Protecting your reputation …….

 People can get understandably touchy about their good name. This extends to the business world, where reputation can be everything. So when Danish-Norwegian Eurodance group Aqua struck it big in 1997 with their chart-topping hit Barbie Girl, Mattel – maker of the Barbie fashion doll – were pretty upset about it. The doll maker argued the song clearly infringed its trade marks and copyright. According to Mattel, the song’s lyrics caused serious damage to its brand by portraying the Barbie character as a promiscuous ditz. When Mattel filed suit, the record company refused to back down. It pointed out that
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Review Employment Agreements or risk being caught out

Employers who have not reviewed their employment agreements since April 2016 risk being caught out by recent changes to employment law. In 2016, the Government made sweeping changes to the Employment Relations Act 2000 (Act) designed to prohibit ‘zero hour contracts’. Amongst the changes were new rules about hours of work, and availability provisions. Grace period ends 1 April 2017 The legislation introducing those new rules, which came into force on 1 April 2016, included a grace period, which ends on 1 April 2017. During the grace period, only employment agreements that were entered into after 1 April 2016 had
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Being smart about retirement

If you’re looking forward to spending less time in your business and more on enjoying your life as you head towards retirement, then you’re not alone. Like many of our clients, you’re of the baby-boomer generation who have worked hard for decades to generate income and now want to sell your business or plan the transfer of it to business partners or to the succeeding generation while still retaining resources to pursue your dreams. Whether retirement is imminent or still in the future, it is a good idea to start planning the kind of lifestyle you will want to lead
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Is Occupational Overuse Syndrome a physical injury?

The problem for sufferers of occupational overuse syndrome is that from both a medical and legal perspective, it is difficult to differentiate between psychological and physiological pain. Pain is a subjective issue. At one end of occupational overuse syndrome, there will be clear evidence of a sprain or strain involved with carpal tunnel syndrome. At the other end, there will be no or inconclusive evidence of physical pain for fibromyalgia or non-specific arm pain (‘NSAP’) where no actual physical injury can be identified. There must be a causal connection between a specified event or specified events that caused a physical
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Health and Safety obligations for clubs, societies and charitable trusts

The law governing health and safety obligations in New Zealand was recently updated with the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (‘the Act’). This Act imposes legal obligations on people conducting any business activity in New Zealand. All New Zealand businesses should be updating their practices and procedures to comply with the Act’s requirements. But how does the Act affect voluntary organisations, like sports clubs, community charities and arts societies? What obligations do the officers, committee members and managers of these voluntary organisations have to manage health and safety? Can the officers of voluntary organisations face
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Heads-up for drone users

As drones become a much more familiar sight buzzing over public events, commercial premises or around homes and parks, it’s wise to remember that these are not just toys but are legally considered to be a type of aircraft – albeit unmanned – having to abide by rules and regulations as set out by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). These rules were recently updated to keep pace with the changing technology and there are hefty consequences if you break them, including fines of up to $5,000 for an individual and $30,000 for a body corporate. The term ‘unmanned aircraft’ can
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Who pays when your residential tenant damages your property?

 Landlords and insurance companies have been dismayed to learn that the Court of Appeal has decided that residential tenants don’t have to reimburse their landlord (or insurer) where their rental property is damaged. This means that even though residential tenants don’t pay for insurance they get the benefit of the landlord’s insurance. The case went through a lengthy court process. The original fire (unexpectedly caused by the tenant leaving a pot of oil on high heat) was in 2009. The tenancy agreement said that the tenants had to ‘take all reasonable precautions against the outbreak of fire’. The difficulty was
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Property Purchase – Meth testing

Methamphetamine contamination has been described as being so prevalent that it could be worse than the leaky home crisis that affected New Zealand in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Ministry of Health guidelines do not identify any safe level of methamphetamine contamination, and guidelines around the world vary. In New Zealand, decontamination is recommended if 0.5 micrograms (0.0005g) are detected in one 10cm by 10cm area. If detected, your local Council has powers under the Health Act 1956 to order cleansing of the property and could place a permanent requisition on your property file. The chemicals used to cook
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Buildings and Warrants of Fitness

Many commercial and multi-residential buildings require an annual building warrant of fitness (BWOF) to prove that the building’s safety systems have been maintained and inspected. The BWOF is obtained by the building owner and provided to the Council, and must be displayed in the building in a visible place at all times. Building Warrant of Fitness The name “Building Warrant of Fitness” can be misleading, because there is no obligation to inspect the building as a whole, and the document makes no statement as to the fitness of the building itself. Rather, it refers only to procedures listed in the
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Flat mate or de facto partner?

The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (“The Act”) provides an equal sharing presumption to relationship property for qualifying relationships. Qualifying relationships are marriages, civil unions or de facto relationships that are a minimum of three years in duration. Section 2D of the Act defines a de facto relationship as a relationship between two persons who are both aged over 18 years, who “live together as a couple” (either heterosexual or same sex relationships) and are not married or in a civil union to one another. If the parties are under the age of 18 years, the de facto relationship starts from
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