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We are a full service law firm with offices in Christchurch and Auckland. We have an excellent working knowledge of your industry through existing strong client relationships with transport industry leaders and provide services across all areas of law.

We can help you with any legal issue. We have specialist teams within our firm and extensive networks both here and overseas and are happy to provide a dedicated Wynn Williams team for RTANZ.

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As you may have read in the RTANZ newsletter, we are offering fixed fee packages for employment contracts and employment related policies.  



RTANZ Articles

Dealing with NZTA disputes – cooperate or litigate?

By: Joshua Shaw, Courtney Donaldson

In October 2018 the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) announced that it was undertaking an extensive review of its 850 open compliance files. This announcement came with the message that the NZTA would be toughening up its compliance regime and would no longer be prioritising education over enforcement.

Receiverships: who, what and why

By: Shane Campbell, Josh Taylor

The recent enforced receivership of national construction firm Ebert Construction has thrust receiverships back into the spotlight. With some 95 staff laid off and creditors owed around $40 million, the consequences of a high-profile company being forced into a receivership are apparent. Nonetheless, many people involved in the construction industry, and the general public, may have little knowledge of what a receivership entails.

New year's resolutions about staff - start the process now

By: Amanda Douglas

In our experience, the lead up to Christmas and the New Year is when employers often look ahead to their staffing needs for the upcoming year. Often, it is at this time that employers identify employment issues.

Contract and Commercial Law Act: what businesses need to know

By: Charlene Sell

On 1 September 2017 the new Contract and Commercial Law Act came into force. This Act consolidates 11 contract and commercial statutes into a single piece of legislation.

Double Insurance or Seamless Cover? When the Inception Time of Insurance Cover Matters - Updated

By: Hazel Bowering-Scott

The time of inception on an insurance policy was considered by the High Court in Body Corporate 74246 & Ors v QBE Insurance (International) Limited and Allianz Australia Insurance NZ [2017] NZHC 1473. This decision has been upheld by the Court of Appeal.

Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 – A Landlord's Perspective

By: Hayden Baird

This article considers what is required of landlords, whether commercial or residential, under the health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

Arbitration of trust disputes: a new frontier

By: Jeremy Johnson, Stephanie Woods, James Anson-Holland

The Arbitration Act 1996 (Act) was enacted to facilitate the arbitration of commercial disputes and to enable international arbitration so that disputes decided here can be easily enforced in other jurisdictions. In principle, the incorporation of an arbitration clause should lead to the successful resolution of such disputes in a private, expeditious, and cost-effective way.

Enduring Powers of Attorney - changes coming into force

Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) are important documents where a person (donor) appoints representatives (attorney/s) to take care of their affairs if they lose mental capacity. There is a common misconception that only the elderly need to have EPAs but anyone can become mentally incapable at any age. In addition there is the ability for EPAs to take effect while a donor still has mental capacity. There are two types of EPAs: one in relation to property and one in relation to personal care and welfare. The Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 (the Act) sets out the requirements for EPAs. Amendments to the Act come into force on 16 March 2017. These include a change to plain language forms of EPAs so that they are simpler and easier to follow for donors and attorneys alike. From 16 March 2017, EPAs in the old forms that are not fully executed will need to be re-done on the new forms. Any EPAs in the old form that are fully executed before this date will still be effective.

Covert recordings by employees

Naoimh McSparron writes for the LawTalk Magazine on the admissibility of covert audio recordings in the employment context, the approach taken by the courts and the Employment Relations Authority (ERA), and the practical effect of that approach for those in an employment dispute.

Disruption to work as a result of the 14 November earthquake and aftershocks

By: Amanda Douglas

As time moves on from 14 November, the wider issues related to the damage begin to emerge. One such issue is the effect of disruption to work due to damage to buildings, loss of suppliers, broken or impassable roads. There is a particular effect on trucking, transport and tourism companies which rely on our roads and infrastructure to carry out their businesses, but there will be others who find the jobs that they are providing are disrupted.

