News, Views, Musings, Stuff...

Employment, business or any relevant wine news that we think wine people may find of interest

Minimum wage went up on 1 April 2017... Employers, are you paying the right amount?
30 April 2017

The minimum wage applies to all paid employees aged 16 and older, although there are different rates if your employee is 16 or 17 and is new to the workforce or if they are completing training. 
A note about public holidays to finish the year....
21 December 2016

Christmas and New Year Public Holidays 2016/2017 Full details of how to pay your people public holiday pay is online here but briefly...
Sorry I'm late, Sir ...
05 December 2016

Another year has passed with  all sorts of challenges for employers. Employee absenteeism or lateness is always a problem and can put pressure on a  business in a number of areas - meeting deadlines and stress on work colleagues who have to take up the extra workload.  Some absenteeism or lateness is unavoidable due to sickness of the employee or family member or other emergencies out of their control.
Safety mistakes costly for employers
23 November 2016

Lawyers are expecting big increases in penalties when the results of cases based on the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 are released.
Warnings about Warnings ...
20 October 2016

Most employers know they can not dismiss an employee without a good reason (Substantive Fairness); however many employers make basic mistakes by not meeting the required procedural requirements before issuing a warning or dismissing an employee (Procedural Fairness).  
A win for the employer - Employee v Contractor
28 September 2016

A case brought before the Employment Relations Authority (Authority) requested a determination as to whether Mr and Mrs S (Mr/Mrs S) were employees or independent contractors. Their work was terminated, and as they claimed to be employees, they brought a claim for unjustifiable dismissal.
Winner of 2016 Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year announced
29 August 2016

Congratulations to Cameron Price from Villa Maria, Hawke’s Bay who is the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year 2016.  After a tough final Price was thrilled to receive this prestigious reward on Thursday night at the Bragato Wine Awards.  “All that hard work paid off” he said.
The Health of Health and Safety -
16 August 2016

Since the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 Act came into effect some four months ago, there has been much written and spoken (accurately and inaccurately) about some of the new employer obligations. In particular, around the “Health” part of Health and Safety, which has not necessarily been explained before, but the new Act now expressly provides for mental health issues in an increasingly stressed-out and competitive workplace.
Bayer Wairarapa Young Viticulturist of the Year 2016 announced
29 July 2016

Congratulations to Mark Langlands from Te Kairanga who became the Bayer Wairarapa Young Viticulturist of the Year 2016 on Thursday 28 July. 
Bayer Central Otago Young Viticulturist 2016
25 July 2016

Congratulations to Mike Winter from Amisfield who became the Bayer Central Otago Young Viticulturist of the Year 2016 on Friday 22 July.
Pay as you go Holiday Pay
22 July 2016

A business engaged a new worker on a “fixed term part-time” basis because of the uncertainty and frequency of available work, and decided to use the “pay as you go” holiday pay method of calculation - 8% of gross earnings.
Marlborough Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker 2016 Announced
11 July 2016

Congratulations to Jordan Hogg from Seresin for winning Marlborough Young Winemaker 2016.  The competition took place on 8 July at MRC in Blenheim where six contestants spent the day battling it out across various activities.  Hogg scored very strongly across the board showing a great degree of knowledge and professionalism.
Bayer Hawke's Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year 2016 announced
08 July 2016

Congratulations to Cameron Price from Villa Maria who became the Bayer Hawke’s Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year 2016 on Thursday 7 July.  Price was thrilled that the experience he had gained from having entered the competition twice previously and the hard work he put into preparing for this year finally paid off.  Most contestants enter several times before taking out the title and this is an important part of the competition as it builds confidence and skills along the way.
Hawke's Bay Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker 2016 Announced
06 July 2016

Congratulations to Alex Roper from Mission Estate for winning Hawkes Bay Young Winemaker 2016.  The competition took place on 1 July at EIT in Taradale followed by dinner and contestants speeches at Mission Estate. Yvonne Lorkin was the charming and entertaining MC who also ran the wine options section of the evening.
Time to Ditch Performance Reviews?
17 June 2016

Many businesses either have or are ready to let this process go - business structures have changed and there is now a need to be agile. A shortage of skilled talent has turned the focus to coaching, creating employee engagement and continuous development.
First ever Bayer Auckland/Northern Young Viticulturist of the Year announced
12 June 2016

How could an employer get it so wrong?
19 May 2016

A New Zealand company placed an advertisement on a (Chinese) website seeking to employ a “full time part time Warehouse Worker” in October 2014.  As there were no suitable applicants, the company re-advertised in December: “Warehouse Worker… (best if have working experience in a farm) 50 years and below, salary negotiable, 8 hours per day, 6 days per week, if good performance can apply for work permit..”. (Note - it is illegal to employ anyone without the right to work in NZ.)

