Buying from overseas? GST now on low value imported goods

Date: January 12th, 2020

Dubbed ‘Amazon tax’, a new law introducing GST on low value imported goods came into effect on 1 December 2019. Now overseas businesses that sell low-value goods to consumers in New Zealand may need to register for, collect and return GST of 15%.

Any item costing $1000 or less will be a low value import and the GST will be collected by the supplier, provided the total supplies to this country amount to $60,000 or more per annum. There will, of course, be suppliers who are not registered for GST, particularly those whose sales to this country are less than $60,000 per year.

online shopping

Does your business deal with overseas suppliers? Read on!

How will it affect NZ GST-registered businesses?

If you are buying low-value goods sold from overseas suppliers as a GST-registered business for use in your business (business-to-business supplies), GST is generally excluded under the new rules. That’s because businesses can claim back GST on these purchases, so Inland Revenue would just end up paying back any GST that had been collected.

However, some suppliers may opt to collect GST on low-value goods supplied to GST-registered New Zealand businesses if they meet the criteria that allows this. They must issue a tax invoice which will allow the New Zealand business to claim back the GST.

If a New Zealand business imports goods in a consignment valued above NZ$1,000 from an overseas supplier, they’ll continue to pay GST and duty on these goods at the border.

However, Customs will not collect GST on low-value goods in parcels or consignments valued over NZ$1,000 if it receives documentation that shows GST has already been collected by an overseas supplier, marketplace or re-deliverer.

What you need to do

If you deal with overseas supplier, be sure to let them know that you are GST registered. For business to business transactions, an overseas supplier can zero rate your purchase.

If you are charged GST in error, you have two options:

  • Get the GST back from the supplier.
  • Get the supplier to send you a tax invoice so you can claim the GST back.

Remote services

This new law is in addition to the regulations that came in 2016. Remember the so-called ‘Netflix tax’? This introduced the collection of GST on remote services including online services and digital products bought from overseas, such as software downloads, streamed movies and music.

More information

GST to be charged on low value imported goods

More info for businesses from Inland Revenue

More info for consumers from

Posted in: Latest News, tax, Wanaka

Xero’s getting even better – with Hubdoc

Date: January 12th, 2020

Following Xero’s acquisition of Hubdoc in 2018, you’ll soon be able to automate more admin tasks and say goodbye to manual data entry. That’s because from 18 March 2020, Hubdoc will be included in Xero’s Starter, Standard and Premium plans.

hubdoc guy graphic

Hubdoc, which has a retail price of $27.50 a month, will add even more benefit for Xero users. With the two cloud software systems combined, manual bookkeeping tasks like document collection and data entry are automated, making bank reconciliation and financial document management a breeze.

Benefits of Hubdoc integration

With Hubdoc’s industry-leading data capture technology as part of your day-to-day toolkit, you can:

  • Easily capture bills and receipts – Hubdoc makes it easy to upload documents using your desktop, mobile device, email or scanner so you can access all your documents in one centralised, digital system of record.
  • Let Xero do your data entry – Once documents are uploaded to Hubdoc, the key data is automatically extracted and synced to Xero as accurately coded transactions.
  • Enjoy one-click bank reconciliation – Xero then matches these transactions to the bank feed for one-click reconciliation.
  • Go paperless – All your documents are searchable and easy to access from anywhere in the world. Every reconciled Xero transaction has a source document attached so you can verify the data and know the financials are accurate and up-to-date for easy compliance and valuable business insights.

By automating admin tasks, you can spend less time managing documents and more time doing what you love.

More info

Have a look at Xero’s Hubdoc page for more information.

If you need any help with your Hubdoc set up, Josh is our software set up specialist and he loves Hubdoc! Please see Sidekick Cloud or email Josh directly on .

Posted in: Latest News, Wanaka, Xero

Leadership and executive training in New Zealand 

Date: January 8th, 2020

Leadership training for business can come in all shapes and sizes. If you have been a leader in your business for a long time, sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know and it can be difficult to see your blind spots. If you are interested in a driving a thriving business, one that makes a difference in your lives and others, the best place to start is with some personal development.  

Winery owner talking to staff member

We are lucky in New Zealand to have a range of training options, whether it is at a governance level, pushing personal boundaries and driving personal growth or challenging beliefs or developing strategy. Here we take a look at some incredible organisations that help Kiwis and their businesses grow. 


The Icehouse is focused on enhancing the potential of New Zealand business owners and entrepreneurs. Their programmes help to develop Kiwi businesses through knowledge, connection and investment. 

The Icehouse is owned by a not-for-profit trust, The ICE Foundation, and is backed by the financial support and expertise of the New Zealand government and an extensive group of committed partners that include: Bank of New Zealand, Callaghan Innovation, Xero, Vodafone, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and their founder, The University of Auckland Business School. 

