Fair & Productive Work Places

The 1 April 2016 legislative changes also address the zero hour contracts and includes changes to hours of work commitments and what employers can expect from employees and aims to increase certainty for both parties.

When the employer and the employee agree to hours of work, those hours must be stated in the employment agreement including the number of hours, start and finish times or the days of the week the employee will work. The employer and employee do not have to agree on hours but when they do it must be recorded in the employment agreement.

Employers are now prohibited from the following practices:

  • Not committing to any hours of work, and expecting employees to be available when required
  • Expecting employees to be available above their agreed hours, without reasonable compensation. Employers are not obliged to offer, and employees are free to decline, work that is above the agreed hours.
  • Requiring employees to be available, without a genuine reason based on reasonable grounds
  • Canceling a shift without reasonable notice or reasonable compensation to the employee. Notice period and reasonable compensation must be agreed and stated in the employment agreement. If the employee has commenced their shift or if reasonable notice period or compensation is not recorded, the employee is entitled to what they would have otherwise earned for that shift.
  • Putting unreasonable restrictions on secondary employment of employees. Reasonable ground for restriction could be related to risk of loss to the employer of knowledge, property or reputation or to prevent a real and unmanageable conflict of interest.
  • Making unreasonable deductions from employees’ wages. Employees must now consent to deductions from wages. Deductions to cover losses caused by a third party through breakages or theft may be unreasonable.

Health & Safety

With the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 now in force, it is a good time to review workplace practices and the roles of its’ people. Following is a brief summary and links to where you can find out more about the details.

The aim of the new Act is to improve New Zealand’s woeful health and safety record and turn it around to a positive, pro-active and robust health and safety culture in our work force. Everyone has a right to go home safely. The focus is on effective governance and it brings new responsibilities for everyone in the workplace. Changes include:

  • Increased penalties for non-compliance
  • Wider enforcement tools for non-compliance
  • A new three tiered hierarchy of offences
  • Duties owed by employers and principals is replaced by duty owed by ‘persons conducting a business or undertaking’ (PCBU)
  • New due diligence obligation on directors and officers to take reasonable steps to:
    • ensure PCBU complies with its duty to ensure health and safety of others
    • acquire and maintain current knowledge of health and safety matters, and hazards and risks associated with the company’s operations
    • ensure the PCBU has sufficient resources to manage health and safety risks and that it uses those resources
    • ensure the company complies with its health and safety duties
  • New duty owed by PCBU to take ‘reasonably practicable steps’ to ensure the health and safety of workers and other persons, including the environment not posing risks, provide adequate facilities, information, protection and training. Conditions in the workplace must be monitored to prevent injury. Worker participation in health and safety matters is increased. Workers also have a duty to take reasonable care with health and safety of themselves and others.

Management or Statutory Liability insurance policies will generally include amendments to existing Act or new Acts to be automatically included. Whilst the Act prohibits insuring against fines, certain others costs and financial consequences of a prosecution can be insured against and due to the wider duties the costs associated with a prosecution under the Act can be expected to increase. Now is therefore a good time to review your indemnity limit in your Liability insurance policy.

WorkSafe New Zealand’s user friendly website is a great resource with information, presentations, tools and resources.

The Institute of Directors have issued a document called Good Governance Practice Guidelines which provides directors advice on how they can influence health and safety performance in their organisations.  It includes further detail and provides more in-depth analysis of the changes and requirements placed on Directors.

Health and Safety at Work Regulations 2016 supporting the new Act is available to assist with compliance.

Health and Safety at Work Act 2015

Health & Safety

From the 1st April stringent new rules come into force with regards Health & Safety in the Workplace. This is something that affects every business, even our office based business, so you need to make sure you understand the new legislation and  take steps to ensure your workplace is a safe environment for you and your staff.

Go to Work Safe information page here to find out just what is a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) who can be held personally responsible for a workplace accident – you NEED to know.

IRD Compliance Focus

Each year IRD target a few specific issues relating to tax payer compliance, carrying out investigation and audit activities to recover unpaid tax and penalties.

For every $1 spent by Inland Revenue on compliance focus activities they are recovering approximately $8 from non-compliant tax payers.

