All That Legal Jazz - What are my responsibilities?

Updated: May 8, 2020

When you're starting up your business, you must be clear on what New Zealand laws and regulations you need to comply with including reserving a company name, registering your business, appointing directors, issuing shares, applying for licenses (depending on the business) and registering for tax.

There's a lot to process - digitally and mentally! Thankfully, we have the biggest resource available to make sure that we're not missing anything - the world wide web. Below I've included the main obligations you have when starting your business and key website links to explore.

*Disclaimer: This list is a guide and is not comprehensive. Please make sure to do the yards yourself and make sure that you've checked all the boxes for the trade you're in!


The New Zealand Companies Register is the one stop website to:

· Incorporate a company · Reserve a company name · Register your tax details · Appoint directors · Registering shareholders and issuing shares · Complete other company necessities ···


The NZ Government Business website is a fantastic overall business resource when setting up and running your business. They have so many pages with fantastic business tools and guidelines including help with understanding tax obligations, compliances, risks and operations, business performance strategies and protecting your IP and assets.



If you're a sole trader and want to pay your wages without having to pay for PAYE software, you can use the PAYE calculator online to work out your tax rate, ACC levies, kiwisaver contributions and what your take home pay is after you've made the deductions.



If you're starting out with little to no finances behind your business, there are options to help you get on your feet. Work and Income NZ have a start-up payment scheme to help with some of your start-up costs. How much you get depends on what you need. The maximum is $10,000 in a 52 week period and can help with legal costs associated with establishing your business, insurance, marketing and digital connection fees. Make sure to search around to see who can give you great deals. Some companies, like mine, offer payment plans and are passionate about helping people achieve their dreams regardless of their budget. There's no harm in asking!



It's important to protect your brand for various important reasons, and you can do so through company registration and/or trade marks, trade secrets, copyright & domain name registration.

The NZ Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) is the place to visit for all your brand protection requirements. They also offer protection through patents, designs and types of IP.



The amount of insurance needed for business varies, and finding an insurance provider that can work with you on your specifics is important,

Bizcover is a great website where you can acquire multiple quotes online from leading NZ insurers. It's worth going through the quotes to find someone that will cater to your business needs.



You might be surprised to find that there are local government legislations which dictate particular rules surrounding your trade. They have acts in place to keep society and the individual safe, such as the building act. Check them out to make sure you're compliant.



There's a fairly common understanding within business this day and age - if you're not online, you might as well not have a business. A strong website and social media presence is essential for long term success.

The importance of a website for marketing reaches every aspect of your marketing strategy. Everyone you meet or advertise to will want a place of reference that has all your information on it. A website is the backbone of your online presence - every form of communication, content or advertisement that you share will drive the consumer back to your website.

We can help you here! Check out our website packages for more info or contact us for a no-obligation quote.


I hope this article has helped with giving you some strong references for grounding your business. If you're unsure whether you've met all the legal requirements for setting up, and not sure where to ask, Google will be your best friend! Specific search queries such as, "Starting up a cafe in nz" or "plumber business checklist nz" will give you great results to explore. There's so much more to tackle - next week, I want to share the importance of social media. Where to start? What platforms should you utilise?

Stay excited folks!

Stef xx

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