Employment Law Update - Employment Relations Standards Bill
31 March 2016

The Employment Relations Standards Bill comes into force on 1 April 2016.

Among other things, it contains changes dealing with hours of work, cancelling shifts and the ability of employers to restrict their employees from working for other employers.
Zero hour contracts officially history
11 March 2016

A law change which outlaws zero hours contracts has passed into law with unanimous support.

The Employment Standards Legislation, which had its third reading this afternoon, also extends paid parental leave to a wider range of workers.

MPs applauded as it was passed into law. A large union-led campaign has fought for an end to zero hours contracts.


New calculations for PAYE on holiday pay
11 March 2016

This article covers the Commissioner’s operational position on calculating PAYE on holiday pay
Employment Laws and update March 2016
04 March 2016

Minimum wage rate to increase from 1 April 2016
The minimum wage will increase by 50 cents to $15.25 an hour, on April 1.

New Health and Safety at Work Act and Regulations are out now - you will have some work to do.
Employment Standards Legislation Bill
The Employment Standards Legislation Bill proposes to amend the New Zealand employment law to ensure it responds to the modern, dynamic business environment and encourages fair and productive workplaces. 
Employee or Contractor?
Handy new tool from the Labour Inspectorate/MBIE to help you decide 
Easter Trading 
Easter Sunday is not a public holiday, but is subject to shop trading legislation. The Easter public holidays are Good Friday and Easter Monday.
Employment Standards Legislation Bill
04 March 2016

The Employment Standards Legislation Bill proposes to amend the New Zealand employment law to ensure it responds to the modern, dynamic business environment and encourages fair and productive workplaces.

Minimum Wage to Increase to $15.25
01 March 2016

The minimum wage will increase by 50 cents to $15.25 an hour on 1 April 2016, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse announced today.
Oh what a tangled web or Commission omission
19 February 2016

From the Employment Relations Authority recent files…
An employee (Mr B – Sales Manager) raised concerns with his employer (company owned by two shareholder/directors) about unpaid sales commission. After he left the company he raised a Personal Grievance, outlining 18 issues to be determined by the Authority. Whilst Mr B was not successful in all of his claims and because of the complexity of the case, this article will outline some of the key issues raised. 

employment 101
21 January 2016

How do you fare at your place?
Christmas Holidays
18 December 2015

Public Holiday entitlements – 2015/2016 Christmas and New Year period
Hit the road Jack ......
16 November 2015

A company involved in high end watch repairs employed a part-time person (25 hours per week) in March 2015 - part of the job was to package repaired watches and prepare despatch documentation for return to account holders.  There was no employment agreement.  
Air NZ Wine Awards gold medals announced today
10 November 2015

Following 1,407 wines being entered in this year's Air New Zealand Wine Awards, judges have awarded 84 gold medals to wines from around the country.

Chair of Judges and Master of Wine Michael Brajkovich said the most pleasing aspect of this year's awards was the spread of gold medals across a number of varietal styles and regions.

Keep records or face fines - employers warned after recent ERA cases
05 November 2015

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment reminded employers today about their obligations to keep accurate employment records and produce them when requested by a Labour Inspector – or face enforcement action and penalties.
19 October 2015

I spy ..... over the years it has become more widespread for employers to use video surveillance in the workplace.
Casual v part time employee
24 September 2015

An employment message to employers

Be careful how you manage your "casual" employees - it may be that they are, in reality, permanent part-timers. Before contemplating the termination of any employee's employment for any reason, you should seek advice.  

Privacy Act sets boundaries for personal data collection
17 September 2015

How long has it been since your company's staff and customer privacy policy was reviewed?