In the next year they will receive a funding boost from the government to increase their compliance focus work, which is likely to increase the scope and frequency of IRD investigations and audits.

IRD have indicated that key areas which they will be targeting over the coming year include:


The Hidden Economy

This includes any illegal activities or income earned outside of tax system (i.e. “cashies”). The IRD have signalled they have recently had success prosecuting several industries that deal largely in cash, such as takeaway restaurants, beauty salons and builders.

With increased funding Inland Revenue will have greater resources to identify offenders and conduct more investigations into these types of businesses.


Property Investment

Previously, residential property sales were only regarded as taxable if it was the purchasers “intention” at the time the property was purchased to resell it for a profit.

However, with the introduction of the Bright Line legislation in October this year, IRD now have an objective test to supplement the intention test, to help determine whether the sale of a residential property is taxable.

Therefore, Inland Revenue are ramping up audit activity in this area to try and catch any property speculators who in the past have hidden their intentions to make tax-free gains on the sale of property.


GST Refunds

Inland Revenue will be focusing on tax payers who receive large GST refunds and those who receive GST refunds on an ongoing basis.

For large GST refunds they are likely to request documentation (such as copies of invoices and receipts) to verify the GST claim.

The risk with taxpayers who consistently receive GST refunds is that they may no longer be eligible to be GST registered and should therefore have deregistered for GST (e.g. if the business has ceased or it has slowed down so much that it is a “hobby” rather than a taxable activity).

For any clients who think they might be at risk of audit by the IRD, we urge you to make sure that you are declaring all of your income and complying with all relevant tax laws.


It is never too late to come clean to IRD, as up until an audit notification is received from them, taxpayers can make a voluntary disclosure of any mistakes or omissions from tax returns, which can significantly reduce the amount of penalties and interest Inland Revenue will charge on any underpaid tax.

If you are not sure you have met all of your tax obligations or have any questions about Inland Revenue’s compliance focus please contact our office.


Company Director Changes

From 28 October 2015 all New Zealand companies must have at least one director who lives in New Zealand, or who lives in Australia and is a director of an Australian registered company. We have been working with our clients to help ensure these requirements are met.

However, if your situation changes, for example you are moving overseas and the company you are a director of will be left without a director living in NZ, then you need to appoint a NZ based director. The same applies if the director you appointed, that at the time was living in NZ decides to move, you would need to consider a new appointment of a NZ based director.

If you are thinking of moving overseas, short term or long term, please contact our office to check the requirements.

Health & Safety Law update

Update kindly provided  by Chapman ER.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 has been passed into law and will come into effect on 4 April 2016.

WorkSafe NZ want to see a 25% reduction in NZ’s workplace serious injuries, illnesses and fatalities by 2020. If Australia’s improvements are any indication on what we might expect, given our new legislation is based on Australia’s law, this goal may be achievable as a report released in July 2014 stated they had experienced their lowest number of work-related deaths in 11 years.

WorkSafe NZ aim to provide guidelines about the new legislation, but in the meantime they advise five key areas that organisations should focus on which includes:

  • Familiarising yourself with the key concepts of the legislation
  • Reviewing your health and safety practices
  •  Identifying health and safety risks in your business and take steps to prevent these from causing harm
  • Leading by example
  • Making health and safety part of your workplace culture


Foodbank Donations

Even in Nelson, the place we love to call home and where we own businesses, or work and play there are people who miss out on some of the very basic things many of us take for granted – like food on the table! The Nelson organisations who provide precious food to those who need it are running very short on supplies, in fact their cupboards are almost bare.

We want to help and we need you to help us do that. For the months of October and November we will be collecting donations for the Nelson Foodbank.

And to encourage your generosity we have two Magnums of Delaplace French Champagne to give away, all you need to do is drop an appropriate item of food in to our office to help those who need it and we will put you in the draw to win one of the magnums. Every food item you bring in gets you one entry so if you drop off 5 cans you get five entries.

We will give away one magnum each month.

Non-perishable food items like cans of baked beans, cans of fruit, packets of cereal and even cans or bags of pet food (for the household pets not the people) are needed urgently.

Just one can of food can make a difference to a family in Nelson so next time you are at the supermarket buy an extra item to help someone who will really appreciate your gift.

