Towards the end of 2017 the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017 came into force. The Act consolidates a number of commercial and business related statutes such as the Sale of Goods Act, Contracts (Privity) Act and Carriage of Goods Act. It applies to all commercial contracts entered into since 1 September 2017.

Trusts are a firmly established mechanism for protecting and managing assets in New Zealand. The upcoming changes in trust law are long overdue. However, such changes are also sure to call into question the country’s fixation with family trusts.

It has long been commonplace in New Zealand for owners of small businesses to have their husbands, wives or de facto partners registered as directors. Often this appointment is a mere gesture, with the spouse/partner director having little to no involvement in the business. However, these so-called “sleeping directors” can be at risk if the company encounters financial difficulties.

Many small companies – especially family-owned or “owner/operator” businesses – have the same directors and shareholders. In these companies, it is common practice for shareholders to have a “shareholder current account”, also referred to as “drawings”.

New fees and forms are introduced with small changes to service requirements due to recent amendments to the Resource Management (Forms, Fees, and Procedure) Regulations 2003. 

The Supreme Court’s decision of David Browne Contractors Ltd v Petterson [2017] NZSC 116 was released this earlier week.  The Supreme Court has held that “due debts” in the voidable transactions regime (s292 of the Companies Act 1993) includes both present and contingent debts. 

On 1 August 2017 the Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation Bill was introduced into Parliament and amongst other changes increases the jurisdiction of the Disputes Tribunal from $15,000 to $30,000.