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Fast-tracking increased housing density for urban environments: Changes proposed to Resource Management Act 1991

By: Michelle Mehlhopt, Kate Dickson

Increased housing density has been given the green light through changes to the Resource Management Act 1991 jointly proposed by both Labour and National. The Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Bill was introduced to the House on 19 October 2021. The Bill seeks to make changes to accelerate the implementation of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020.

Mandatory vaccination for education and health and disability sectors

By: Amanda Douglas, Sarah Hood

On 11 October 2021 the Government announced that the ‘groups of affected persons’ in the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021 (Order) will be extended to include high-risk workers in the health and disability sector, and school and early learning staff and support people who have contact with children and students. While the Government is yet to formally update the Order, the Minister for COVID-19 Response, Chris Hipkins (Minister), has released a statement broadly outlining what this means for employers and employees in these sectors.

Important changes to the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003

By: Phoebe Davies, Miriam Jenkins

As we near the end of 2021, a number of long anticipated amendments to the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 are coming into force.  The purpose of these amendments is to raise the standard of lenders and to better protect consumers from harmful lending practices. Here we summarise the five key changes.

Changes afoot for wetland regulations

By: Alyssa Langford, Mike Doesburg, Emmalene Lake

The ‘natural wetlands’ provisions in The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 and the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations have caused considerable issues throughout the country as councils, applicants and other stakeholders have struggled with their implementation. As a result of this feedback, the government has released a discussion document which sets out proposed changes to the NPS-FM and NES-F and is seeking feedback from the public. 

COVID-19: Privacy in employment

By: Amanda Douglas, Bethany Entwistle

Increasingly, employers are considering the implications of vaccines and how their workforce will be affected. Some are questioning whether they can make vaccines compulsory or impose different working conditions for unvaccinated employees. Others question whether they have a right to ask an employee about their vaccination status at all. These questions raise several privacy and legal issues which we address in this article.

High Court grants summary judgment in respect of claims under the Companies Act 1993: Feldman v Dexibit Limited [2021] NZHC 2488

By: Shane Campbell, Jordan Halligan

Summary judgment is a process that allows plaintiffs to obtain judgment where they can satisfy the court that the defendant has no arguable defence to a claim. The process is faster and less expensive than a normal High Court trial, however, it has its limits.

Employment Authority rules on “no jab, no job”

By: Anthony Drake, Rosie Judd

The Employment Relations Authority has released its first substantive determination dealing with an employer’s right to dismiss an employee who refuses to be vaccinated against COVID-19. In the case of GF v New Zealand Customs Service, the Authority found that Customs was justified in dismissing GF, a border protection officer working at a maritime port facility, who refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

COVID-19: When matters of privacy and public health clash - which prevails?

By: Bethany Entwistle

Following the recent announcement that saline solution had been administered to some New Zealanders instead of the COVID-19 vaccine, Associate, Bethany Entwistle discusses the considerations for Government on disclosure of information and what constitutes a breach of the Privacy Act.

COVID-19 wage subsidies and obligations

By: Anthony Drake, Rosie Judd

Applications for round two of the Government Wage Subsidy opened on 3 September 2021. The criteria for application and obligations around use are explained in this article. Also we explain the importance of sanctity of contract if you’re contemplating wage or salary reductions at this time.

Domestic violence during the lockdown – help is still available

By: Joshua Shaw, Courtney Donaldson

Regrettably, another lockdown in New Zealand has seen a spike in the rate of family violence. This is an unintended consequence of families being kept home, stressed and potentially out of employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also an unintended consequence for people living in already abusive homes, as they are having to spend more time with their abuser - and thus be at a heightened risk for further abuse.

Can employers require employees to get the jab?

By: Anthony Drake

There can be no doubt that all employers have a duty to provide conditions of employment that allow people to be, and stay, healthy. However, there is no cut and dried demarcation when it comes to the question of whether an employer can make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for its employees.

“Mandatory” Contact Tracing and Privacy - Is My Personal Information Protected?

By: Bethany Entwistle

Mandatory record-keeping is set to become effective seven days after a change in alert level settings allow more businesses to open. Everyone aged 12 and over must scan or manually sign-in to cafes, restaurants, bars casinos, concerts, aged care facilities, health care facilities barbers, exercise facilities, nightclubs, libraries, courts, local and central government agencies and social service providers who have a customer service counter.

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