Icehouse offers business owners one-on-one business coaching, leadership development programmes and workshops. Their programmes aim to develop specific skills sets and capabilities of entrepreneurs and business owners. You can check out their programmes here. 

Leadership NZ

Leadership New Zealand is focused on enriching New Zealand by developing active leadership, in connected communities. Their purpose is to build an exceptional culture that develops and celebrates resilient, courageous and authentic leaders.   

The focus is on leadership education and diversity to achieve higher levels of engagement, creativity and innovation.

They facilitate two yearly leadership programmes, regular alumni events and they closely work with leaders of not-for-profits organisations. Leadership NZ helps ensure Kiwis in positions of influence are equipped for the challenges of leadership. 

Check out what they do here.

Institute of Directors

The NZ Institute of Directors equips and inspires its members, to add value across New Zealand business and society. The NZ Institute of Directors assembles an extensive business network and provides professional governance courses, events and resources. 

The NZ IoD is for established directors to support their profession by belonging to the professional organisation for directors. It is about upholding standards for directors and to give back to the profession. New directors are able to join to further develop their careersThey offer on-going training, no matter what career stage. There is also the opportunity for mentoring and continued training as the business landscape changes. 

Outward Bound 

Outward Bound is one of New Zealand’s leading organisations for showing people their full potential through outdoor challenge and adventure. They believe in experiential learning, or learning through doing. That means students take responsibility over the challenge ahead of them. Whether that’s leading the way on an expedition or managing their team to complete a kayak journey.

They focus on building transferable skills and attitudes that remain far beyond a participant’s time with the programme. Lessons learnt are applicable to work, study, home, and they last for a lifetime. 

Outward Bound is based in Anakiwa. They offer courses in Professional Development designed to develop a new generation of leaders with resilience, adaptability, confidence and self-awareness. The programme is delivered over 5 days, in the outdoors. This is personal growth at its best!

Tu Moana

Tu Moana is about improving diversity and inclusion through mana-centred leadership. They offer strategy development training, inclusive leadership training, they address unconscious bias and focus on staff wellness and mana as resilience. 

Tu Moana custom design a learning experience specific to the needs of your team. They work with organisations in health, government, not for profit, business and education.  Moana utilises a mana-centered approach, which draws on both western and indigenous ways of understanding oneself, regardless of cultural background, as a first step to understanding others. 

Check out their gig here.

Here at Findlay Sidekick we are all about training and development. Our staff are able to continue their professional development both formally and informally. We are lucky enough to tap into some courses run by SAANZ and keep ourselves up to date! 

How will you learn something new in 2020?  

Posted in: business devlopment, Latest News, Wanaka

A reminder on ringfencing residential rental losses

Date: December 27th, 2019

‘Ringfencing residential rental losses’ – it’s quite the mouthful! And what exactly, does it mean?! It refers to a change in tax legislation that is likely to affect a number of people in the Wanaka area, due to our high rates of rental investment properties. The legislation was changed at the beginning of this financial year, so we anticipate people will really start to notice the change with the end of the upcoming 2019-2020 tax year… so this is a gentle reminder.

house with for rent sign

In simple terms

Up until this financial year, property investors were able to offset financial losses from property income against their other income (this could be from wages, salary or business), meaning reduced tax liability and often a tax return on the rental loss (based on their income tax rate).

For example, in previous financial years:

Sally earns works full time and owns a rental property. During the financial year, she earns $30,160 in rental income from the property. Sally’s expenses on the property, including mortgage interest, insurance, property management fees, repairs/maintenance and land tax/water/power costs, come in at a total of $42,656. Sally’s rental loss (difference between the rental income and expenses) is $12,496. Sally’s personal income tax rate is 33%. Sally can make a claim on the rental loss amount against her salaried income, so she will be eligible for a tax refund amount of $4,123.68.

What’s changed?

Now, property investors won’t be able to offset their rental losses against their income. Instead, the loss will be ‘ring fenced’, meaning it is carried forward to future years, for offset against income specifically from rental properties or sale of land of residential land.

However, ringfencing is based on your overall property portfolio, meaning you can offset a rental loss from one property against the profit from another.

Why the change?

The idea behind the change of legislation is to make it fairer for owner/occupiers to compete with investors when purchasing property and to improve housing affordability with the view that it will increase the number of New Zealanders who can afford to purchase their own home. It will also have significant tax revenue benefits for the Government, who expect an increase of $190 million per year.

