Exemptions from compliance obligations

In May 2020, the Government passed temporary legislation to support entities to operate effectively through COVID-19

The COVID-19 Response (Requirements For Entities—Modifications and Exemptions) Act 2020  gives Registrars and Ministers the power to grant exemptions from certain statutory obligations (such as calling or holding meetings and auditing, assurance, or financial reporting or review requirements).

Under the exemption provisions, the responsible Registrar or Minister may grant exemptions from the following statutory obligations:

  1. calling or holding meetings (including procedures at meetings)
  2. a method or form of voting
  3. giving or receiving information
  4. making or keeping new records
  5. rights to inspect or access information or records
  6. a method or form of dispute resolution (excluding rights of access to courts)
  7. a method or form of disciplinary procedures
  8. auditing, assurance, or financial reporting or review requirements
  9. any other matter specified by regulations.

No exemption can dilute the number or need for a quorum.

The Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court may grant relief without an application in relation to the following:

  1. the terms of a trust set out by order relating to a Māori land trust
  2. the terms of an order incorporating a Māori incorporation
  3. the terms of a trust set out by order relating to a Māori reservation.

Who can rely on the exemptions

The exemptions apply to persons or classes of persons if the responsible Registrar or Minister grants them an exemption under section 26 of the COVID-19 Response (Requirements for Entities-Modifications and Exemptions) Act 2020.

To date, the Registrar of Companies has not granted any exemptions under section 26. However exemptions are presently being proposed by the Registrar of Companies in respect of certain Companies Act 1993 requirements. The proposed exemptions would exempt companies, overseas companies, and administrators that were affected by COVID-19 from compliance with certain obligations under the Companies Act.

Consultation on the proposed exemptions has closed. Details of the proposed exemptions are available on the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment website.

These provisions will be in force until 31 March 2021

Originally these provisions were set to expire at the end of November 2020, they have been extended by an Order in Council and now apply until 31 March 2021.

Who oversees these provisions

The relevant authorities are the responsible Registrar or Minister as defined in section 6(5) of the COVID-19 Response (Requirements for Entities-Modifications and Exemptions) Act 2020 .

Last updated 8 January 2021