COVID-19 information

We’ll be providing guidance and support — and where necessary, making changes to our services — to help New Zealanders through COVID-19.

This page will be updated regularly with the latest news and information.

Last updated 20 October 2020

Companies Office services operating as normal

Published 30 June 2020, updated 8 October 2020

At the Companies Office we’re still working on getting back to ‘business as usual’. For us, that means working with you to make sure you meet your obligations with us, such as filing financial statements, annual returns or annual confirmations.

In the past couple of months, we’ve not taken any action when deadlines have been missed, but have encouraged you to file if you can. We've now resumed our normal compliance activities, so please check that you’re up to date with your filing and, if not, complete your annual return or annual confirmation online or submit your documents.

Law changes to help businesses through COVID-19

Published 3 April 2020, updated 20 October 2020

Two pieces of legislation in response to COVID-19 were passed into law on 15 May 2020.

  • The COVID-19 Response (Further Management Measures) Legislation Act 2020 introduced a range of measures to support businesses and other entities through the pandemic — including the safe harbour provisions for company directors and the Business Debt Hibernation regime for a range of entities.
  • The COVID-19 Response (Requirements For Entities—Modifications and Exemptions) Act 2020 gives entities relief from certain obligations in their rules and makes it possible for them to use electronic means (including electronic voting and the use of electronic signatures).

Latest update

COVID-19-related business relief measures: extensions and expiry dates
News item, published 20 October 2020

Learn more about the law changes

Business Debt Hibernation

Published 3 April 2020, updated 20 October 2020

Business Debt Hibernation allows businesses affected by COVID-19 disruptions to get a month of protection while they talk to their creditors — during this period most creditors can’t take legal action to enforce their debts, eg applying for your business to be liquidated. If your creditors agree, you can get a further 6 months of protection.

Learn more about Business Debt Hibernation

Safe harbour for company directors

Published 3 April 2020, updated 1 October 2020

Law changes passed on 15 May 2020 included provisions for a temporary ‘safe harbour’ from personal liability for directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems as a result of COVID-19.

This temporary ‘safe harbour’ provision expired on 30 September 2020.

Updates for specific registers

Building Societies Register

Law changes to help building societies comply with their rules

Published 17 June 2020

Legislation passed in response to COVID-19 gives charitable trust boards relief from certain obligations in their rules and makes it possible for them to use electronic means (including electronic voting and the use of electronic signatures). Read more about these law changes

Charitable Trusts Register

Law changes to help charitable trust boards comply with their rules

Published 17 June 2020

Legislation passed in response to COVID-19 gives charitable trust boards relief from certain obligations in their rules and makes it possible for them to use electronic means (including electronic voting and the use of electronic signatures). Read more about these law changes

We’re accepting ‘remote’ declarations during COVID-19

Published 20 May 2020

In response to the need for physical distancing during COVID-19, the Companies Office will, as a temporary measure, accept statutory declarations that meet the requirements of the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957 but are taken by alternative means. Read the full story on the Companies Register website

Insolvency relief for charitable trusts

Published 3 April 2020, updated 20 October 2020

Business Debt Hibernation allows charitable trusts affected by COVID-19 disruptions to get a month of protection while they talk to their creditors — during this period most creditors can’t take legal action to enforce their debts, eg applying for your trust board to be liquidated. If your creditors agree, you can get a further 6 months of protection.

Learn more about Business Debt Hibernation

Companies Register

Law changes to help companies comply with their rules

Published 17 June 2020

Legislation passed in response to COVID-19 gives companies relief from certain obligations in their rules and makes it possible for them to use electronic means (including electronic voting and the use of electronic signatures). Read more about these law changes

We’re accepting ‘remote’ declarations during COVID-19

Published 20 May 2020

In response to the need for physical distancing during COVID-19, the Companies Office will, as a temporary measure, accept statutory declarations that meet the requirements of the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957 but are taken by alternative means. Read the full story

Insolvency relief for companies

Published 3 April 2020, updated 1 October 2020

The Government passed legislation that makes changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable.

The support package included a ‘business debt hibernation’ period allowing companies to enter into agreements with creditors in relation to existing debt.
Learn more about Business Debt Hibernation

These law changes also included provisions for a temporary ‘safe harbour’ from personal liability for directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems as a result of COVID-19. This temporary ‘safe harbour’ provision expired on 30 September 2020.