For more info

Ringfencing isn’t a simple concept by any means and there are a number of important points to consider depending on your property investment and financial situation, so we definitely recommend talking to an accountant or advisor if you have any questions (and to eliminate any surprises at the end of this financial year!)

Read IRDs Tax Policy on Ring Fencing Rental Losses

Posted in: Latest News, Property Investment, Wanaka

Holiday season payroll & employment law: getting it right!

Date: December 15th, 2019

The holiday season is supposed to be a joyous time of year filled with friends, family and celebrations. However, if you’re a business owner and particularly an employer, just like Santa trying to navigate his way through a snow storm on Christmas Eve, navigating your way round holiday employment law and payroll can be challenging. There are rules around annual leave, statutory holiday payments, days in lieu, Mondayisation, annual closedowns and more to think about!

Thankfully there is some useful information out there that will help guide your sleigh this Christmas!

business woman in santa hat

Our friends at Xero have answered some common questions around payroll during the Christmas/New Year period including how to work out leave allowances, public holiday payments and file payroll in advance. This is specifically targeted at those businesses using Xero Payroll. Read Xero’s article on getting your payroll sorted here.

In addition, we recommend checking out Employment NZ‘s five point guide to answering common misconceptions in employment law related to the holidays. Here it is:

1. Is closing down a workplace for a specific period lawful?

Yes. Employers may close down a workplace if the process is managed lawfully.

An employer may have a regular closedown once a year and this is common over the Christmas/New Year period. Employees, who are entitled to annual holidays at the time of a closedown, are required to take annual holidays or other leave arrangements. The closedown can apply to part or all of the business, but employees must be given at least 14 days’ notice.

Whether employees should be paid depends on a number of factors, including whether they have built up enough annual holidays, or if agreed, they can take annual holidays in advance or unpaid leave.

Read more about annual closedowns

2. Should employees working a public holiday always get time and a half, plus an alternative day off?

No. Employees working on a public holiday should always be paid time and a half. However, they only get an alternative holiday (a paid ‘day in lieu’) if the public holiday they worked was a day that they normally worked, (i.e., an ‘otherwise working day’ for them), unless the employee only works on public holidays. Therefore, not all employees working public holidays are entitled to an alternative day off.

When a public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, and this is a day the employee does not normally work, then an employee’s public holiday might be moved to the following Monday (or in some cases Tuesday).

For example, an employee who normally works weekends is required to work on Christmas Day this year, Wednesday 25 December. As this is not a normal working day for them, they don’t get an alternative holiday, but still get paid time and a half. However, if the Wednesday was their normal working day, they would also get an alternative holiday.

Read more about public holidays

3. Can employers refuse a request when their employees ask to take their annual holidays?

Yes. Employers and employees should try to work out annual holiday arrangements that are acceptable for both parties. For example, an employee might request to take two of their four weeks’ annual holidays over the Christmas break for an extended family holiday.

Employees may need to take holidays for important and legitimate personal, family and community responsibilities and employers must give their employees the opportunity to take at least two of the four weeks’ annual holidays continuously. This rule is to ensure staff are given an extended opportunity for rest and recreation at least once a year.

However, an employer also has the right to run their business as well, eg to ensure that they have enough staff to continue to operate. The key point here is that the employer must have fair and reasonable grounds to refuse a request to take annual holidays at the requested time.

On those occasions when both parties can’t reach agreement about the timing of employees’ annual holidays, then the employer can decide the dates, providing they are being fair and reasonable. However, the employee must be given at least 14 days’ notice to take annual holidays on those specified dates.

Read more about annual holidays

4. Do employers have to provide their employees with annual holidays in advance?

No. Employees don’t have a minimum legal right to take annual holidays in advance before they complete one year of work. If an employer provides this, it is at their discretion.
All employees become entitled to at least four weeks’ annual holidays after 12 months of continuous employment.

However, it is also common for some employers to allow their staff to take annual holidays in advance, even when they haven’t “accrued” enough days. “Accrued” is like a balance that staff have accumulated since they started working for a business. However, there is no legal requirement for an employer to provide annual holidays in advance.

Read more about taking annual holidays in advance

5. Can employees cash-up all their annual holidays during their employment?

No. Employees can ask to be paid out up to one week’s worth of annual holidays per year for each entitlement year, but the employer can say no to the request. If the employer agrees, employees must not cash-up more than one week’s worth of annual holidays per year for each four weeks’ holiday.

For example, an employee might want extra money for Christmas gifts and expenses and want to cash-up some of their annual holidays’ balance. The employee must have completed 12 months’ employment and make the request in writing. The employer must reply in writing and doesn’t have to give a reason for their decision.

An employer can also opt out of having to consider such cash-up requests by stating this in a workplace policy or employment contract.