Health & Safety issues arising from the 14 November earthquake and aftershocks

By: Amanda Douglas

If you employ people or operate a workplace that others come to, and you have been affected by the recent earthquakes, you are likely to be thinking about your health and safety obligations. In an emergency situation like this, what is required of those who control a place of work mostly comes down to common sense. Your key drivers will be to ensure that people are not exposed to harm.

Every business needs employment agreements for staff

By: Amanda Douglas

Statistics NZ says that 170,000 workers in our economy do not have written employment agreements. If you or your business is employing someone, it is a legal requirement to have a written employment agreement in place, even if the worker is part-time or casual.

Is your 90 day trial period correctly worded?

By: Amanda Douglas

We advise all clients to include a 90 day trial period in the employment agreements for new employees who have not worked for your company before. A recent decision of the Employment Relations Authority* means that the employment contract needs to clearly specify when the 90 day trial period begins.

Employment agreements - are you compliant?

By: Amanda Douglas

Changes to employment law came into force in April of this year. In light of these changes, employers may be required to update their employment agreements. Employers will have until 1 April 2017 to ensure their existing employment agreements are compliant with the new laws.

Drug and alcohol policies

By: Amanda Douglas

A recent decision of the Employment Relations Authority has highlighted the importance of procedural fairness when disciplining staff for a failed drug test.

The Employment Standards Legislation Bill

By: Sophie Carter

The Employment Standards Legislation Bill will see some sweeping changes made to our employment laws, due to come into effect from 1 April 2016. The Bill makes several amendments to key pieces of employment legislation with the aim of "(promoting) fairer and more productive workplaces by providing enhanced protections and benefits for both employers and employees".

New year, new plan

By: Jenny Turner

With 2016 well and truly here and January done and dusted resolutions may have been set, new systems in place and the journey has started to achieve those milestones. With the life plan in place it may also be a good time to consider your 'legal health' and your plan for the New Year in that regard.

New Health & Safety Legislation - not something to fear

By: Amanda Douglas

It is true that all organisations are going to be affected by the changes to the Act and that the duties of care imposed cannot be transferred or insured against, but it must be made clear that many organisations who prioritise health and safety will be already doing most of what is required.

Private Health and Safety Prosecutions

By: Amanda Douglas

A number of private prosecutions under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (HSEA) have been signalled in recent months. Having recently been counsel in a HSEA private prosecution, Tim Mackenzie outlines the issues that practitioners considering a HSEA prosecution should consider. Registering an interest Any party interested in a potential prosecution must first formally notify Worksafe New Zealand (Worksafe) of an interest in any enforcement action being taken. Worksafe must then advise the interested party of any decisions taken including a decision not to prosecute. If Worksafe declines to prosecute it is sensible for your client to consider their reasons and give weight to them.

Increased Protections for Consumers: What Businesses Need to Know

By: Charlene Sell

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.

Disclosure of Job Candidate Information

A recent decision of the Human Rights Review Tribunal contains significant developments for employers over their obligations to withhold and disclose private information. The decision, Waters v Alpine Energy Limited, has allowed an unsuccessful job candidate to view information regarding the recruitment process, including CV's of other candidates. This has caused a stir in the industry.

New Health & Safety Bill Introduced to Parliament

By: Amanda Douglas

As discussed in our previous articles Impact of Health and Safety Reforms at Governance Level and Government Announces Law Reform Package for Workplace Safety, the Government’s “Working Safer” package aims to significantly reform New Zealand’s Health and Safety law. One of the most fundamental components of this change will be the introduction of entirely new legislation. This will replace the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (HSE).

Minimum Wage Obligations for Salaried Employees

By: Charlene Sell

Are you aware that you have an obligation to ensure at least the minimum wage is paid to your salaried employees?

Redundancies: Justifying your Decision to Restructure

Of recent times, there has been development in the law surrounding redundancies and an employer's decision to restructure their business. With many employers looking to restructure, it is timely to summarise these developments.

Select Committee Report on Employment Relations Ammendment Bill

The Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee reported back on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill just prior to Christmas.

