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Law changes for overseas investment in Kiwi businesses

If you are a New Zealand business seeking overseas investment, there are new requirements you’ll need to follow. Find out about the changes and what you need to do.

When: From16 June 2020

What: Changes have been made to rules that impact New Zealand businesses looking for overseas investment. The changes include:

  • a new requirement to notify the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) about overseas investments, and
  • a new national interest test that will apply to some investment transactions.

OIO will need to be notified about all overseas investments that will result in:

  • more than 25% of a New Zealand business or its assets being owned by investors outside of New Zealand, or
  • an increase to an existing holding beyond 50, 70 or to 100%.

A new national interest assessment will apply in rare circumstances to evaluate whether an overseas investment in sensitive and high-risk assets are in New Zealand’s national interests.  

Changes also mean the application process for lower-risk investment transactions is simplified, and some transactions will no longer need consent.

Changes to the Overseas Investment Act (external link) — Overseas Investment Office

Who: New Zealand businesses seeking overseas investment.

Why: Overseas investment can support New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, so that businesses can continue to grow and evolve, and keep more New Zealanders in jobs. The right checks and balances are needed to protect businesses that are important to New Zealand’s national security, economy, and communities.

What you need to do: If you are seeking overseas investment, be aware of the changes to when the OIO needs to be notified, and that a new national interest assessment might apply to overseas investors wanting to invest in your business.

Businesses seeking investment should get advice from their advisors, for example a lawyer or accountant.

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Paid parental leave is changing

Paid parental leave is extending from 22 to 26 weeks from 1 July 2020. Here’s what you need to know.

When: 1 July 2020

What: Paid parental leave will increase from 22 to 26 weeks. You are already required to provide job-protected parental leave to eligible employees for a minimum of 26 weeks if the employee meets the 6-month employment test (who’ve worked for you for at least an average of 10 hours a week for six months or more). For employees who meet the 12-month employment test (who’ve worked for you for at least an average of 10 hours a week for 12 months or more), the period of parental leave you are required to provide is 52 weeks.

Parental leave

The ‘keeping in touch’ allowance is increasing to 64 hours. These hours allow an employee to work a limited amount of time during the paid parental leave period, without losing their entitlement for payments. This arrangement needs to be agreed to by you and your employee.

Why: To provide increased support for primary carers including working parents with newborns and families taking on the permanent care of children under the age of six.

What you’ll need to do: This change doesn’t require you to provide additional leave. Just be aware that eligible employees who take parental leave will be paid for 26 weeks and can arrange to work up to 64 hours of ‘keeping in touch’ allowance.

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It’s still accounting, but different

Challenges facing businesses lately have been nothing short of dramatic

Accountants may appear to be on the endangered species list in this era of rapidly-increasing automation, but Adam Davy, head of advisory for BDO New Zealand, says accountants just need to think differently and stay relevant if they want to assure demand for their services in the future.

“As Star Trek’s Mr Spock might say… ‘It’s accounting Jim, but not as we know it’,” Davy says.

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