Also, an employer cannot force an employee to cash up a portion of their annual holidays, if the employer has not been given a written request from the employee. In this case, the employee can keep both the cash up money and still take the portion of annual holidays cashed up as paid holidays. The employer may also face a penalty.

Read more about cashing up annual holidays

Need help?

If you need help with payroll for the holiday season, please get in touch.

Posted in: Latest News, payroll, small business, Xero

Four innovative Wanaka businesses

Date: December 7th, 2019

People in Wanaka come up with some smart ideas. It might be the fresh mountain air and the inspiration all around us. People doing smart things inspire people to do smart things it seems. Our town is an incubator for new ideas that solve big problems and creativity that makes the world a better place. We check out what some of the locals have been up to!

Nautilus Modular

Nautilus Modular homes with mountain backdrop

The Southern Lakes region faces some housing challenges. Finding tradesmen, finding space, tackling affordability and finance to name a few. Residents demand solutions that favour the environment and they are looking for comfort, aesthetics and smart living when it comes to their homes.

Introducing Nautilus Modular, a fully integrated modular building system pulls all elements of production, transport and installation into a simplistic and efficient package. Off-site manufacturing creates efficiencies in the supply chain model, reduces waste while still able to quickly produce quality, sustainable housing. At the heart of the project, this company has focused on accessibility, efficiency, innovation, sustainability, and liveability; they aim to not only bend the rules but to change the game.

Wildwire Wanaka

Wildwire is one of those Wanaka tourism businesses that is not just for the visitors; locals have got to check this out too!! Wildwire takes you up one of our local waterfalls, in the stunning Matukituki valley by via ferrata. Via ferrate comes from the Italian, vie ferrate, or ‘iron road’; it is a secure, protected, climbing path, where climbers attach themselves to a cable that is fixed to the rock along the route. Sound like fun? Hundreds of steel rungs, safety cable and epic wire-bridges have been secured to the canyon walls, enabling you to access this area and enjoy the breathtaking scenery and experience an unforgettable climb.

Wildwire is owned by long terms locals Mark and Laurel Morrison; they are passionate adventurers, business owners and locals.


And if you haven’t been yet, you have got to try Fudog!! FuDog brings fresh Asian flavours to Wanaka. Their main influence stems from modern Japanese, Chinese and Korean cuisine.  They have classics like house made dumplings, all the way to pickled vegetables and steamed whole fish. They source the best New Zealand ingredients and you can enjoy it in a beautiful setting tucked away in the heart of Wanaka.

FuDog has a relaxed open plan restaurant perfect socializing space or that Christmas party. You can enjoy mountain views, outdoor seating area and a fully stocked bar.

Laser Clays

Wanaka Laser Clays

Wanaka Laser Clays is claybird shooting with lasers, wahoo!! Wanaka Laser Clays uses real guns that have been converted to lasers for safety. The shotgun fires a harmless infra-red beam at the clay target which is launched a distance of about 40 metres from the automatic thrower. A large electronic scoreboard keeps track of the scores throughout the round. At the end, the clays are picked up, loaded back into the thrower ready to go again, leaving no mess. There is no loud bang or recoil – making it perfect for people aged from 12 and up.

This is such an epic idea for your Christmas party. Up to 5 people can be playing at once and teams can be rotated, making it perfect for larger groups. There are four clay bird shooting game modes for the more competitive ones amongst us. There is also the option to play at night with the use of the luminous clays that glow in the dark. All that is required is a property or venue with a lawn space of about 40 metres by 15 metres.

Posted in: Latest News, small business, Wanaka

Technology hacks for time poor business people

Date: November 30th, 2019

We hear it all the time from our clients – “we just don’t have the time.” We completely understand, we’re all time poor! But what can you do to be time smart?  Time management and productivity is a hot topic in any business, and luckily there are some very accessible solutions in this technology driven age. 

businesswoman looking at watch

Technology to the rescue!

There’s an absolute abundance of software options out there in the big wide web, but the process of setting up new software can be a time sucking activity in itself! So, before you jump right in, here’s a few tips to get it right the first time:

Take your time

Ironic, considering you’re implementing a time saving solution, but this is one task not to rush. As you’ll quickly discover, for every software there are plenty of other options. Take your time – doing it once and doing it right will be the biggest time saver here!  

When in doubt, make a list

Break the business down into areas or departments and identify key requirements – then send that list off to the software teams and see if you can find a match. You’ll soon sort the flowers from the weeds and learn a lot about the software support team along the way.

Working better together

Businesses are quickly seeing the benefit of software integration vs. standalone software. Xero, for example, integrates with a wide range of software from payroll to job management to time tracking. Have a look into how this could work for you, you could be surprised at the options!

