2019 has been a busy year, with several law changes afoot and new Acts to take effect in the years to come. It’s likely that there are more changes to come in 2020. Some of the proposed legal changes worth keeping an eye on are:
In 2018, the Government raised three key objectives to address freshwater issues in New Zealand. These were:
- Stop further degradation and loss;
- Reversing the past damage to freshwater sources, waterways and ecosystems; and
- Addressing water allocation to users.
The National Freshwater Conference 2020 to be held on February 26, 2020, aims to discuss these issues and headlines a variety of speakers and stakeholders who will present their positions and discuss benefits, negatives and impacts of the freshwater proposals raised by the Government.
The Trusts Act 2019 has, after a very long review period, now been given Royal Assent and will become law on 30 January 2021. This Act will replace the current Trustee Act 1956, which is over 60 years old. We are now in the18-month transition period which gives trustees in New Zealand time to ensure their trusts comply with the new law.
The Act will make trust law more easily understood by both trustees and beneficiaries. It will also include both mandatory and default rules for trustees.
The Act gives beneficiaries the right to seek information about the trusts in which they may have an interest in to written form. This will raise the bar on what’s expected of trustees going forward, and good trust administration will become more important than ever.
Review of the Resource Management Act 1991
In July this year, the Government announced that it was reviewing the Resource Management Act. The panel of experts reviewing the Act are to present proposals for the reformation of the Act around May 2020.
As the Act has such a big influence on land processes in New Zealand and property law in general, we will be interested to hear the proposals that come from the review panel and what impacts these proposals could have on us personally and as a profession.
Overseas Investment Act 2005 changes (“OIA”)
Last month the Government released new proposed changes to the OIA with an aim to encourage more streamlined overseas investment in New Zealand and for us to better manage any risk this type of investment poses.
Some of the major changes proposed are:
- The introduction of a national interest test for those offshore investors who are looking to invest in New Zealand’s most high risk and sensitive assets.
- Penalties for noncompliance of the Act have increased from $300,000.00 to $10 million for corporates.
- The investor test will be simplified.
To find out more get in touch with our property team.