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Publications

How to Identify the Client from Hell

As a general rule, 10% of people are inherently honest, 10% are inherently dishonest, and the other 80% are as honest as the circumstances require.

  • 16 March 2016
  • Author: Geoff Hardy
  • Number of views: 2629
  • 0 Comments
How to Identify the Client from Hell

That rule applies to people in all walks of life, and all occupations. So just as it applies to builders, so it also applies to homeowners. And it is just a matter of luck whether you happen to come across a client who falls into that 10% dishonest bracket.

Does liquidating your company protect you from liability

When the Government appointed Messrs Hunn, Bond & Kernohan to enquire into the causes of the leaky building syndrome in 2002 (they were called “The Overview Group on Weathertightness”) they took it upon themselves to investigate and report on all the failings of the construction industry in New Zealand. In their otherwise excellent report (issued in two parts on 31 August & 31 October 2002) they offered the following comments:

  • 15 March 2016
  • Author: Geoff Hardy
  • Number of views: 3128
  • 0 Comments
Does liquidating your company protect you from liability

“it is understood that [the Companies Act] offers little … protection to a home-builder/buyer consumer in the event of the vendor company … being put into voluntary liquidation by the directors”

“there is currently nothing to stop the unscrupulous … builder from liquidating their company … to avoid claims and action from dissatisfied purchasers

A Reality Check For All Tax Planners

On 24 August 2011 the Supreme Court issued its eagerly-awaited judgment in the Penny & Hooper case, which clarified the rules on tax avoidance.

  • 16 September 2011
  • Author: Geoff Hardy
  • Number of views: 1828
  • 0 Comments

Penny & Hooper were the orthopaedic surgeons who restructured their medical practices for the purpose of (among other things) avoiding the last Labour Government’s increase in the top tax rate from 33% to 39%. The Supreme Court’s judgment was a victory for the IRD and a setback for those who want to minimise their tax burden through means that would normally be regarded as perfectly legitimate.

Partnerships - The Advantages and Disadvantages

It is hard to say how many partnerships there are these days.

  • 6 March 2010
  • Author: Geoff Hardy
  • Number of views: 3195
  • 0 Comments
Partnerships - The Advantages and Disadvantages

Most people prefer to have limited liability companies, but there are some exceptions. Partnerships are still reasonably common in the professions (law, medicine, architecture, accountancy, engineering, dentistry, etc.) - although many of them are abandoning partnerships in favour of companies as well. 

How do Start-up Businesses Raise Money?

When someone invents a new “must-have” piece of technology, writes some ground-breaking software, or devises a brilliant solution to a world-wide need, it is incredibly exciting.

  • 7 February 2010
  • Author: Geoff Hardy
  • Number of views: 1721
  • 0 Comments

Visions of celebrity status or an early retirement on the super yacht surrounded by Playboy bunnies or toy boys come flooding in. All they have to do is tell the world about their product or service, and the world will beat a path to their door. Or so they think.

When do you need a Shareholders Agreement?

The rules that apply to companies are found in the Companies Act 1993, supplemented by the case law which fills the gaps where the Companies Act doesn’t cover a particular situation.

  • 2 December 2009
  • Author: Geoff Hardy
  • Number of views: 1884
  • 0 Comments
The Companies Act also allows companies to modify some of the rules to suit their special needs, by adopting an additional set of rules known as the constitution.

You Can't Always Trade Under Your Preferred Name

There have been a number of high profile cases recently where New Zealand businesses have got into a scrap with another business over the name they choose to trade under.

  • 22 July 2009
  • Author: Geoff Hardy
  • Number of views: 1950
  • 0 Comments
You Can't Always Trade Under Your Preferred Name

A few years ago, the UK-based department store Harrods pressured a small New Zealand trader to stop carrying on business under the same name. 

Then Pokeno-based lingerie retailer JenniferAnn.com had a similar run-in with a competitor over their use of confusingly similar names, and in 2005 Auckland fashion icon Trelise Cooper settled out of court with Arrowtown-based accessories seller Tamsin Cooper

Does A Limited Liability Company Really Protect You?

The first thing you learn at Law School about company law is that a company is like a separate person.

  • 6 March 2007
  • Author: Geoff Hardy
  • Number of views: 1566
  • 0 Comments
Does A Limited Liability Company Really Protect You?

It is independent of its shareholders and its directors. It has its own rights and obligations, its own assets and liabilities. 

Can You Hide Behind A Company Or A Trust?

Recent high profile company collapses such as that of the Hartner Group

  • 5 May 2001
  • Author: Geoff Hardy
  • Number of views: 2520
  • 0 Comments
Have been raising questions about whether company owners should be able to protect their assets and maintain their glitzy lifestyles while their creditors suffer and in many cases go out of business. Of course the rumours are not always true and many proprietors of failed businesses suffer just as much financially and emotionally as their creditors. But this is not always the case. Is this a legal loophole? Or do creditors have legal rights to go behind the proprietor’s company or trust and get at his personal assets?

Sole Proprietorship, Partnership or Company: Which is best for you?

There are many different ways you can classify your business from a legal point of view.

  • 3 April 2001
  • Author: Geoff Hardy
  • Number of views: 1730
  • 0 Comments
The three most common ways are sole proprietorship, a partnership or a limited liability company. The choice can often be critical. The best time to get some advice on it is when you are about to start up a new business venture, or you are thinking of expanding or changing the way you currently do business. One particular structure will be appropriate for certain types of businesses but not for others. Here are just a few of the factors to take into account.
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