Test it, then test it again

For apps, this is easy – simply download and have a good play around. For more major software, ask for a demo from their team along with a trial. Consider getting other members of your team to test it too – maybe those who are slightly less I.T. inclined to ensure it’ll work for everyone.

Worth a look

Here are a few time saving software options which all integrate beautifully with Xero.

  • WorkflowMax – created by Xero developers, this is a easy to use job management software that offers financial tracking, time tracking, quotes and invoices (just to name a few!). 
  • Hubdoc – allows you to easily capture bills and receipts reducing data entry and reconciliation and streamline financial document management. Integrated with Xero, Hubdoc turn bills and receipts into coded Xero transactions. More about Xero and Hubdoc. 
  • Insightly CRM – Insightly is a CRM package that imports your clients financial data from Xero to give you a more accurate picture of your clientele. 

For more options, check out the Xero Apps page.

Posted in: Latest News, technology, Xero

IRD follows undeclared cash trails in construction

Date: November 18th, 2019

Inland Revenue has declared its intention to get tough on undeclared earnings, aka, cashies or under the table payments. Recently the IRD has made a number of high profile visits and prosecutions in the hospitality sector, including a visit to Queenstown, now they’re homing in on the construction industry.

The IRD say: “Tradies who do undeclared cash jobs can be hit with tax penalties, or criminal convictions that could lead to prison – costing them their business and their income. Doing jobs for cash or for your mates is okay – as long as you record them and declare the income when you’re filing your annual tax return.”

Why declare all income?

Cash jobs leave a trail that Inland Revenue can trace. Whether it’s through one party declaring the job and the other party not, or unaccounted supplies, or investigation of bank records, the IRD has many ways of tracking undeclared cash income.

But it’s not just the legal implications of getting caught if you’re caught not declaring income, it’s the possible impact on your reputation. If you own a construction business, your reputation is key. Doing cash jobs has the potential to undermine your reputation because it often comes with the word ‘cheap’ and ‘cheap’ is not usually associated with ‘good’.

Other disadvantages of not declaring income and paying a fair share include:

  • not being able to show enough income when applying for a bank loan
  • not having a record between consumer and business of work done
  • not being fair to the wider society.

How to get it right

To stay above the law, make sure that you:

  • record every job, no matter how big or small
  • charge GST if you’re registered for it. You must register for GST when your annual turnover is more than $60,000
  • register your employees
  • declare all your income when you file your tax return.

Fixing past records

If you’ve left some income off your previous returns, it’s best to get on top of it now. You can make a full voluntary disclosure and have your shortfall penalty reduced by up to 100% and avoid prosecution.

For help or more information, get in touch with us or visit

Posted in: ird, Latest News, Queenstown, tax, Wanaka

3 key NZ technology and innovation organisations

Date: November 4th, 2019

There is an abundance of support and help in New Zealand if you are looking to take your big idea to the world. Those that have been successful are always willing to stretch out a hand to pull the next generation of innovators up the ladder, check out these organisations offering assistance to businesses in the technology and innovation sector.

ideas doodling


NZTech leads the way to ensure New Zealand’s high levels of connectivity, cyber security, digital education and talent development and helps the government to understand the value of technology. They are helping guide New Zealand industry to gain advantage from the digital revolution.

Did you know the Government has launched a new initiative focused on growing more innovative industries and lifting the productivity of our key sectors in NZ? Yes we are good at some things, we have a strong economic foundation, but we need to get on the front foot in technology across key sectors, say hello to the Industry Transformation Plans.

In partnership with business, workers, Māori, the government will work to build an agreed vision to grow more innovative, productive, sustainable and inclusive economy. The initial priority sectors are agritech, digital technologies, food and beverage, and forestry and wood processing; then next up are the creative industries, tourism, aerospace, health technologies and renewable energy.

Six workshops are being run around the country in late November – early December 2019. This will be an opportunity to provide your perspectives and input into the development of this long-term plan for the digital technologies sector.

  • Auckland – 26 November
  • Wellington – 28 November
  • Dunedin – 2 December
  • Hamilton – 3 December
  • Christchurch – 4 December
  • Tauranga – 9 December

Chime in, go along, have your say, get involved with the technological future of your industry.

More information at

Callaghan Innovation

Callaghan Innovation activates innovation and helps businesses grow faster in New Zealand. They partner with ambitious businesses to provide innovation, research and development services. They bring together leading Kiwi scientists and engineers and they connect people to provide tailored technical solutions.

Callaghan Innovation are a 300 strong force of researchers, engineers, scientists, technologists, designers, entrepreneurs, advisors and administrators. They help business get access to experts, assist technology and product development, enhance innovation skills, build a business network and provide R & D funding.

