COVID-19 Response (Requirements for Entities – Modifications and Exemptions) Act 2020

Parliament has passed legislation to support businesses and Māori governance entities through the immediate impacts of COVID-19. The provisions in the new Act are part of the Government’s wider pandemic response and are available until November 2020.



Find the legislation

The COVID-19 Response (Requirements for Entities – Modifications and Exemptions) Act has been passed.

You can view the Act online.

You can view information about the passage of the Bill through Parliament.

(Note the Bill was split in two at the last stage. The COVID-19 Response (Further Management Measures) Legislation Act 2020 can be viewed online.)

Changes to governance obligations and compliance

The COVID-19 Response (Requirements for Entities – Modifications and Exemptions) Act provides governance entities with relief from certain statutory obligations and obligations in their constitutions and other rules that are impossible or impractical because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key changes for entities include:

Proposed change

Proposed benefit

Oversight of provisions – relevant authority**

Electronic means provisions*

Will enable the use of electronic communications (including electronic voting and the use of electronic signatures) when an entity’s constitution or rules do not permit this

· Maori Land Court for entities under the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act

· Te Puni Kokiri for Māori Associations and Māori Trust Boards

Modification provisions*

Will allow entities to make temporary modifications to their constitutions or rules (such as calling or holding meetings, form of voting, dispute resolution) where it is not practical to comply with the provisions for change in their current constitution or rules.

Exemption provisions

Will give nominated registrars and Ministers the power to grant exemptions from certain statutory obligations (such as calling or holding meetings and auditing, assurance, or financial reporting or review requirements)

· The Minister for Māori Development for entities under the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act, the Māori Community Development Act and the Māori Trust Boards Act

· The Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court for entities under the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act where the Court originally set its terms of trust

* The provisions relating to electronic means and modification also apply to post-settlement governance entities.

** An entity may have more than one responsible registrar if, for example, they are also an incorporated society.

Complying with the provisions

The new provisions for Māori entities apply across three Acts Te Puni Kōkiri administers, and to the following entities where and when needed. The modification and exemption powers can be applied retrospectively by entities from 21 March 2020, when New Zealand moved to Alert Level 2.

All provisions apply until 30 November 2020.

Information about what is required from entities when applying the changes is provided for each entity type by clicking on the links in the table below.

Entities the provisions apply to (click the link for information about the provisions for your entity Implementing agency
Māori trust boards (under the Māori Trust Boards Act 1955) Te Puni Kōkiri
Māori associations (under the Māori Community Development Act 1962) Te Puni Kōkiri
- Assembled owners (under Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993)
- Māori land trusts (under Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993)
- Māori incorporations (under Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993)
- Māori reservations (under Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993)
Māori Land Court *

* Te Puni Kōkiri will support the Minister with exemption provisions for land owners and land entities. Information on this is included in the guidance documentation on the Māori Land Court website.

Entities use of the provisions

Public notification of the use of the provisions in the Act by Māori entities is provided at the links below.

Other law changes affecting Māori entities

The Act proposes changes for mandated iwi organisations under the Māori Fisheries Act and for Post-Settlement Governance Entities.

Law changes for companies, incorporated societies and other entities

At the same time, the Government has measures in place to support businesses generally:

The two Acts also provide support to the following entities:

Changes proposed to:

Entities impacted by the changes:

Companies Act 1993


Limited Partnerships Act 2007

Limited partnerships

Building Societies Act 1965

Building societies

Charitable Trusts Act 1957

Charitable trust boards

Incorporated Societies Act 1908

Incorporated societies

Friendly Societies and Credit Unions Act 1982

Friendly societies

Credit unions

Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1908

Industrial and provident societies

Use of electronic means provisions

Read more

Use of modifications provisions

Read more

Use of exemptions provisions

Read more

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