Reform of the Incorporated Societies Act 1908

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The Government has announced that it plans to update legislation relating to Incorporated Societies, having now signed off changes to a draft Incorporated Societies Bill.

The Bill which is expected to be introduced to Parliament later this year will apply to the more than 23,000 incorporated societies that operate in New Zealand.

For more information see and

If you have any questions relating to the proposed Bill and how it may impact your Society, please contact Stephens Lawyers.

Korean Film Festival returns


The Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Auckland and Korean Cinerama Trust will open the are Korean Film Festival in Auckland this week, with additional screenings in Hamilton. The festival will open with a special screening of Netflix title Okja on Thursday 19 October.

Starring an international cast including Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Steven Yeun, Lily Collins, Giancarlo Esposito and An Seo Hyun, Okja was an Official Selection of the 70th Cannes Film Festival.

Okja tells the story of a young Korean girl Mija (An Seo Hyun) who for 10 years has been caretaker and constant companion to Okja — a massive animal and an even bigger friend at her home in the mountains of South Korea.

Deftly blending genres, humour, poignancy and drama, Director Bong (Snowpiercer, The Host) begins with the gentlest of premises, the bond between man and animal and ultimately creates a distinct and layered vision of the world that addresses the animal inside us all.

Chair of the Korean Cinerama Trust, Michael Stephens, said, “It is particularly pleasing also to know Okja has a New Zealand connection, with the Sound Design Post production work for Okja undertaken by Wellington based Sound Designer Dave Whitehead, who has worked previously with Director Bong and on other Korean films.”

Following the Auckland premiere screening of Okja, 6 more free Korean titles will be offered in Aucklanders until Sunday (22 October) including one of Bong Joon Ho’s earlier films, The Host. The kids’ programme on Sunday includes Nori Roller Coaster Boy, the first TV show made under the Korea-NZ co-pro treaty. John MacKay’s POW partnered with Korea’s XrisP and did much of the post, including the English language dub.

Korean Consul General, Ms Chang-soon Cha, said: “This year’s festival features a collection of contemporary Korean movies including a number of heart-warming family movies and animations. I believe in the power of the movie, especially in this multicultural society. It connects people and helps people understand different cultures, and it ultimately binds us in harmony.”

Tickets for Auckland screenings are free, allocated on a first-in best-dressed basis. Two free screenings will be offered in Hamilton at Lido Cinema next week. The Festival presented a special screening of Okja in Wellington on 1 October at the Roxy Cinema.

The full list of festival titles is:

19 Oct (Thurs. 6:30pm) Okja, M
20 Oct (Fri. 6 pm) My Brilliant Life, M
20 Oct (Fri. 8:45 pm) The Host, R13
21 Oct (Sat. 4 pm) How to Steal a Dog, PG
21 Oct (Sat. 6:30 pm) All About My Wife, M
22 Oct (Sun. 2 pm) Nori Roller Coaster Boy & The Little Penguin Pororo’s Racing Adventure, G

25 Oct (Wed. 6:15pm) The Host, R13
26 Oct (Thurs. 6:15pm) The Thieves, R16

Health and safety: Providing protective gear


The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment has provided useful guidelines for employers who provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to their employees to enable employers to comply with the new Health & Safety legislation which takes effect in April 2016.

Before providing PPE, you should first ask whether there is a better way of dealing with the risk. Can the risk be eliminated? If not, how can you best control the risk?

If PPE is needed, your business is responsible for supplying appropriate PPE. You can do this in two ways – by buying the PPE yourself, or through allowances added to your workers’ pay. The cost of PPE must be covered by the business. Workers must take responsibility for wearing and using it properly.

For more information, see: 

If you are concerned about ensuring your business stays compliant with the new legislation, please contact:
Michael Stephens or Alan Henwood at Stephens Lawyers on 04 915 9580

Health and Safety Reform Bill passes

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The Health and Safety Reform Bill passed its third reading at parliament yesterday. The Bill creates a new Health and Safety at Work Act.

The Bill is the first significant reform of New Zealand’s health and safety laws in 20 years and addresses the recommendations of the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety.

The new law will be supported by regulations that are being developed in time for April 2016.

Until the Act comes into effect in April 2016, the current Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 remains in force.

Stephens Lawyers will be carefully reviewing the new legislation and providing more comprehensive information on the practical impact of the legislation and steps clients should take in advance of it coming into force on 4 April 2016.