If you need help in your business, just touch base. They have so many stories about the businesses that they have helped, we reckon you should check them out here.

NZ Innovation Council

Innovation Council NZ was established as a social enterprise with one core purpose: to connect Kiwi innovators and help their businesses grow. They are a nationwide community of innovators, entrepreneurs, business people and business growth service providers. The goal is to grow smarter Kiwi businesses.

The Council offers a whole bunch of training for finding the best staff, strategic planning, getting market and export ready. They can help you drive your business’ bottom line and prepare for investment or growth. Best of all, they tap in to a vast network of Kiwi entrepreneurs and help you to join that network.

Get amongst it

From business coaching, to R&D funding leads, to informative videos and inspiring stories, there’s a wealth of resources out there. Surround yourself with smart cookies and tap into the two-degree Kiwi network. We are a country of good ideas, we all know each other and like to help one another.

Posted in: innovation, Latest News, small business, technology

7 Ways to Grow Your Business is back due to popular demand!

Date: October 28th, 2019

Here’s your chance to receive a first-hand, no-cost insight into how quickly and how profoundly you can achieve business growth. You will:

  • Be challenged to change your behaviour and look at your business like you never have before
  • Learn how to set a roadmap and cruise control dashboard for your business
  • Discover how to measure and maximise business efficiency
  • Discover the 7 ways to grow your business
  • See worked examples of the Growth Equation in action

Date: Tuesday 29th October & Tuesday 26th November
Time: 11am – 12/12.30pm
Venue: Findlay Sidekick Office, Level 1, 31 Dunmore Street, Wanaka

Posted in: Workshops and Seminars

Eco chat, Wanaka

Date: October 24th, 2019

Wanaka with storm clouds

Now we know not all of our clients live in Wanaka, but we wanted to take a moment to celebrate the cool community we live in by talking about some of the innovative eco initiatives underway. This post is a virtual tip-of-the-hat to some smart thinkers, change-makers and generous time-givers bringing sustainability to the forefront in our community!

Let’s talk: One New Zealand

One New Zealand is a purposeful, not-for-profit organisation focused on educating, inspiring and enabling Kiwi communities to accelerate towards a Carbon Zero future and beyond. The organisation is run by a passionate group of Wanaka locals bringing their expertise together for good.

One Summit

Their mission is to:

  • Increase the speed at which communities can become Carbon Zero 21st Century communities.
  • Mainstream sustainability to foster thriving, diverse and interconnected environments, communities and businesses.
  • Advocate and raise awareness of climate justice, bio-sphere and environmental rights.
  • Increase community cohesion through establishment of partnership and collaboration networks.

At the heart of the task is the intention to create a cohesive, thriving, resilient, diverse community with opportunities for all. As our climate changes, this objective becomes increasingly challenged. One New Zealand is facilitating the conversation about how we can care for the physical environment in which we live and play, now, today.

The One Summit, the key educational event, plays host to national and local climate and sustainability leaders and change makers. High calibre speakers will share their experience, knowledge and passion in our various events throughout the Summit in both Wanaka and Queenstown. James Shaw, Green party Co Leader and the Minister for Climate Change will be speaking alongside an impressive line up of workshops, displays and presentations.

Read more and grab your tickets here.

Let’s shop: Honest Wholefood Company

Hello Honest Wholefood Company, welcome to Wanaka, we love your work!

Honest Wholefood Co logo

The Honest Wholefood Co makes it easy and affordable to shop plastic and package free!! Here’s how it works. Order online, drop off your containers (yes they can be the containers you store things in in your pantry, HWC fill them up and drop them back, job done!!

Holy, moly we love this idea.

The Honest Wholefood Co was set up by local sisters Nicola and Emma. They themselves like to live as sustainable and waste fee as possible and the business was born in an effort to help others do the same, because honestly, it’s not easy. The good news is the business makes it easier to take packaging out of the equation.

The products are sourced from importers and growers around NZ and locally where possible. The products are chosen for their sustainable and ethical practises and of course minimal packaging. The products are an awesome range of non-processed wholefoods and, where possible, organic. Because the girls buy in bulk they are able to be competitive with pricing.

Virtual high five to the Honest Wholefood Co, we love it!

Let’s volunteer

Feeling inspired by smart people doing good work? Have a think about ways you might like to give your precious time by checking out some options at Nature Space.

We love hearing about what people are quietly up to in our town, who do you know doing something special?

