COVID-19 information

The Government’s relief measures for companies and other entities, and what the Companies Office is doing to help those affected by COVID-19.

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Last updated 14 April 2022


Temporary relief from certain compliance requirements

Latest news 14 April 2022

On 3 November 2021 the Government reinstated temporary compliance relief measures contained in the COVID-19 Response (Requirements For Entities—Modifications and Exemptions) Act 2020 (the COVID-19 Act). These measures were due to expire at the end of this month but have been extended to 30 October 2022.

The temporary legislation allows registered entities affected by COVID-19 restrictions to make certain changes to their constitutions or rules, and to carry out certain tasks electronically. If you’re one of the eligible entity types, you can make use of these temporary provisions up until 30 October 2022.

Eligible registered entities include:

  • building societies
  • charitable trusts
  • companies
  • credit unions
  • friendly societies
  • incorporated societies
  • industrial and provident societies
  • limited partnerships (NZ and overseas).

The COVID-19 Act also enables the Registrar to grant exemptions from compliance obligations, where appropriate.

If you do decide to make use of one of the relief measures, there are a few things you’ll need to do. Read our help guides for full details.

Business Debt Hibernation (BDH)

Latest update 1 December 2021

BDH was introduced by the Government in 2020 to support businesses affected by COVID-19.

Entering into BDH provided a month’s protection while businesses talked with their creditors. During that period, most creditors could not take legal action to enforce their debts, for example, by applying to have the business liquidated. If your creditors agreed with your proposal, you could get a further 6 months’ protection.

Eligible businesses were only able to approach creditors with a BDH proposal, and send the required creditor decision notice to the Registrar, up to 30 November 2021. Those already in BDH are able to continue the process.

Learn more about Business Debt Hibernation

Operating under COVID restrictions

While there are COVID restrictions on gatherings, and a need for physical distancing, you may need to change the way you operate.

Visit business.govt.nz for guidance on what each level of the COVID-19 Protection Framework means for your business or service.

Unite against COVID-19 also has information on gatherings and physical distancing requirements under each setting of the COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic light system) .

Holding meetings

When COVID restrictions are in place that affect the size of gatherings and require people to maintain physical distance, you may need to change the way you hold meetings, including your annual general meeting (AGM). You may even need to cancel some meetings.

Temporary legislation enables entities affected by COVID-19 restrictions to make certain changes to their rules, and allows the use of electronic means such as online meeting platforms, where not normally permitted. Read more above.

In the long-term, you may wish to make changes to your constitution or rules, especially around using electronic means.

Updating incorporated society rules for holding meetings

If you’re an incorporated society and you need to make significant changes to your rules, you may wish to use our Constitution Builder  — a ‘do-it-yourself’ online tool.

Meetings with retirement village residents

When COVID restrictions limit the size of gatherings and require people to maintain physical distance, all operators and statutory supervisors of registered retirement villages are recommended to follow the Retirement Villages Practice Note when holding meetings with residents. This Practice Note was first released on 9 April 2020 and updated on 17 December 2021. Read the Retirement Villages Practice Note for meetings [PDF, 224 KB]

If your society needs more time to file its financial statements

COVID-19 restrictions may mean you can’t file your annual financial statements on time. If so, you can request an extension to your filing deadline.

Statutory declarations made remotely

The Companies Office will accept statutory declarations that meet the requirements of the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957 but are taken by alternative means. This provision continues until further notice.

COVID-19 information for businesses

Business.govt.nz is the government’s central resource for COVID-19 business information with updates about COVID-19 and guidance to help businesses, including information about:

  • COVID-19 Protection Framework
  • Omicron: Testing and returning to work
  • what to do if you have a COVID-19 case at your business
  • dealing with Omicron
  • requiring My Vaccine Passes for entry
  • financial support for businesses
  • vaccination assessment tool
  • My Vaccine Passes
  • face covering requirements for staff and customers
  • record keeping and contact tracing.

Please refer to the Ministry of Health for health-related information and covid19.govt.nz for all other information from government .