Tag Archive for: Christchurch

Parry Field Lawyers has expanded its offering to clients with the opening of a fourth office and a return to the Christchurch CBD, for the first time since the 2011 February earthquake.

It’s nearly 12 years to the day since our team, along with others, were trapped on the upper floors of the 17-storey Forsyth Barr building in Colombo Street and had to be rescued by crane.

The new offices on the first level of the PWC Tower in Cashel Street have been officially opened by Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger, who thanked the firm for its ongoing commitment to Christchurch and in particular for the decision to return to the heart of the city.

“It’s investment by businesses like yours that help drive our economy and support the community,” he said. “Thanks for all the work you do as a legal team to remove barriers and find solutions for your clients.”

The Mayor also congratulated Parry Field on the choice of location by the Bridge of Remembrance. The building at 60 Cashel Street was one of the first significant rebuilds after the earthquake and was designed to 130% of the Building Code.

“It’s a great example of the determination to build better – to create work environments that are safer, stronger, and smarter.”

Parry Field’s Chair, Kris Morrison, formally welcomed the Mayor and guests to the opening, saying the partners are very thankful to all those who have been clients, advisors, friends and supporters of the business over many years.

“It’s a significant moment for us to re-opening city offices.  Up until 22 February in 2011 Parry Field had had offices in the Christchurch CBD continuously from or very close after its original founding in 1948.”

He recalled the moment the earthquake struck; looking from the 15th floor at the huge cloud of dust coming over the city and the wait, eventually being rescued by crane.

“Looking over the edge of the balcony, we had some trepidation about climbing over and into the crane basket, but when it arrived, we climbed in. The trip to the ground was surprisingly quick and smooth. It felt as comfortable as an ordinary lift ride.”

Thinking back to that day and the loss and damage in the earthquakes, he said it is encouraging to see what progress there has been. “It has been exciting to see the return of business and life to the central city over the last few years in particular, and it is exciting to be joining that return ourselves.”

Opening a fourth office is also a reflection of the growth the firm has experienced – from a team of 25 staff a decade ago, to more than 80 now, including an office in Riccarton, and regional offices in the Selwyn district and on the West Coast in Hokitika.

“One key principle for us as a law firm is that we always want to be and feel accessible to our clients. We want them to feel that they can call on us at any time.  For many of our clients our Riccarton offices are convenient, but a significant number of our clients and the other professionals that we work with, are now based in the CBD, so we trust that it will be helpful for them that we are once again back in the heart of the city.”

He thanked those involved in fitting out the premises including architect Malcolm Orr and Project Manager, Russell Hatcher. “We love the way the offices have come together.”

Further information: Lawyers rescued from earthquake-damaged tower’s top floor move back to town | Stuff.co.nz

Please refer to our New Zealand Lawyers Articles for a post on important tax issues surrounding the earthquake

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If your business suffered damage in the Christchurch earthquakes, negotiating a successful insurance claim will be vital for the viability of your business going forward. We have a free checklist of basic information you need to collect to begin making an insurance claim.

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In this, our fourth and final blog on employment issues, we look at legal issues for employees resulting from the Christchurch earthquake.  This includes issues such as redundancy, and whether or not you are entitle to financial assistance.

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On 28 March 2011 the Government announced measures to alleviate the significant financial burden on businesses in Christchurch caused by the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes.

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This is our third blog on employment law issues for those affected by the Christchurch Earthquake.  We answer the question:

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This blog continues with our series of blogs on the legal consequences of the Christchurch Earthquake by our qualified New Zealand Lawyers.

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For Employers

My business couldn’t operate for a period of time after the earthquake, am I entitled to any financial assistance towards paying my employees?

Yes possibly.

There are two possible avenues:

(a)     If you held business interruption insurance prior to the earthquake, you may be entitled to financial assistance from your insurer under that policy.

You should contact your insurer as soon as possible to discuss and check the terms of your policy to confirm what, if any, assistance you may be entitled to and in what circumstances (don’t just take your insurer’s word for it!)

If an insurance payment is likely to take some time, you may also be entitled to receive the Government Earthquake Support Subsidy (see below) in the meantime but will have to repay it when the insurance payment is received.  You could also ask your insurer to make an advance payment under your policy.

(b)    You may be entitled to receive the Government Earthquake Support Subsidy

This is available to employers, the self employed or business owners who draw a wage but only in the following circumstances:

i. You are unable to operate due to damage, a police cordon, a key service is not available, or you are a small business who can operate but you are undergoing significant loss of business; and

ii. You are New Zealand owned; and

iii. You are based in the Christchurch City Council region.

You cannot receive the subsidy if you can continue to operate and/or meet your obligations to pay your employees, are a government or government-related organisation or if you have staff who have been injured or bereaved and who are receiving weekly compensation from ACC (but you are only limited n relation to that staff member(s).

The subsidy is paid:

for up to six weeks from 22 February 2011 (5 April 2011) at a rate of $500 per week per fulltime employee (over 20 hours per week) or a rate of $300 per week per employee for part time employees (anyone working 20 hours a week or less) the subsidy is not subject to GST but is subject to PAYE.

You can apply on line with Work and Income New Zealand or contact the Earthquake Government Helpline.

Our next blog on Christchurch Earthquake issues discusses how to deal with legal fees.

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The main points are:

  • You should make another claim after the 22 February 2011 earthquake with the EQC;
  • You have three months to make the claim, but make it as soon as possible;
  • You can lodge a claim by phone 0800 326 423 or by going to their website: www.eqc.govt.nz
  • Not all your land or buildings are covered

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