Filing your annual return or financial statements

Published 22 March 2020, updated 13 August 2020

Auckland moved to Alert Level 3 at 12 noon on Wednesday 12 August and the rest of New Zealand moved to Alert Level 2. At the Companies Office we’re still working on getting back to ‘business as usual’. For us, that means working with you to make sure you meet your obligations with us, such as filing annual returns and financial statements.

In the past couple of months, we’ve not taken any action when deadlines have been missed, but have encouraged you to file if you can. We've now resumed our normal compliance activities, so please check that you’re up to date with your filing and, if not, complete your annual return online or submit your documents.

Credit Unions Register

Law changes to help credit unions comply with their rules

Published 17 June 2020

Legislation passed in response to COVID-19 gives credit unions relief from certain obligations in their rules and makes it possible for them to use electronic means (including electronic voting and the use of electronic signatures). Read more about these law changes

Financial Service Providers Register

We’re accepting ‘remote’ declarations during COVID-19

Published 20 May 2020

In response to the need for physical distancing during COVID-19, the Companies Office will, as a temporary measure, accept statutory declarations that meet the requirements of the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957 but are taken by alternative means. Read the full story on the Companies Register website

Implementation of the new financial advice regime has been delayed

Published 30 March 2020, updated 25 June 2020

The new financial advice regime set out in the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (FSLAA) will come into force on 15 March 2021. This follows the earlier announcement of its delay from 29 June 2020, to allow the sector to focus on helping clients through the impacts of COVID-19.

The transitional licensing application window has also been extended until then. The existing regime under the Financial Advisers Act 2008 will continue to apply until the commencement of the new financial advice regime. Read the full update on the Financial Service Providers Register website

Filing your annual confirmation

Published 22 March 2020, updated 13 August 2020

Auckland moved to Alert Level 3 at 12 noon on Wednesday 12 August and the rest of New Zealand moved to Alert Level 2. At the Companies Office we’re still working on getting back to ‘business as usual’. For us, that means working with you to make sure you meet your obligations with us, such as filing annual confirmations and financial statements.

In the past couple of months, we’ve not taken any action when deadlines have been missed, but have encouraged you to file if you can. We've now resumed our normal compliance activities, so please check that you’re up to date with your filing and, if not, complete your annual confirmation online or submit your documents.

Friendly Societies Register

Law changes to help friendly societies comply with their rules

Published 17 June 2020

Legislation passed in response to COVID-19 gives friendly societies relief from certain obligations in their rules and makes it possible for them to use electronic means (including electronic voting and the use of electronic signatures). Read more about these law changes

Insolvency relief for friendly societies

Published 3 April 2020, updated 20 October 2020

Business Debt Hibernation allows entities, including friendly societies, affected by COVID-19 disruptions to get a month of protection while they talk to their creditors — during this period most creditors can’t take legal action to enforce their debts. If your creditors agree, you can get a further 6 months of protection.

Learn more about Business Debt Hibernation

Incorporated Societies Register

Law changes to help incorporated societies comply with their rules

Published 17 June 2020

Legislation passed in response to COVID-19 gives incorporated societies relief from certain obligations in their rules and makes it possible for them to use electronic means (including electronic voting and the use of electronic signatures). Read more about these law changes

Insolvency relief for incorporated societies

Published 3 April 2020, updated 20 October 2020

Business Debt Hibernation allows incorporated societies affected by COVID-19 disruptions to get a month of protection while they talk to their creditors — during this period most creditors can’t take legal action to enforce their debts, eg applying for your society to be liquidated. If your creditors agree, you can get a further 6 months of protection.

Learn more about Business Debt Hibernation

Holding annual general meetings

Published 1 April 2020, updated 7 May 2020

The current situation may mean you need to change the way you hold your society's annual general meeting (AGM). In some cases you may need to cancel or postpone your meeting. Read the full story on the Incorporated Societies Register website

Filing your financial statements 

Published 1 April 2020, updated 13 August 2020

Auckland moved to Alert Level 3 at 12 noon on Wednesday 12 August and the rest of New Zealand moved to Alert Level 2. At the Companies Office we’re still working on getting back to ‘business as usual’. For us, that means working with you to make sure you meet your obligations with us, such as filing annual confirmations and financial statements.