Posted in: Latest News, Wanaka, we love

4 ways to make your business cyber smart

Date: October 17th, 2019

In the past year, CERT NZ received more than 2,000 cyber security reports from New Zealand businesses and organisations. The reported financial loss was over $5.2 million. It’s Cyber Smart Week on 14-18 October 2019 so we’re taking the opportunity to fill you in on some tips on keeping your business smart online.

man in mask

But first, let’s alert you to a new type of scam that’s been doing the rounds. While the scam is fairly sophisticated, and looks legitimate, the way to avoid is simple (more about that below).

A recent scam

Last year, CERT NZ received a report from a small business that was receiving emails from an attacker pretending to be a recognised supplier. The emails contained fake invoices and were attempting to trick the business into paying the invoiced amount into an attacker’s account.

The emails seemed legitimate. For example, they included information about recent goods the business had requested and the right costs. However, there were small differences in the sender’s email address that fortunately staff noticed before any payments were made.

With the help of their IT provider, the business discovered that an employee’s email account had been hacked.

The account had a simple password, making it easy for the attacker to get into the account and forward any emails containing words like “account”, “invoice” and “pay” to an external address belonging to the attacker.

The information in these emails gave the attacker enough details about the business’s billing cycles and behaviours to create fake invoices that looked legitimate.

The solution? A stronger password.

More common threats

How to protect your business

Many businesses think a cyber attack won’t happen to them. To help keep you and your business safe, put the following four measures in place.

1. Manage your passwords

Have a strong and different password on each of your accounts, like email and software programmes. You might use a password manager, an app that securely stores account logins. That way you only have to remember one password.

More about keeping your data safe with a password manager 

2. Turn on two-factor authentication

Add an extra layer of security to your business email accounts by applying two-factor authentication (2FA). It’s often a password and something else, like a code that is sent to your mobile phone.

More about two-factor authentication as a security tool for business

3. Check your privacy settings on social media

Updating your social media privacy settings to only friends and family makes it hard for cyber criminals to find out information about you.

More about cyber security and social media

4. Update the software on your devices

Don’t ignore software updates when they are available. Try to action them as soon as possible. It’ll help protect against bugs and viruses.

If you have a cyber security issue

Report any issues to CERT NZ right away. You’ll be asked to describe the cyber security issue you’re experiencing. CERT NZ will then identify it and let you know what the next steps are to resolve it.

Along with providing you with help, CERT NZ uses the information you share to create advice and guidance for others who might be going through the same issue. Any information you provide is confidential, unless you give consent to share the details of your report.

Report an issue

Posted in: business strategy, cyber security, Latest News, Wanaka

Employers: test your employment law knowledge

Date: September 26th, 2019

As a New Zealand Employer, your responsibilities to your staff are significant and varied. Even as a seasoned employer, it can be challenging to keep up with and remember the duties owed to those you employ. To help you stay on top of everything, we pulled up the Employment Law regarding a few key topics for the coming busy season: piece rates, casual employment, drugs and alcohol, hours of work, and public holidays.

stressed employer

So whether you need a quick refresher or you think you have it dialled, scroll through the following sections to test your employment law knowledge as the summer staff start moving into town.

Picking up on piece rates

While salary and wages are the two most common types of pay for employees, and commission is still well-known, there is a fourth pay type: piece rates. 

A piece rate is a type of commission where an employee is paid for the number of pieces they worked on. A classic example in the South Island of New Zealand is fruit picking, where an employee may be paid by the number of punnets of fruit picked. 

A key and often overlooked aspect of this pay type is that employees paid per piece must still receive at least the relevant minimum wage for each hour worked.

More about types of pay

Don’t be casual about casual employment

While hiring employees as “casual” workers instead of permanent part/full-time might seem like an easier option, your responsibilities can make it more challenging in some ways. “Casual employee” isn’t actually a term defined in employment legislation, however the situation exists when an employee has no guaranteed hours of work, no regular pattern of work, and no ongoing expectation of employment.

The challenge with casual employment is when the nature of employment subtly morphs into something much less casual, and therefore the employee now legally deserves the title of permanent part-time. This situation may occur if a casual employee begins to fill in for the same regular shifts for an extended period of time. It’s important to recognise this shift in the employ of that staff member and understand their associated, new legal rights. 

More about types of employee

Three things to know about drugs, alcohol and work

1. Drug testing could infringe an employee’s right to privacy

If the rights of an employee are infringed by drug testing, it may make the process less reasonable. Sample collection procedures, the method of analysis, and the handling of test results can overstep the employee’s right to privacy under the Privacy Act 1993.

2. You should seek legal advice if thinking about drug testing employees 

As drug testing could potentially infringe employees’ rights, seeking legal advice is the smart option prior to arranging testing. A legal team can assist you in working to protect employee privacy while ensuring safety of the work environment.

