Use of electronic means

Temporary legislation makes it possible for registered entities affected by COVID-19 restrictions to carry out certain tasks electronically.

Last updated 7 April 2022

Temporary legislation came into effect from 3 November 2021 that enables businesses and other organisations to use ‘electronic means’ for a period of time, even where their constitution or rules don’t permit this. An entity can only choose to do so if a majority of its governing officers believe in good faith that it’s not reasonably practicable to use a non-electronic means.

On this page:

What is meant by ‘electronic means’

The term ‘electronic means’ refers to the following:

  1. having or recording information in writing
  2. calling or holding meetings, including for the purpose of establishing a quorum
  3. voting (though there are some matters that electronic voting can’t be used for)
  4. giving or receiving information
  5. making or keeping new records
  6. providing access to records or information held by or on behalf of the entity
  7. signing any instrument (document)
  8. retaining any information.

Who can make use of this provision

The types of entities that can make use of this temporary legislation include:

  • building societies
  • charitable trust boards
  • companies
  • credit unions
  • friendly societies
  • incorporated societies
  • industrial and provident societies
  • limited partnerships.

This law change will be in force only until 30 October 2022

This provision came into force on 3 November 2021. It was due to expire at the end of this month but has been extended to 30 October 2022.

What you must do to use electronic means

If you decide to use electronic means, and you don’t have a provision in your rules or constitution to allow that, there are a few things you’ll need to do.

  • Keep a record of what you’ll be doing electronically and the reasons why (as decided by for example, a majority of the directors or a majority of the society’s committee).
  • Do what you can to notify your members of the decision you’ve made (as soon as possible).
  • Notify us as soon as possible.

How to notify us

  1. Download our form ‘Notice of use of electronic means’.
  2. Complete the notice. Take care to read the notes on Page 2 of the form.
  3. Attach a copy of the record that outlines the reasons for the belief of the majority of your governing officers, referred to in section 10A(1)(b) (and section 10A(1)(a) if relevant)).
  4. Send your completed notice to us by email to

What happens next

Once we’ve received your completed notification, we’ll make the information publicly available on the relevant register. For example, for companies we’ll publish the notice on the Companies Register and for incorporated societies we’ll publish the notice on the Incorporated Societies Register.

Need more information?

If you are unsure about any aspect of the Government’s COVID-19 relief measures, and how they apply to your business or entity, please refer to the legislation and, if necessary, seek legal advice.

These temporary provisions also apply to some Māori governance entities