In the past couple of months, we’ve not taken any action when deadlines have been missed, but have encouraged you to file if you can. We've now resumed our normal compliance activities, so please check that you’re up to date with your filing and, if not, file your annual financial statements online or submit your documents.

Industrial and Provident Societies Register

Law changes to help industrial and provident societies comply with their rules

Published 17 June 2020

Legislation passed in response to COVID-19 gives industrial and provident societies relief from certain obligations in their rules and makes it possible for them to use electronic means (including electronic voting and the use of electronic signatures). Read more about these law changes

Insolvency relief for industrial and provident societies

Published 3 April 2020, updated 20 October 2020

Business Debt Hibernation allows entities, including industrial and provident societies, affected by COVID-19 disruptions to get a month of protection while they talk to their creditors — during this period most creditors can’t take legal action to enforce their debts. If your creditors agree, you can get a further 6 months of protection.

Learn more about Business Debt Hibernation

Insolvency Practitioners Register

Published 8 April 2020, updated 20 October 2020

COVID-19 impact on Insolvency Practitioners Regulation legislation

The new regulatory regime introduced by the Insolvency Practitioners Regulation Act 2019 came into force on 1 September 2020.

The Insolvency Practitioners Regulation Act 2019 and the Insolvency Practitioners Regulation (Amendments) Act 2019 were originally scheduled to come into force on 17 June 2020. Circumstances related to COVID-19 caused it to be deferred.

Go to the Insolvency Practitioners Register

Limited Partnerships Register

We’re accepting ‘remote’ declarations during COVID-19

Published 20 May 2020

In response to the need for physical distancing during COVID-19, the Companies Office will, as a temporary measure, accept statutory declarations that meet the requirements of the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957 but are taken by alternative means. Read the full story on the Companies Register website

Insolvency relief for limited partnerships

Published 3 April 2020, updated 20 October 2020

Business Debt Hibernation allows businesses affected by COVID-19 disruptions to get a month of protection while they talk to their creditors — during this period most creditors can’t take legal action to enforce their debts, eg applying for your business to be liquidated. If your creditors agree, you can get a further 6 months of protection.

Learn more about Business Debt Hibernation

Filing your annual confirmation

Published 22 March 2020, updated 13 August 2020

Auckland moved to Alert Level 3 at 12 noon on Wednesday 12 August and the rest of New Zealand moved to Alert Level 2. At the Companies Office we’re still working on getting back to ‘business as usual’. For us, that means working with you to make sure you meet your obligations with us, such as filing annual confirmations and financial statements.

In the past couple of months, we’ve not taken any action when deadlines have been missed, but have encouraged you to file if you can. We've now resumed our normal compliance activities, so please check that you’re up to date with your filing and, if not, complete your annual confirmation online or submit your documents.

Personal Property Securities Register

Financing statements that are about to expire

Published 26 March 2020

If you have any financing statements that are due to expire shortly and need to be renewed, please make sure that you attend to this as soon as you can. Don’t leave it too late. You can only renew or maintain a financing statement before it expires. Read the full story on the PPSR website.

Court orders are still required for certain situations

Published 26 March 2020

To prevent the automatic acceptance of a change demand, or to restore an expired or discharged financing statement, you must obtain a court order. The courts are continuing to operate , as they are an essential service. Read the full story on the PPSR website.

Retirement Villages Register

Holding meetings with residents

Published 9 April 2020

During COVID-19 Alert Levels 2 - 4 all operators and statutory supervisors of registered retirement villages are recommended to follow the practice note released 9 April 2020 when holding meetings with residents. Read the practice note for meetings [PDF 162KB] [PDF, 199 KB]

Filing your annual return

Published 7 April 2020, updated 29 April 2020

Retirement Villages Operators that have an annual return due up to and including the month of September are able to seek regulatory relief by requesting an alteration of their annual return month where appropriate. Read our news article for full details.

More information

business.govt.nz is providing comprehensive guidance and information for New Zealand businesses impacted by COVID-19.

For everything you need to know about COVID-19 in one place, visit the COVID-19 website