain). These changes come into effect on 17 June 2014.
Some of the most important changes to New Zealand's consumer laws in recent times were enacted at the end of last year.
These changes will affect nearly all businesses in New Zealand. If you are an owner or manager of a business you will need to consider whether your documentation and processes need to be updated to comply with the new laws.
While a few of the changes are effective now, the majority of changes do not come into effect until 17 June 2014. There is a longer timeframe before the prohibition on unfair contract terms comes into effect (17 March 2015).
This article provides a brief overview of the key changes. We will be circulating a series of articles over the coming months to provide more information on the most significant reforms.
Are you aware that you have an obligation to ensure at least the minimum wage is paid to your salaried employees?
One of the biggest assets of any business is its brand. Brand awareness within your target market is one of the key factors determining your business' success.
This means it is important you take steps to protect your brand. One way of doing so is to register your trade mark.
There are two words that every employer fears from a key employee, "I'm leaving." The situation is only made worse when you find out that your key employee is leaving to join a competitor!
Trusts can be a useful mechanism to manage and distribute wealth. They can be used in this way both during your lifetime and after you have died.
On 10 December 2012, new regulations came into force giving effect to the Madrid Protocol in New Zealand. This means it is now easier for New Zealand trade mark owners to apply for protection of their trade marks in multiple countries and overseas trade mark owners to apply for protection of their trade marks in New Zealand. This article discusses the Madrid System, its advantages and disadvantages and other recent changes to our trade marks legislation.
As a nation we don't look favourably on people who gain an unfair advantage over their competition. The New Zealand public were outraged when Belarusian shot putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk was found to have taken performance enhancing drugs at the recent London Olympics. She was stripped of her gold medal and told to hand it over to New Zealander Valerie Adams.
Exporters may complete numerous successful trades with buyers without the existence of a written contract. Despite this, there are practical reasons why a written contract can assist the parties both during and after their negotiations.
If you import or export goods, the chances are you will have been involved in a contract that is subject to the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG for short). The Convention governs thousands of contracts each year but surprisingly many people don’t know about it.
In most circumstances transactions between exporters and their customers go off without a hitch. Even if there is no formal written agreement between them or the documentation setting out the details of the transaction is inadequate, most parties will work through any issues to reach an agreeable solution. Nevertheless, disputes about what the parties actually agreed can sometimes occur.
Canterbury business owners have received a number of blows over the last couple of years. The ongoing global financial crisis coupled with the effects of the Christchurch earthquake and subsequent aftershocks have hit many businesses hard. Some business owners can no longer carry on as they have done in the past and now must consider downsizing their business to keep afloat. This may result in business owners having to make the tough decision to lay off some of their staff.
While written employment agreements have been required since the Employment Relations Act 2000 came into force, not all employers have complied with this obligation. In an effort to ensure greater compliance significant penalties can now be imposed on employers who do not have employment agreements with their employees.
A number of important changes to our employment laws came into force on 1 April 2011. These changes will affect employment agreements and employment relations between employers and employees before, during and on termination of an employee's employment.
How will changes to our limitation laws affect you? Charlene Sell, an Associate with Wynn Williams, discusses the impact of our new limitation laws on your business’s record keeping procedures.
How can business borrowing affect your family trust? Annabel Sheppard, partner, and Charlene Sell,
solicitor, from Wynn Williams, discuss the risks of taking out a business loan secured by trust assets.