April 2015 Grievance raised outside of 90 days
18 September 2015

Timing is everything

An interesting recent case from the Employment Relations Authority addresses whether and when a Personal Grievance can be lodged outside of the statutory 90 day time period.

Rules for work success
15 September 2015

No more office gossip if you want to get ahead .....

We have all heard that ‘it is more important to be respected than liked', but is this right? What about the person who says, "I respect ‘so and so' but I could never work for him or her because I just don't like them"?
International Success = Happy Customers
11 September 2015

Joining forces, learn from each other and have fun -  16 international wine experts in Franconia

Vintage team members from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and the United States meet the Franconian wine harvest 2015

New Zealand Young Winemaker 2015
28 August 2015

Inaugural New Zealand Young Winemaker 2015 crowned.
Bayer Young Viticulturist Of The Year 2015 Announced
28 August 2015

Congratulations to Caleb Dennis who became the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the
Year 2015 last night.
Health and Safety Bill passed into Law
29 August 2015

Health and Safety Bill a major step forward

Today’s passing of the Health and Safety Reform Bill marks a major step in addressing New Zealand’s unacceptable workplace death and injury toll, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse.
Employment Standards Legislation Bill
14 August 2015

NZ's Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse released the Employment Standards Legislation Bill today, which will amend various employment-related statutes. The aim of this omnibus Bill is "to promote fairer and more productive workplaces by providing enhanced protections and benefits for both employers and employees". The proposed changes are wide-ranging and affect a number of key pieces of employment legislation.
Health and Safety Reform Bill Changes
08 August 2015

Changes to Health and Safety laws are another step closer with the Select Committee recently reporting its recommendations back to Parliament.

Some of the key changes from those previously publicised include:
Setting Remuneration
05 August 2015

A business needs to determine a pay scale that suits their organisation and their goals.  Businesses can take three approaches; 
  • they can lead the market, paying more than average for that industry or role
  • they can pay the market average
  • or they can lag behind and pay less than the market average.  
Minister Woodhouse comments on Health and Safety Reform Bill
24 July 2015

Minister welcomes Health and Safety Reform Bill report

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse has welcomed today’s Select Committee report on the Health and Safety Reform Bill.

“The Committee’s report is an important milestone in the Government’s Working Safer reforms which are aimed at combatting New Zealand’s unacceptable workplace death and injury toll,” Mr Woodhouse says.
Wine industry skills: New Zealand Certificates in Cellar Operations available soon
20 July 2015

July 2015

Wineries across New Zealand are playing a leading role in helping manufacturing industry training organisation Competenz develop New Zealand’s first nationally recognised qualifications for cellar operators in the wine sector. The qualifications will help the industry maintain New Zealand’s reputation as one of the world’s top winemaking countries. 

“The New Zealand Certificates in Cellar Operations are a first for New Zealand, and it’s exciting to be part of this work,” says Nick Best, Acting Production Manager at Marlborough’s Isabel Estate.  (pictured)
Bayer Central Otago Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015 announced
20 July 2015

Congratulations to Mike Winter from Amisfield who has just become the Bayer Central Otago Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015 and now goes through to the National Final.   After a challenging day of activities on Friday at the Central Otago Polytechnic, the contestants’ final task was to deliver a speech at the Annual Winemakers Feraud dinner on Saturday night at Northburn.
Gisborne to host New Zealand's first Chardonnay and sparkling wine symposium
01 July 2015

A feast of Gisborne's finest cultural, historical and gastronomical attributes will be on show at New Zealand's first Chardonnay and sparkling wine symposium early next year.

Gisborne is to host Past, Present and Beyond... the Tale of New Zealand Chardonnay and Sparkling from February 4 to 5, following the inaugural International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration in Marlborough (February 1 -3).