Nelson Arts Festival

Once again Savage & Savage Chartered Accountants are sponsoring a show at this outstanding festival.

This year we have sponsored a show called The Wine Project. “Recently returned from a sell-out season in Edinburgh, Java Dance Company captures audiences with dance theatre that clambers in to your senses. Sarah Copeland began fermenting this new work in a French vineyard and now invites you to taste it.”

“The Wine Project was not like anything I had seen before. It’s one of a kind.” The Southland Times

Nelson College student cooks like a champion

Nelson College student M’Chakkapong Klahan has once again been part of a winning team at the secondary schools culinary challenge for the third year in a row. He and team mate Louis Clarke won a Gold medal at this year’s challenge finals.

Mentored by Kevin Hopgood at Hopgood’s Restaurant where he works part-time M’Chakkapong is obviously an up and coming young culinary star.


Nicola’s Cantina

The following article was published in the Nelson Mail earlier this month and features a client of Savage & Savage.

It is a story we think is worth sharing again.

Nicola’s Cantina, or just ‘Nicola’s’ as everyone calls it, has very quickly become a favourite dining spot for food lovers in the region.

Mexican food is the latest craze in dining in other regions around New Zealand but Nicola Cantrick and Ross Coeland have had a love of Mexican food for many years. If you ventured out to Golden Beer Brewery at Mapua you may have seen him cooking up his Mexican inspired treats to enjoy with a beer on the wharf and Cantrick was a partner in the Suter Café before she moved on to establish her own business with Coeland.

When I sat down with them last week I asked ‘why Mexican?’ and not the more traditional café food Cantrick had been producing for many years. She told me ‘I wanted to reinvent myself after six years at the Suter Café, I lived in LA for a while and that is the centre of Mexican food in California, I have always loved the Mexican food style because it is delicious, packed with flavour and is affordable. Mexican food is now recognised as one of the three great culinary traditions in the world, it is so vast in variety with so many nuances, from the crisp taco with a mince filling to the rice filled burrito. People now recognise that the fresh flavours are healthy, it is also a cuisine we have had experience with so it was a pretty easy decision.”

While the first three restaurants Cantrick had were Italian inspired. (Java in the 1980’s in Courtney Place in Wellington, then Salt in Oriental Parade and then, with Katrina, at the Suter Café) She has worked all over the world cooking including setting up a Middle Eastern restaurant in Hong Kong and running a Thai brasserie in Sydney called Lime and Lemongrass, an establishment that was a regular haunt for Sydney’s rich and famous, including the likes of Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Elle McPherson.

She say “while I have no formal training I have worked with very talented people – Margo Henderson who started with me at Java but then went on to become a culinary super star in London with her husband Fergus has been a big inspiration”

Coeland on the other hand is a graphic artist by trade and has always had a passion for hot sauces. He worked for Dr Hot in Christchurch who made hot sauces that have become well know. If you like your sauce fiery then you will probably know the names Mongrel Mouth and Anal Annihilation (you can try them at Nicola’s). He also owned and operated a very well-known and popular salad bar in Christchurch called Rocket so is no stranger to putting smiles on people faces with great food.

Coeland has also spent a lot of time in Mexico where his daughter lives for much the time and is the ‘King of the Grill’ at Nicola’s Cantina. His taste for the super-hot and Cantrick’s taste for the mild, gentle flavours makes the perfect combination to develop a popular menu, it is the fusion of these talents that is the real secret to their success.

Cantrick  says ”we didn’t want it to be just another café, we wanted to create a place people could come and have fun and sometimes there is nothing funnier that seeing a big brave guy coughing and spluttering because he couldn’t handle the heat he added to his food”. “We want people to have fun and because we love feeding people we get huge satisfaction from seeing that”.

Traditional Mexican cantina food is the stuff they love to cook and have just returned from a few weeks in Mexico where they were inspired by so much and have so many ideas they don’t know where to start when it comes to introducing them to their menu here. The plan is to gradually add new and exciting dishes or simply update some of the dishes they currently have to inject the inspiration they got from their trip into the menu here in little old Nelson. Follow them on Facebook tom find out when new treats are added to the menu facebook.com/nicolascantina