New Zealand company legislation has, and is continuing to undergo some quite dramatic changes of late. The latest changes come in the form of the Companies Amendment Act (No 4) 2014 which introduces a number of new requirements for New Zealand companies.
The changes are intended to strengthen New Zealand’s reputation in the global community as a place to do business.
A summary of the key changes are below;
- Companies must now have a New Zealand director
- Under the Act a company must now have at least one director either living in New Zealand or living in an enforcement country (who is also a director of a company that is registered in that enforcement country). Enforcement counties are still to be prescribed by Order of Council, but Australia has been provided as an example of a country that will be recognised as an enforcement country. This requirement comes into effect on 2 July 2015 and existing companies will have 180 days from 2 July 2015 to comply with this change.
- Additional director information will be required
- The Act will also require all directors to disclose their date and place of birth to the Companies Registrar. This information will remain confidential to the NZ Companies Officeand will not be published on the public register.
- Ultimate holding company to be disclosed
New Zealand companies will need to disclose prescribed information about their ultimate holding company if they have one. The prescribed information includes the name, country of registration, registration number (if any) and address of the registered office of the ultimate holding company. An ultimate holding company is a company that controls a New Zealand company, whether by ownership of shares in that company or otherwise.
We urge our clients to review their directorships now and start planning ahead for the changes, especially if your company does not have a New Zealand based director at present. While there is some time to go before this change happens, it would be prudent to have a plan in place. If you are concerned about these changes, contact your accountant directly to discuss what options may be available to you.