Supporting Volunteer Service Abroad

A tax specialist we work with, Geoff Falloon from BizRescue is taking six months out of his busy business to work as a volunteer with VSA

He is taking up a role as Finance Systems Trainer/Mentor with Kokonut Pacific SI, a social enterprise promoting rural livelihoods in the Solomon Islands.He will be developing a financial processes manual and training staff to manage and maintain the financial systems.

The Solomon Islands ranks among the 30 poorest countries in the world. Some of you will have read about the subject of sustainable development goals. This role addresses (in a small way) three of the sustainable development goals being the alleviation of poverty and hunger and promoting work and economic growth.

VSA works in partnership with MFAT which covers a significant portion of the work but VSA is required to cover 10% of the in-country costs for each volunteer. VSA therefore asks volunteers to raise $1,000 each – a small portion of the assignment cost – to help pay it forward for future volunteers.

If this is something you would like to contribute towards simply follow this link https://give.everydayhero.com/nz/geoff-and-carol-in-honiara and click the “Give Now” button at the bottom. All contributions are welcomed.

Celebrating 25 Years of Creativity at Downings

The year is 1994, Sony releases the PlayStation One; Lieutenant Dan gets new legs; Friends makes its debut and Tony Downing starts a design studio out of a small flat in Tahunanui. Twenty five years later, that business is a bit bigger!

Downing Creative is the leading Marketing and Branding creative business in this region and we are proud to have been part of their journey.

Congratulations to Tony, Vanessa and everyone at Downing Creative and thanks for the work you do for us and for trusting us as your financial advisers

Check out their new website to see how they can help you and your business. Click here for some great ideas

Callaghan Innovation’s R&D Student ‘Experience’ Grants

Callaghan Innovation’s R&D Student ‘Experience’ Grants are now open to help you to access fresh skills and talent to drive innovation in your business.

R&D Student ‘Experience’ grants support students and recent graduates, by funding businesses to engage a student in a R&D activity, giving them the work and technical experience, and in exchange a business will receive new talent, capabilities & fresh thinking to assist you with your R&D endeavours. 

Key Things to Know:
Businesses receive $8,460 (excl. GST) to cover 400 hours of a student’s time to work in your business (equivalent of 10 weeks work);

It’s a great way for a business to bring in a student to add some focus, expertise or blue sky thinking to a R&D project;

Applications for the 2019 student ‘experience’ grant are open between 1 May 2019 – 31 August 2019;

The student must be an Undergrad, Masters or Phd student (note,a student is still eligible if they have recently graduated and their final semester is within 6 months of your application); 

The student’s main area of study must be Science, Technology, Engineering, Design, or Business; 
You can apply now, and then recruit the student later;

and The student can come on-board any time after an application is approved and their work (within the business) must be completed by 31 March 2020.

This year the process is more flexible and faster, and applications are assessed as they are submitted for a faster outcome (approx. 2/3 weeks approval time).  Applications are open for the next 4 months so you can secure the talent you need earlier in the year and before students break for summer.  We recommend that you apply now so you can access and recruit the best talent from around NZ.   
Next steps:
For more information on the R&D Experience Grant and to find out if your business is eligible, please contact Mark Maguire on mark.maguire@nelsontasman.nz.  We will assist and guide you through the process, as well as approving your application, so please contact us now.

As the region’s economic development agency, one of our core roles is to connect our clever businesses and people with opportunities to grow and innovate.
 
The Regional Business Partner (RBP) Network is designed to make it easier for NZ businesses to access early-stage support to innovate and grow. This national network is made up of 14 ‘Regional Business Partners’ and is supported by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and Callaghan Innovation – the government’s business innovation agency. 

The Nelson Regional Development Agency is the ‘Regional Business Partner’ for the top of the south.  We provide information, advice, funding and connections to local businesses seeking support for their growth journey.  

Personal Grievances – When a Win is actually a Loss

A recent personal grievance case between Philipa Johnson and the National Business Review (NBR) resulted in a win for the employee, which actually ended in a financial loss for her when all was said and done. The Employment Relations Authority determined the employee was unjustifiably dismissed. However, the sting in the tail for the employee was that her legal costs were 10 times higher than the compensation she received.

As an employer, it can at times feel like the cards are stacked against you when dealing with a personal grievance. Frequently the better business decision can be to reach a settlement to resolve a dispute even when you have done nothing wrong. From a point of principle this may not feel particularly comfortable.

However, despite best intentions an agreement might not be reached, or you may decide the principle is more important. As a client goes through the decision process to determine which strategy to adopt, we take you through the risks of each pathway and the potential costs of both winning and losing a grievance in the Employment Relations Authority.

At the same time we analyse the risk for the employee and likely value of any compensation award, and this helps inform the decision on how  much to consider offering to reach a settlement if this is the preferred option. There are times the employee is either too greedy or poorly advised and their expectations of a settlement amount are unrealistic.

Affecting the level of the award Johnson received was the Authority’s determination that she breached her employment agreement when she took and distributed confidential information from the employer when she left their employment.

