COVID Business Update 28 March 2022

From 11.59pm on Friday 25 March 2022 the traffic light system changed.

Why?

With the Omicron outbreak nearing its peak the focus has now shifted to making life simpler and closer to normal while still retaining things that are effective at reducing the spread of COVID. The thinking is it will help us manage life with Omicron while reducing the impact of future outbreaks.

All of New Zealand is at the Red setting.

The next review of the traffic light settings is on 4 April. The review will determine what colour each area of New Zealand will sit in.

In the meantime – Life at Red this week

From 11:59pm on Friday 25 March:

  • There are no limits for outdoor activities, such as gatherings and events, and food and drink businesses. My Vaccine Passes must be used until 11:59pm on 4 April.
  • There is a 200-person limit for indoor gatherings and events — My Vaccine Passes must be used until 11:59pm on 4 April.
  • If My Vaccine Passes are not used, the gathering limits remain unchanged.
  • You do not need to wear a face mask outdoors.
  • Other face mask rules remain unchanged — face masks are still required in most indoor settings.
  • There is no requirement to scan in or for a business to display a QR code poster or have mandatory record keeping.

My Vaccine Pass

From 11:59pm on 4 April 2022, there is no requirement to use My Vaccine Pass.

Until 4 April, where My Vaccine Passes are not used, the current restrictions remain — but after this time, the new capacity limits will apply to everyone.

After 4 April, businesses will still be able to use the system if they would like to.

Worker Vaccine Mandates

From 11:59pm on 4 April 2022, some government vaccine mandates for workers will be removed. Workers that will still be covered by a government vaccine mandate include

health and disability sector workers, prison staff, border and MIQ workers. Vaccine mandates remain in place for these sectors because workers in these areas have a high level of contact with people at risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19. For border workers, there is a high risk of exposure to new variants.

Businesses will be able to voluntarily introduce workforce vaccination requirements if appropriate to the workforce.

CentrePort’s extended container wharf goes live

A major milestone in CentrePort’s regeneration has been achieved with the Thorndon Container Wharf Reinstatement Project extended berth now operational.

On 10 March, the 262-metre operational length of TCW went live, with the Tianjin Bridge the first ship to benefit from the expanded operational length.

Representatives of the project team gathered at dawn for a blessing ceremony led by Kaumatua Peter Jackson representing the local Mana Whenua Taranaki Whanui.

The project has expanded the operational length of CentrePort’s ship-to-shore cranes from 125 metres to 262 metres. This significantly improves productivity as the cranes can now work the entire length of a ship without having to move the vessel, boosting their container services capacity.

Major ground resilience works were also undertaken, enhancing this significant asset that benefits the central New Zealand economy.

The project is the culmination of several years of work following the Thorndon Container Wharf being badly damaged in the November 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake. Emergency repairs completed in just 10 months restored 125 metres of berth in 2017. Following the finalisation of insurance in late 2019, the reinstatement and resilience works commenced in 2020.

The successful completion of this major project would not have been possible without the great work of CentrePort’s people, and partners including Holmes, HEB Construction, Dixon & Dunlop, WSP and Downer.

You can see a video about the project here

www.centreport.co.nz

Ministry of Social Development (MSD) Support Update

MSD Taranaki King Country Whanganui Region

COVID-19 Community Update

7 March 2022

Tēnā koutou

As case numbers increase, I want to acknowledge the uncertainty many of us are facing in our communities.

We have a range of resources to call on and it’s important that people understand the level of support available.

Everyone, whether fully vaccinated or not, should prepare for what they might need to do if they get COVID-19.

Being ready is about making sure that you and your household have a plan and know what to do if you have to self-isolate.  It may allow your whānau and community to help each other if needed.

A good first point of information is the isolation and care section of the Unite Against COVID-19 website.

Request welfare support in self-isolation

Many of you will be able to look after yourselves or have support from friends and whānau.  However, some people may need things like food and groceries.

At MSD, we are working alongside Health, Iwi/Māori and Community Providers to co-ordinate support and connect people with the right service.

People do not need to be on a benefit to receive help.

There are different ways to access welfare support including an online form and the COVID-19 Welfare phone line 0800 512 337 between 8am to 8pm.

People who test positive will receive further information about this support. A copy of the flyer they receive when testing positive is attached.

It’s also important that we reach out to our own networks and stay connected.  We’re attaching a useful flyer from Neighbourhood Support called Kia Ora Neighbour. For additional resources from Neighbourhood Support see their website COVID-19 | Neighbourhood Support New Zealand

If you are a provider and community organisation or agency and you require resources these can be downloaded through the Unite Against COVID-19 online platform, Toolkit Portal | COVID-19 Resource Toolkit (covid19.govt.nz).  These can also be translated into 27 languages, which can be found here.

Our region is well prepared, and we want to reassure you that many agencies and organisations are working together in an unprecedented level of collaboration.

Below is helpful information on employer and employee support.

Mā tātau katoa e ārai atu te COVID-19.

Ngā mihi

Gloria Campbell

MSD Regional Commissioner Taranaki, King Country, Whanganui.

 

Support for employers and employees 

COVID-19 Support Payment (CSP)

Applications for CSP opened on 28 February 2022 for the period starting 16 February. This is a payment to help support viable and ongoing businesses or organisations which have experienced a 40% or more drop in revenue as a result of a range of circumstances.  Read more at the IRD website COVID-19 Support Payment (CSP) (ird.govt.nz)

Other employer support during COVID-19

If you employ people or are self-employed, you can apply for COVID-19 support.  This helps you pay wages for yourself and employees who can’t come to work and can’t work at home. There is no revenue test, and these payments are not a Wage Subsidy. Find out more at the Work and Income website COVID-19 support for employers – Work and Income

COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme

Help to pay wages and salary costs if your employee is self-isolating and can’t work at home.  Self-employed people can also apply.

COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment

Help to pay wages and salary costs if your employee can’t work while waiting for a COVID-19 test result. This helps your employee stay at home if they or anyone in their household is waiting for a test result. Self-employed people can also apply.

Small Business Cash Flow Loan Scheme (SBCS)

Under this scheme the Government provides loans to small businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, impacted by COVID-19 to support their cash flow needs. Employers can apply through myIR. Read more on the Business NZ website here.

COVID-19 Financial Support Tool

Helps people understand what they might be entitled to. Find Covid‑19 Support

COVID-19 Employer phone Line

Call 0800 40 80 40 to find out about COVID-19 payments for businesses.

Hardship support for employees

MSD provides financial assistance for people, whānau and employees on a low income, even if it is temporary. They do not have to be on a benefit.

The increase to income thresholds for hardship assistance has been extended to 30 June 22. The increased income limits mean single people 18 years and over, earning under $800 a week, or couples earning under $1600 a week may be eligible for assistance. MSD Service centres are open, and people do not need proof of vaccination or to show a Vaccine Pass to enter.

Vaccination assessment tool

If your business or workplace isn’t covered by a government mandate for COVID-19 vaccination, you can choose to do a risk assessment to see if you require work to be carried out by vaccinated workers, on health and safety grounds.  Read more Vaccination assessment tool — business.govt.nz or on Employment NZ here.

Close Contact Exemption Scheme

To help keep New Zealand going during the Omicron outbreak, critical businesses and organisations can keep critical staff working.  Register for the scheme at Testing and isolation requirements for businesses during Omicron — business.govt.nz.

Find out about how to order a Rapid Antigen Test Rapid antigen testing | Ministry of Health NZ

Rapid Antigen Testing (RATs) for other groups

Businesses outside the critical services group can also use RATs as part of managing the health and safety of their workers but will need to secure and pay for their own supplies of RATs. Rapid antigen testing | Ministry of Health NZ

RATs are available for the public if they develop symptoms or become a household contact of a case. Details on how to request a RAT are on the Ministry of Health website Rapid antigen testing | Ministry of Health NZ

 Guidance on entitlements and employment agreements

For general guidance on COVID-19 and the workplace see Employment NZ website under COVID-19 and the workplace » Employment New Zealand

MSD phone lines and support

  • 0800 559 009 for under-65s, General Enquiries
  • 0800 552 002 for NZ Super and Veteran’s Pension
  • 0800 88 99 00 for students
  • 0800 779 009 for Job Search
  • 0800 778 008 for Employers Services team
  • 0800 512 337 for COVID-19 Welfare phone line
  • 0800 40 80 40 for COVID-19 employer support
  • Interpreters are available as well as services for deaf, hearing-impaired or speech impaired. Contact us at Work and Income website or MyMSD if you require the support.

Good Business: Deal or No Deal?

Deal or No Deal?

So you think you have a deal, but is it really enforceable?

The basics

The basic principles of contract law can be shown by way of an example.  Andy has a lawnmower he plans to give or sell to Billy:

If Andy says he’s going to give the lawnmower to Billy, it’s a promise not a contract and Andy can change his mind.

If, however:

  • it’s clear that one of them has made an offer and that offer has been accepted;
  • each of them is providing something to the other (e.g. they’ve agreed a price or exchange);
  • the main terms have been agreed;
  • they both have mental capacity/authority; and
  • it is clear that they intended to enter into a deal (it can be verbal, a handshake or even implied from their conduct, generally it doesn’t need to be in writing as long as it is clear that they intended to enter into a deal);

then they have a binding contract and they can hold each other to the deal.

Some contracts, such as a contract relating to land, must be signed and in writing. 

But what if you are dealing with a company?

If you are dealing with a director of a company, do they have authority to bind the company?   If the company only has one director, you can assume that they have proper authority to bind the company. But what if the company has two or more directors?

General Rule

The general starting point is the “indoor management rule” which says that a person dealing with a company is entitled to assume that the company’s internal requirements have been complied with, unless they have knowledge to the contrary.

But…The Autumn Tree case

The case of Bishop Warden Property Holdings Ltd v Autumn Tree Limited is an example of the fact that you cannot always rely on the indoor management rule.  In this case, a property development company had two directors.  Only one of the directors signed a sale and purchase agreement for the sale of the company’s property. The question was whether there was an enforceable contract. The court held that if there were two directors of a property development company you could not assume that one director had the authority to sign on their own. One of two directors of a property development company does not customarily have authority to unilaterally enter into a significant property transaction.

Conclusion

Unless a company has a sole director, it is unwise to assume that one director of the company has sufficient authority to enter into a significant contract on their own.

Our advice when dealing with a company is to check who the directors of the company are and if there is more than one director, then to make sure that the contract is signed by two directors.  You could also ask your lawyer to request confirmation from the company’s lawyer that the signatory (of the company) had sufficient authority to bind the company.

For more information contact Joamari van der Walt joamariv@horsleychristie.co.nz

Joamari Van der Walt │ LLB │ BComm(Economics)-Law (Stellenbosch) │

LEGAL ADVISOR

 

Disclaimer: This publication should not be construed or acted on as legal advice.  It is brief and general in nature.  Specific advice should be sought.