New National Coordinator for NZ Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition
28 June 2015

Nicky Grandorge has been appointed as the new National Coordinator for NZ Young Viticulturist of the Year.  Nicky takes over from Emma Taylor, a previous winner of the title, who has achieved tremendous growth and recognition for the competition over the last few years.  
New focus for MBIE
10 June 2015

Change of focus for Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
A change of focus led to a change of organisational structure for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). David Smol, Chief Executive of MBIE announced the final structure last week.
Gisborne Regional Wine Show awards (23 May 2015)
23 May 2015


Another “stunning” local chardonnay has triumphed at the 2015 Gisborne Regional Wine Awards, edging out 115 other wines to take the supreme trophy at the black tie dinner last night.
The Corbans 1902 Chardonnay 2013 scooped the pool, winning the GisVin Ltd Supreme Wine of Show, as well as the trophy for overall top wine and the chardonnay class. Lion, who own the Corbans label, were also the highest awarded wine company.
New employment standards coming in
26 March 2015

Govt moves to strengthen employment standards

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse today announced a package of measures to strengthen enforcement of minimum employment standards.

“Employers are the backbone of our economy and most do a great job in meeting their employment obligations, but there are a number of serious breaches occurring,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“Those who breach minimum employment standards have an unfair advantage over law abiding employers and it is unfair on employees who work hard to support their families.
MInimum wage rate to increase 1 April 2015
01 March 2015

Minimum wage to increase to $14.75

From the website:
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse today announced the adult minimum wage will increase from $14.25 to $14.75 an hour from 1 April.

The starting-out and training hourly minimum wages will increase by 40 cents to $11.80 an hour, as this is set at 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.
Christmas and New Year Public Holidays 2014/2015
08 December 2014

Fortunately for employers, calculating public holiday pay entitlements is relatively straightforward this year.
Employment Relations Amendment Act
08 December 2014

Employers have just a few months to prepare for the Employment Relations Amendment Act 2014 which will come into force on 6 March 2015.
Health and Safety Reform Bill - delayed
08 December 2014

The new Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Woodhouse has signalled that the Health and Safety Reform Bill is now likely to be enacted around September or October next year, rather than April as was previously planned.
RSE survey results 2014
01 December 2014

Some interesting findings here in the survey conducted by Labour Department with those employers who take on seasonal workers via RSE, other sources and WINZ. 

Read the full results -
New alcohol levels for drivers, 1 December 2014
30 November 2014

From a media release November 2014:

Legislation passed earlier this year means that from December 1 the legal alcohol limit for drivers aged 20 years and over will be lowered from 400 to 250 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath (or from 80 to 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100millitres of blood), bringing New Zealand law into line with the limits already in place in the majority of OECD countries. The alcohol limit for drivers under the age of 20 will remain at zero.
Replacement Parts - Keep them safe
30 November 2014

A NZ company was recently fined $55,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $50,000 after a worker was seriously injured.

Read the full details:

Essentially, the message is that the piece of machinery was bought second-hand and was missing a steel lid which was manufactured and installed by a company employee. Workplace NZ said that the new lid should have been designed and installed to the manufacturer's specifications. The replacement and the latches used to secure it were substandard and contributed to the serious injuries suffered by the victim. Machinery owners need to ensure that appropriately qualified engineers are involved in the maintenance, repair and modification of plant.  "It's not good enough to just whip something up and hope it will do the job.," said Workplace NZ chief investigator Keith Stewart. The company also failed to implement a safe operating procedure and its hazard identification process and staff training were also found wanting."

New event for Australian wine market - Australia Trade Tasting & Conference Announced
29 September 2014

Melbourne, September 29, 2014 – The Beverage Trade Network (USA) today announced the launch of the ‘Australia Trade Tasting’ (Australia), a new trade tasting and conference focused exclusively on the Wine, Craft Beer, Cider and Spirits industry in Australia.
New Chairman for Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association
23 September 2014

Gordon Russell newly appointed Chairman of Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association

Less than a week into his role, new Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association (GGWA) Chairman, Gordon Russell, is already working on plans for GIMBLETT GRAVELS future success. 
Young Vit winner
23 September 2014

And the winner is..... Paul Robinson, Villa Maria, Hawkes Bay who will now contest the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition in Auckland later this year. Congrats Paul!
Young Vit Comp update 2014 - Finalists Found!
04 August 2014

PRESS RELEASE  August 5 2014

Our five regional finalists have been found:

It has taken 6 weeks, in four winegrowing regions, with over 45 budding viticulturists applying and now we are down to our five regional finalists that will compete in the Grand Final of the Young Viticulturist of the Year 2014.

