What laws have changed recently?

 Changes for all sectors

  • The Epidemic Preparedness (COVID-19) Notice 2020 was again extended and is now due to expire on 22 March 2021 (but can be revoked earlier or extended). Many temporary COVID-19 changes will end when this notice expires.
  • From 1 February 2021, the temporary COVID-19 suspension of the requirement to carry out trial building evacuations or evacuation training programmes was changed to only apply when physical distancing requirements are in place for the area. More information is on the FENZ website.
  • The Trusts Act 2019 came into force on 30 January 2021 and replaced the Trustee Act 1956. The Act sets out the mandatory duties of trustees, and additional duties that also apply unless changed by the trust terms.
  • More changes to the Climate Change Response Act came into force on 1 January 2021. The changes include new penalties for failing to surrender or repay units, or submit an emissions return by the due date.

Changes for the electricity industry

  • The Electricity Industry Participation Code Amendment (Metering and Related Registry Processes) 2020 came into force on 1 February 2021. The Amendment makes a range of changes as part of the Electricity Authority’s operational review of metering and related registry processes.

Changes for the health sector

  • A new requirement on health practitioners was added to the Arms Act on 24 December 2020. Health practitioners must consider notifying the Police if the health condition of a patient with a firearms licence means they shouldn’t have or use a firearm.

Changes for local authorities

  • The Local Government Members (Temporary Reduction—COVID-19) Determination 2020 expired on 6 January 2021.

Changes for landlords of residential premises

  • Significant changes to the Residential Tenancies Act came into force on 11 February 2021. Information on the changes is on the Tenancy Services website.

Changes for holders of firearms

  • More changes to the requirements in the Arms Act for firearms holders came into force on 24 December 2020, including new general conditions for firearms licences.

Changes for agricultural compound manufacturers

  • On 3 December 2020, dicofol became a substance prohibited from use as an agricultural compound (or ingredient in an agricultural compound) under the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances) Regulations.


What’s coming up?

  • On 1 April 2021:
    • The minimum wage will increase from $18.90 to $20.00 an hour
    • The student loan scheme repayment threshold will increase from $20,020 to $20,280
    • Changes to the Electricity Industry Participation Code will come into force from the EIPCA (Requirements to Improve Awareness of Dispute Resolution Scheme and the Electricity Plan Comparison Site) 2020 and the EIPCA (Reporting on Wholesale Market Information Disclosure) 2020.
  • Entering contracts or arrangements that contain cartel provisions with the intention of price fixing, restricting output, or market allocating will become a criminal offence when the Commerce (Criminalisation of Cartels) Amendment Act 2019 comes into force on 8 April 2021.
  • The new financial advice regime comes into force on 15 March 2021. Information on the new regime is on the FMA website.


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