Can I Turn My Phone Off?

Technology is changing the way we work and think. There is an expectation in the modern connected world that employees will always be available to respond to the employer’s or customer’s demands. A lack of availability or responsiveness is often perceived as detrimental to competitive advantage. At the start of last year France introduced a law giving workers a right to disconnect from their work devices, calls after work and communications during holidays. This new law was driven by a concern that an ‘always on’ culture can create stress, interrupt family life and not allow workers a proper opportunity to
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Travel Law

The end of the year is near, Christmas is on the horizon, and work is ramping up to the final push before the holidays begin, which is often a peak travel time. Given New Zealand’s geographical location, for many kiwis that travel, flying is an inevitable part of travel. Travelling and ‘the great kiwi OE’ has become something regarded as a rite of passage. Whether you are planning an intrepid expedition, or something closer to home, here are some handy legal travel tips to help you enjoy the summer break as much as possible. Visas Planning a trip overseas?  Before
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Christmas Recipe

German Stollen  MAKES 2 LOAVES PREP AND COOK TIME 1 HOUR 30 MINUTES (+ STANDING TIME) ¼ cup (60ml) dark rum 11/3 cups (200g) raisins, chopped finely ½ cup (80g) sultanas 1½ cups (375ml) milk 2 tablespoons caster sugar 1 egg 3 teaspoons (10g) dried yeast 4½ cups (650g) bread or plain flour 2 teaspoons salt ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom 125g butter, chopped ½ cup (75g) mixed peel 1 cup (150g) slivered almonds 250g marzipan 60g butter, extra, melted ½ cup (55g) icing sugar, to dust 1 Pour rum over raisins and sultanas.  Stand for 1
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Buying to build – tips to get it right

If you’re thinking of building from scratch, either with a house and land package or you’re buying a section, it pays to research and conduct due diligence which could end up saving you time, money, stress and heartache. Whether it’s a dream home you’re planning or a family bach, the details are important to get right before you sign a sale and purchase agreement or builder’s contract. Here are a few areas to consider. Plans and specifications You need to give yourself time to properly review the plans and specifications. That means checking the measurements, the materials and products that
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The Bright-line Test

In 2015, the government introduced the “bright-line test”, a method which attempts to tighten the property investment rules. The bright-line test states that (subject to exemptions) any gain from disposing of residential land within two years of acquiring it will be taxable. The test only applies to residential land. Residential land is land that has a dwelling on it or could have a dwelling on it and does not include farms or business premises. The bright-line test applies where a person’s “first interest” in residential land is acquired on or after 1 October 2015. Generally, a person acquires their “first
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Changes coming for Unit Title property

Townhouse and apartment living has become more prevalent in New Zealand in recent years, particularly in the larger cities of Auckland and Wellington, with multi-unit developments comprising 40 per cent of new builds in 2016. Growth in this area has put the existing legislation, which governs the ownership and management of Unit Titles, to the test. The outcome of this has been growing discontent with some aspects of the existing legislation. The rules relating to Unit Titles are now under review and look likely to change in the near future. The owner of a Unit Title owns part of a
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Pre-nup Agreements

Starting a new relationship positively while still protecting your own assets Prior to the commencement of a new relationship, parties may have obtained significant assets or monetary funds which they would like to be recognised as their own. This does not mean preparing for a divorce and instead can be an exercise of trust. Contracting-out agreements do not leave one party with nothing and are instead a tool to make things fair. Entering into a contracting-out agreement is a way of recognising a new relationship with the intent of making that relationship work. Motivation for signing a contracting-out agreement need
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Are you considering moving to a retirement village?

Many people who are nearing, or who have reached retirement, make a lifestyle choice to live in a retirement village. A retirement village offers a good balance between living independently and having access to support if necessary. The Retirement Villages Act 2003 (the Act) was introduced particularly to protect the interests of residents and intending residents of retirement villages. Retirement villages need to be registered and, unless exempted, have a statutory supervisor to monitor the financial interests of the village. Intending residents are required to obtain independent legal advice before signing an occupation right agreement (ORA). This is because it
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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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