Introducing the Five Finalists:
Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition 2014
02 August 2014

Press Release
Saturday August 2, 2014

Giesen’s Viticulture Technician, Marlborough’s Young Viticulturist 2014

Seven months after arriving in Marlborough, Brenton O’Riley is now the region’s Young Viticulturist of the Year.

The 25-year-old Viticulture Technician for Giesen Wines had some stiff competition from other local viticulturists during yesterday’s daylong competition. 
Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition update 2014
24 June 2014

PRESS RELEASE 23 June 2014
2014 Young Viticulturist of the Year set to be the biggest and best yet... sponsors once again....

Reminder - law change re giving away wine (competition prizes, etc.)
24 June 2014

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 came into force late last year, bringing into effect significant changes to the rules relating to the promotion of alcohol. 

2 really significant changes:  
Perhaps the most significant is that alcohol can no longer be advertised off the premises in a way which leads people to believe that the price is 25% or more below the price at which alcohol is ordinarily sold.


Providing free wine as a competition prize or as part of a loyalty programme is now illegal.

Offers made outside licensed premises for any goods or services, or the opportunity to win a prize, on the condition that alcohol is bought are now also not permitted.  If a business runs a competition where alcohol forms part of the prize, the promotion may not be advertised anywhere people could see or hear it outside of licensed premises. This will include promotions where people subscribe to a newsletter to go into the draw to win a prize, where the competition is a game of skill, and any ‘lucky dip’ competitions. ‘Seen or heard’ from outside licensed premises will include advertising that is conducted via email, print, broadcast, or social media, including Facebook. 

As well as restricting the ability to advertise competitions that include alcohol as a prize, the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 prohibits the advertising of promotions where the purchase of alcohol is required in order to enter, or where a certain amount of alcohol is required to be eligible for a reward.

Please read the full details -  For further information please contact Marija Batistich at Kensington Swan  - phone 09 375 1187

NZ Vintage 2014 figures are out - size of vintage supports export growth
10 June 2014

Official NZ Wine Press Release follows:

2014 New Zealand wine vintage to support export growth

The 2014 New Zealand grape harvest has been completed with high quality grapes picked across the country.
Biodiversity in New Zealand vineyards
07 June 2014

Interesting little read from NZ Winegrowers,, on nurturing biodiversity in New Zealand vineyards. Click here to access the pdf article.
Best Practice Guidelines from MBIE and WorkSafe NZ - Workplace Bullying (Hazard)
05 June 2014

Advice for employers on how to handle the significant hazard of workplace bullying ...
2014 Regional Vintage Report HAWKE'S BAY
05 June 2014

Hawke’s Bay 2014 “excellent” vintage sets smiles and excitement...
2014 Regional Vintage Report MARTINBOROUGH / WAIRARAPA
30 May 2014

Martinborough / Wairarapa - Back to back vintages of exceptional quality!
2014 Regional Vintage Report WAIPARA
30 May 2014

It has been a harvest of two halves in the Waipara Valley North Canterbury. The season got off to a great start...
Cellar Operations Training Regional Meetings June and July
29 May 2014

New wine industry cellar operations qualifications are coming - attend a regional meeting to find out more. Industry support is required to make this fly. 

Read the details here and register to attend


Parental Leave increases 1 July 2014
27 May 2014


The maximum payment for eligible employees and self-employed persons will increase from $488.17 per week to $504.10 gross per week.
No more wine give-aways
29 May 2014

There's more to come on this one, meantime, every NZ wine company involved in discounting or running competitions giving wine away, should read this from the industry's lawyers, Bell Gully.  (Liquor Law Act change December 2013)

2014 Regional Vintage Report WAIHEKE
27 May 2014

The Waiheke season past was a summer of two halves... Overall a somewhat challenging growing season...
2014 Regional Vintage Report KUMEU
27 May 2014

November 2013 gave us beautiful weather that meant the flowering was perfect, and the fruit set very good indeed....