Johnson was awarded $1,666.67 in lost wages and $8,000 in compensation for the unjustified  dismissal. She had claimed $50,000. However, she was ordered to pay a $9,000 penalty for breaching her Employment Agreement, of which $6,750 was to be paid to the NBR and the balance to the Authority. Johnson paid a staggering $96,000 in legal fees.

The winning party ordinarily is awarded $4,500 in costs for a one day hearing in the Authority.  With this in mind, even without the penalty awarded against her, Johnson was always going to be on the losing side financially, as she claimed $50,000. This case demonstrates how principle can override common sense, and some people cannot be negotiated with.

Emma Heke in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine October 2018

Our client, Emma Heke, is featured in the NZ Lifestyle Block magazine this month. With great photography by Daniel Allen this article tells Emma’s story about making teas from her home in Nelson.

Buy your copy to find out more about this very successful small business making its mark in NZ and click here to enter the NZ Lifestyle Block competition to win 10 packs of delicious Heke Homemade Herbals teas, these teas are favourites in our office.

Volume wins big

The old saying that nice things come in small packages couldn’t be more apt in the case of another client who has been successful, this time at the 2018 Retail Hotlist Awards.

The very small shop in Church Street that is home to Volume – The Space for Books belies the stature of this perfect little bookshop. After opening just over 18 months ago Volume has quickly gained a reputation as one of the very best independent bookshops in New Zealand and this was recognised recently when they won the People’s Choice Award for BEST PROVINCIAL RETAILER at the 2018 Retail Hotlist Awards – not just for bookshops but for all retailers

This is proof that customers want great service and that is just what Thomas and Stella deliver everyday to every customer

 

Hopgood’s & Co win big

We are delighted our client, Hopgood’s & Co, has had huge success at the Silver Fern Awards. They were named Best Restaurant in New Zealand, Aaron Ballantyne was named as the Best Head Chef and they won the award for Best Dish in the competition.

Think about all those top restaurants in Auckland and from other parts of New Zealand and you will realise just how special this achievement is.

Hopgood’s & Co chefs Aaron Ballantyne, left, and Kevin Hopgood

Congratulations to Kevin Hopgood, Arron Ballantyne and the rest of the great team at Hopgoods.

Here are some links to articles about both Kevin and Aaron that Neil Hodgson wrote for his Taste of Nelson column, their extensive backgrounds, hard work and total commitment to quality have rightly been recognised with these awards..

 

 

 

 

 

Get the IRD payment dates right

We would like to remind everyone to make sure that when you are making tax payments to IRD they check that you have selected the correct tax type (e.g. INC for Income Tax, GST for Goods & Service Tax, DED for employer Deductions that include Kiwisaver contributions as well as PAYE etc).

Also, it’s very important that you select the correct period and year that the payment is going to. Most banks have a ‘Pay Tax’ or ‘Pay IRD’ tab in their on-line banking facilities so we suggest you follow the steps using this rather than setting IRD up as a regular payee.

Potential consequences of getting it wrong:

For example, if you are a company and you accidentally pay 2018 provisional tax to the 2017 year, and your 2017 annual accounts have not yet been completed, IRD will not allow this payment to be transferred to the 2018 year unless we fill out additional paper work, it will be applied to the 2017 year and that means it will show as overdue in your 2018 income tax account.  So please chose the year carefully.

Nelson Pine Industries Business Awards

At this year’s Nelson Pine Industries Business Awards hosted by the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce two of our clients won awards; Emma

Heke won the Innovation Award for her range of specialty herbal teas and Shane & Annette McCrae from McCraes Blinds and Drapes were awarded a special Business Excellence Award in the large business category.

A huge congratulations to both businesses and the very hard working owners.

It is worth noting that Emma completed the year-long Barbican Training business course before she started her business, this meant she had a full business plan, finance plane, marketing pan and the skills to manage her new business. It just goes to show if you start off on the right track with a new business success can be just around the corner.

 

Employer Owes $2.4 Million To Employees

In a recent investigation into wage payment irregularities at SOE Landcorp, the Labour Inspector found significant issues. The Inspector determined that over the last seven years Landcorp had been incorrectly calculating the entitlements of approximately 1,400 employees.

There appear to be two main areas where Landcorp incorrectly calculated the entitlements:

a) Landcorp did not include the employee’s accommodation allowance into the calculation of gross earnings. This had a flow on impact to the calculation for sick, annual, bereavement and public holiday leave.

b) Landcorp breached the minimum wage for employees who were on salary, but worked long hours during peak season.

The amount owed to 1,400 former and current employees is approximately $2.4 million.

Employers can take several lessons from this decision.

Firstly, even if the employer uses a payroll system to calculate entitlements, it is up to the employer to ensure that the payroll system is calculating this correctly. In Landcorp’s case the payroll system incorrectly excluded the accommodation allowance from the gross salary calculation. MBIE have stated that at the end of June 2017 it has 140 cases which it categorised as payroll audits. Of those 118 had been investigated which led to 53 enforceable undertakings, 29 improvement notices and 2 cases lodged with the ERA.

Secondly, where employers have salaried employees on lower salary levels (less than $55,000 at present) and those employees are working long hours over a peak period of work, the employer must calculate the weekly/fortnightly pay ensure that employee is paid above the minimum wage for every hour they work in that week/fortnight.