Impact of Health and Safety Reforms at Governance Level

By: Amanda Douglas

Recently, increased workplace safety attention has been directed toward the governing level of employer organisations. Particular catalysts for this have been the two recent Royal Commissions of Inquiry (Pike River and Canterbury Earthquakes), and a report from the cabinet appointed Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety (the Taskforce).

Government Announces Law Reform Package for Workplace Safety

By: Amanda Douglas

Recently the Government announced its intention to overhaul the current employment health and safety laws, through the release of the Reform Package Working Safer – A blueprint for Health and Safety at Work. The Reform Package represents the most significant reform of New Zealand's workplace health and safety regime in 20 years.

How Safe is Your Goods Service Licence?

By: Amanda Douglas

You are required under the Land Transport Act 1998 ("the Act") to hold and maintain a Transport Service Licence ("TSL"). If you lose your TSL, you cannot lawfully operate.

Restraints of Trade in a Competitive Market

By: Charlene Sell

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!

Changes to Employment Legislation

By: Amanda Douglas

2013 looks to be the year that the Government will implement many of its pre-election policies.  On 26 April 2013, the Employment Relations Amendment Bill ("the Bill") was introduced by the Minister of Labour.  The Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee has now called for submissions on the Bill.

Discretionary Misconceptions: Bonus Payments in the Employment Relationship

By: Amanda Douglas

Many employment agreements contain a bonus provision which will often be couched in terms that, on the face of it, seem to vest complete control of the operation of the bonus with the employer.

Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace

By: Amanda Douglas, Kirstie Wyss

Everyone knows that an employee who turns up at work under the influence of drugs or alcohol poses a very real risk not only just to their own safety but also to the safety of other employees and customers - especially where the operation of heavy machinery is involved.  This doesn't always (but can) involve blatant drug or alcohol use at work.  Sometimes, as an employer, you are dealing with the after-effects of drug or alcohol use by your employee the night before.  In other instances, you are trying to screen for drugs and alcohol in a safety sensitive area.

Sharing in the Proceeds: A Tenant's Interest in its Landlord's Insurance Policy

A recent decision of the High Court Earthquake List in Christchurch has considered the interests of a tenant under its landlord's insurance policy.

Don't Get Burned - The Importance of Business Interruption Insurance

Recently a demolition business owner had three of his trucks destroyed by arson. Unfortunately, whilst the business has insurance for the damage to the trucks, it has no cover for the business it will lose with three of its fleet out of action.

Directors' Duties and Specialisation

Recent litigation surrounding collapsed finance companies has brought into question the legal standard of the care, diligence, and skill expected of company directors.  In particular the cases have grappled is the extent to which specialisation within a board of directors is permitted. 

Commercial Earthquake Insurance Claims - Lessons Learned and Observations

By: Emily Walton

When going into bat for commercial clients to help maximise their earthquake insurance claims, two things are vital:  information and tenacity.

Handling Redundancies in Tough Times

By: Charlene Sell

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. 

New Company Tax Rules

The Taxation (GST and Remedial Matters) Act 2010 (the “Act”) was enacted on 20 December 2010.
The Act introduces changes to the rules for Qualifying Companies (QC) and Loss Attributing
Qualifying Companies (LAQC) and creates a new type of company, the Look-Through Company (LTC).

Requirements for Employment Agreements From 1 July 2011

By: Charlene Sell

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 Beginner's Guide to Business Interruption Insurance

By: Emily Walton

This is a beginner's guide to the hot topic (in Canterbury anyway) of business interruption. In addition to a general overview of loss of gross profits cover, it touches on issues to be mindful of, common disputes and underwriting pitfalls. Each policy and every business have their own unique issues. If you need to make a claim, take some professional advice.

Business Borrowing: The Impact on Family Trusts

By: Charlene Sell, Annabel Sheppard

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.

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Wynn Williams Christchurch
Level 5, Wynn Williams House, 47 Hereford Street, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand.
PO Box 4341, DX WX11179, Christchurch 8140.
+64 3 379 7622
+64 3 379 2467
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