2014 Regional Vintage Report MARLBOROUGH
26 May 2014

Marlborough winemakers are extremely positive about the 2014 vintage in spite of some challenges from late season rain, Wine Marlborough General Manager Marcus Pickens said today.
KiwiSaver information - handy tools
19 May 2014

Just found this handy KiwiSaver information - Fund comparisons, fee structures, fund types - worth a look if you're interested in KiwiSaver:
2014 Regional Vintage Report NELSON
08 May 2014

A moderate winter resulted in warmer than average soil temperatures followed by an early bud break. Nelson Vintage 2014 Earlier than Ever...
2014 Regional Vintage Report MATAKANA
08 May 2014

Good year all round, as always there will be exceptions to the rule...
More of a focus on Health in new Health and Safety laws?
07 May 2014

Sounds like there'll be a greater emphasis on workplace health as well as safety....

2014 Regional Vintage Report GISBORNE
07 May 2014

Last year was “the vintage of a lifetime” for Gisborne wines. This vintage is shaping up to be equally exceptional.
2014 Regional Vintage Report NORTHLAND
07 May 2014

2014 provided us ideal conditions for a bumper grape harvest in Northland,  "I believe the wines will express the positive qualities that the Northland climates and soils have to offer."
International Sauvignon Blanc Day
05 May 2014

A recent press release from Chris Yorke, Global Marketing Director, New Zealand Winegrowers, reminded us all to join the wine world of fun on May 16th to celebrate International Sauvignon Blanc Day.
05 May 2014

Over the vintage of 2014 we took a lighthearted view of some of the goings on in some of the industry and ran a photo competition on Facebook - VinAntics.  We saw everything from scary health and safety breaches (not showing you those...) to hard work, a little fun and some amazing photography.  Why not head on over and see for yourself?  (You can Like our Facebook Page while you're there...)
Health & Safety update - changes coming
24 April 2014

Proposed Changes to Health and Safety - update
The Minister of Labour, Simon Bridges, recently announced that the biggest health and safety reforms in 20 years are now one step closer with the introduction of the Health and Safety Reform Bill, expected to become the new Act next year.
Costly Error - Redundancy while on Parental Leave
27 March 2014

A recent determination from the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) shows just how costly it can be for employers when they get things wrong.

In February 2012 “Mrs A” was employed as a National Key Accounts Manager by a company specifically to service a national supermarket chain.

In April 2012 “Mrs A” applied in writing for six months parental leave.  The company verbally approved this leave, with a return to work date of January 2013. (Note - the company should have put the approval in writing in accordance with the Parental  Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 [PLEPA]). 
Minimum wage rate increases 1 April
27 March 2014

Straight from the MBIE mailout:

New minimum wage rates take effect from 1 April 2014

The new adult minimum wage rates (before tax) that apply to employees aged 16 or over will be:
$14.25 per hour, which is
$114.00 for an 8-hour day,
$570.00 for a 40-hour week.
Vintage 2014 underway
13 March 2014

The 2014 New Zealand grape harvest is underway amid high hopes for a vintage which has started earlier than recent years due to a fantastic growing season. 
Holding on to your employees
11 March 2014

And a new year begins…
    with staff changes?
The New Year can bring a wave of movement in the job market.  
KiwiSaver reporting
03 December 2013

This is an excellent article by Diana Clements in the NZ Herald - we do recommend any KiwiSaver members read the whole article.....

"Do you read your KiwiSaver statements? Really? In the next few weeks the first truly readable personalised KiwiSaver statements will be produced.

Thanks to law changes this year, KiwiSaver providers must publish standardised data about their funds each quarter as well as personalised annual statements in June each year.
How’s Your Work Life Balance?
11 November 2013

We’ve all heard the expression “work/life balance” – the concept that allows employees to feel as though they are balancing the time they spend on all the important aspects of their lives.  Generation Y expect it, having grown up with the concept, and as some employees age, they realise they should have addressed it sooner. It used to be that those employees who worked more than they played did so at the behest of the employer. These days, however, smartphones, laptops and easy access to communication channels mean employees are choosing to work “after hours”. 
Employment Categories and Employment Agreements - Employers still don't get it right!
08 October 2013

Basic requirements – but some businesses are still not compliant.