For more information about the new law visit WorkSafe New Zealand’s website


2015 K-Culture Festival: Experience Korea; Saturday 1 Aug, Shed 6, Wellington waterfront

Stephens Lawyers looks forward to attending the 2015 K-Culture Festival: Experience Korea on Saturday, 1 August in Wellington. The Festival is co-hosted by the Korean Embassy in New Zealand, the Korean Association & Wellington City Council at Shed 6 on the waterfront from 11.00am.
Entry is free and visitors have a chance to: enjoy Korean traditional and contemporary performance including K-Pop Competition; taste Korean Food; & experience Korean culture by learning Korean traditional games, making traditional crafts and trying Hanbok (traditional dress).
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Key Changes to NZ Employment Law – Are You Ready?

The Employment Relations Amendment Act 2014 came into effect on 6 March 2015. Here are some of the key day-to-day changes:

1. Flexible working arrangements:

  • Employees have a statutory right to request flexible working arrangements that were previously confined to care givers.
  • Employees can ask for flexible working arrangements from their first day on the job and as many times as they want.
  • Employees can make as many requests as they want.
  • Employers must respond to a request within 1 month, in writing and explain any refusal.

2. Rest and meal breaks:

  • General rights replace strict rules for employee rest and meal breaks.
  • Employers can make reasonable restrictions on rest and meal breaks.
  • Employers must provide reasonable compensation where they cannot reasonably give breaks – the employer cannot fail to give either.
  • Rest breaks must be paid.
  • Any other law requiring breaks takes priority over the Act.

3. Negotiating in good faith:

  • Employers and employees are encouraged to negotiate in good faith regarding flexible working arrangements and meal and rest breaks.
  • Employers must give an employee relevant information where they are proposing to make a decision that will or is likely to have an adverse effect on the continuation of that employee’s employment i.e. during a restructure or sale of a business.

If you have any questions or would like to take steps to comply please call 04 472 9632 or email

Group of Multiethnic Mixed Occupations People

“Tis the Season” to be Vigilant – New drink driving limits from 1 Dec 2014

On Monday 1 December 2014 the drink driving limits in New Zealand for adults over 20 years of age will drop from 80 mg to 50 mg per 100 ml of blood. The limit for drivers under 20 years of age remains zero.

The new limits are very clear and bring New Zealand in line with other countries, including Australia.

In practical terms, over a 2 hour period:

  • The average male could drink between 3 and 6 standard 330 ml bottles of beer.
  • The average female could drink between 1.5 and 2.5 standard 120 ml glasses of wine.

We note this can differ considerably between persons of differing size, gender, build and metabolism.

Penalties and Consequences:

  • A positive test between 50 mg to 80 mg will receive a civil infringement fine of $200 and 50 demerit points.
  • Those found above 80 mg will face court charges and likely criminal sentences.
  • If you exceed 130 mg your licence will be automatically suspended for 28 days.
  • 100 or more demerits points results in your license being suspended for 3 months.

Please don’t get caught out this Christmas or any time in the future!

Red wine on table Christmas tree

Why Business Owners and Directors should be concerned with changes to NZ Health and Safety Law

Recently a forestry company boss was charged with manslaughter for the death of a worker on a forestry block:

Next year, the Health and Safety Reform Bill is due to come into force on 1 April 2015.  The significant changes to NZ health and safety law include:

(a)   additional compliance requirements/obligations for employers and directors; and

(b)  increased penalties for failing to comply (max $600,000 fine, 5 year prison sentence).

How does this affect you? Duty holders, which include Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU), company directors/officers, workers or contractors and or other persons at work, will have an obligation and a general duty of due diligence to minimise health and safety risks in the work place.

Employers under the new regime will have an increased responsibility to keep employees safe, and both parties are encouraged to work together to foster a safe work place and report incidents and potential issues

Notably, there is a clear intention to name and shame offending parties as breaches will result in penalties and publication of the offence.   Such prosecution and reputational risks make it critical that businesses adopt a robust best practice commitment to health and safety.

WorkSafe NZ is the government’s health and safety regulator.  Its focus is to embed and promote good health and safety practices by engaging with and educating employers and employees.  They can also halt any unsafe work:

Why the changes? After the Pike River tragedy, a Royal Commission investigation concluded that NZ’s health and safety record compared to other advanced countries was poor and that NZ organisations needed to adopt an “organisation wide safety culture” to avoid another catastrophic incident.

If you have any questions or would like to take steps to comply please call 04 472 9632 or email

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