It is still surprising how often we discover that employers are still employing people without written employment agreements…  For one thing, it is illegal -  the Employment Relations Act 2000 (ERA) requirs employers to have a written employment agreement in place for every employee on the payroll.  But it is also not good business practice – by not having one in place, employers risk a fine of up to $10,000. 
25 September 2013

Press Release: 17th September 2013

Support for RSE scheme by NZ Wine employers
23 September 2013

By Cathie Bell, in the Marlborough Express 5 September 2013; and

All employers who used the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme believe the benefits of it outweigh the costs, a report shows.

The results, published in a Business, Innovation and Employment Ministry report last month, show that over the five years a survey has been done, support from employers has risen from 57 per cent in 2008 to 100 per cent last year.
Sustainable Winegrowing NZ
23 September 2013

Applauding New Zealand Winegrowers Sustainability Policy

"To me New Zealand represents the most incredible turnaround on planet wine regarding its approach to organics and biodynamics over the last decade." Monty Waldin

From its initial foundations of Sustainable Winegrowing in 1995, The New Zealand Winegrowers Association launched in 2007 a 'Sustainability' initiative (SWNZ) with the goal that all New Zealand wines would be produced under independently audited environmental programmes by 2012.
Minimum pay rates and KiwiSaver contributions - Landmark Court Case ruling
23 September 2013

Result: If you employ people who are in KiwiSaver, on the minimum wage, the KiwiSaver contribution must be on top of the minimum wage of the time.


A landmark ruling effectively raising the minimum wage has scaled its latest hurdle.

The Court of Appeal chose yesterday to uphold last year's decision by the Employment Court that employers paying the minimum wage had to pay their KiwiSaver contributions on top. This would give some minimum-wage workers an extra $540 a year.
Is Social Media working for you?
02 September 2013

Do all employees represent companies outside of work hours?  The simple answer is “Yes”.  

As soon as a conversation takes place within a group of people and the question arises as to where one works, what the company’s business does and what they are like to work for, an employee becomes the best sales representative or total destroyer of the company, brand or image.  It’s how they portray the company that counts.  In this situation, however, the circle of influence is small.
Romeo Bragato Wine Award Results 2013
30 August 2013

A Central Otago Pinot Noir has been awarded Champion Wine of Show at this year’s Romeo Bragato Wine Awards.

Grown by Mark Naismith, the Akarua Pinot Noir 2011 won the coveted Bragato Trophy, the Mike Wolter Memorial Trophy Champion Pinot Noir, and the Sustainability Trophy.

The Bragato Wine Awards, held each year as part of the Romeo Bragato conference, are awarded to the grower for viticultural excellence. The competition recognises that growing excellent grapes is the foundation of making wines of true quality. Trophies are awarded to the top wine from each varietal class judged. 
Media release - What to do after an Earthquake: 20 August 2013
23 August 2013

The Civil Defence Emergency Management team have released some advice on what to do after an earthquake - you might be surprised at what they recommend.  For one - 

Do NOT get outside quickly after an earthquake:
Read their Guide for Workplace Earthquake Plan....
Restructuring and Redundancies
09 August 2013

An employer has always had the right to restructure a business for good commercial or business reasons - for example cost savings when times are tight and profits are squeezed.

The standing principle was that if an employee was made redundant as a result of the restructure and the employer acted genuinely, historically doing  what a fair and reasonable employer would (now, “could”) have done in all the circumstances, the Employment Authority (or Employment Court) would not have sought further reasons as to the restructure, in a situation where that decision were challenged by an employee by way of a personal grievance.
Who owns a business's social media accounts?
25 July 2013

Really interesting topic... Do read the story. Reprinted with kind permission from Dionne Lew - CEO of The Social Executive. Blogs at

Many smart companies are using social media to generate business outcomes. But who owns these accounts when a person moves on?

1. If the face of your brand builds a Twitter following does it stay or go with them?

2. If you employ someone because of their online Klout what right do you have to their previous relationships?

3. If staff use professional networks like LinkedIn in place of contact management systems to generate leads, who owns that data?

4. Who owns your LinkedIn account?

5. If a former employee with a ‘restraint of trade’ clause updates their LinkedIn profile is this ‘soliciting’ or just the ‘new grapevine’?

6. On the other hand, if you do not update your LinkedIn profile when you move on are you falsely representing yourself as a current employee?

These are just some of the questions that businesses are grappling with in relation to social media and there are no easy answers. ..