3. Specific testing may be more reasonable than random testing

Due to the nature of random drug testing for employees and the suspicion-less basis of this test, it could be considered unreasonable. Testing a specific employee for a specific reason can therefore be more reasonable.

More about drugs, alcohol and work

Working on work hours

There is no magic formula as to what is ‘work’. Work may include any activity where there are constraints on the freedom of an employee, responsibilities placed on an employee, and/or there is a benefit to the employer. 

The magic definition of work, if there were one, would be any activity that is “an integral part of the principle activity”. This means that technically, employee should be paid for their time in all of the following:

  • after hours team meetings
  • opening and closing businesses
  • cleaning and tidying up
  • on-the-job training
  • product familiarisation.

More about hours of work

Public Holidays

Did you know that all employees – casual, full-time, fixed-term or part-time – are entitled to public holiday benefits? Or that there is no minimum amount of time an employee has to be employed in order to be eligible for public holiday benefits?

An employee can claim a maximum of 11 public holidays a year, four over Christmas and New Year, and may not claim a Mondayised, or Tuesdayised, public holiday twice (actual date and Mondayised date).

More about public holidays

Let us help

While employment law may be a challenge to get a grip on, at Findlay Sidekick, we are skilled at helping businesses make things easier. Figuring out your obligations and finding ways to manage your payroll efficiently are two things we’d love to lend a hand with. Contact us here.

More about employment law

Employers take note: payday filing now compulsory

3 law changes that may affect your business in 2019

Minimum wage to increase 75c per hour

New tax rules for contractors

Posted in: employment, Latest News, staff

Client story: Together Retreat

Date: September 21st, 2019

Together is a perfect way to describe what the transformational health retreat in Northern Australia, Together Retreat, is all about. It brings together individuals with communities; health care professionals with those in need of wellness; modern science and ancient wisdom; old friends and new visions.

Participants at Together Retreat

*See below for captions

It also brought Wanaka osteopath and Findlay Sidekick client, Jin Ong of MetaMed, together again with her former health practitioner and mentor, Helen Padarin.

What is Together Retreat?

Founded by natropath and nutritionist Helen Padarin and Dr. Kama Trudgen, in association with Why Warriors Org, Together Retreat is an intensive two week retreat that blends traditional Yolngu culture (the native culture of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory) with integrative wellness and life shifting experiences. Activities at the retreat include nutrition education, daily movement, massage, osteopathic and cultural education.

Together Retreat Helen and Sandra

Helen & Sandra

What is most significant and unique about this retreat is that for every person participating in the retreat, a Yolngu person in need is sponsored a place at the retreat.

The once self-sufficient and optimally healthy Yolngu people of East Arnhem land, now find themselves in the midst of a devastating health crisis with chronic disease responsible for up 80% of the mortality gap between themselves and non-indigenous Australians.

Together Retreat and the organisations around it, aim to close this gap.

Helen and Kama believe that the best way to learn and create change is through experience, rather than just knowledge. For this reason they are very passionate about creating immersive programmes and experiences that provide opportunities for empowering insight and transformation.

How Jin got involved

Helen & Jin

Jin Ong and Helen Padarin go back a long time. Long before Jin was a business owner in Wanaka, she worked in Wellington as a newly qualified osteopath. Seeing Helen for nutrition and naturopathy treatment, Jin was inspired to study herbal medicine, adding to her already impressive list of health and wellness qualifications (osteopathy, acupuncture, psychosomatic therapy).

Fast forwarding to 2016, Jin established an osteopathy practice in Wanaka, this practice had clear goals from the start. Jin has a strong sense of purpose and in business she puts passion ahead of monetary goals. She finds satisfaction in promoting community health education and professional development.

So early in 2019, when Helen Padarin presented with her with the opportunity to work as a volunteer osteopath at Together Retreat in her home country, to help the Yolngu people and further her passion for community wellness, Jin was right onboard.

Even as an Australian, Jin knew very little about the indigenous culture and the experience did take her outside of her comfort zone. However, joining together with the impressive team of professionals – another osteopath, two naturopaths, two massage therapists, and several Yolngu leaders from Elcho Island in Arnhem Land, Dianne Biritjalawu and the trio of Kama, Timothy and Richard Trudgeon (former long-term residents and community figures in Arnhem Land) – Jin knew she would both learn from, and be inspired by the team and the experience.

At the retreat

Together Retreat Jin and Guyupul

Jin & Guyupul

The two week retreat consisted of education and experiences around nutrition, movement, culture and creativity including:

  • Education on food, diet and gut health
  • A three day detox
  • Cooking classes on traditional food such as damper made out of native nuts
  • Dancing, walking and fitness classes
  • Artistic workshops including traditional weaving
  • Traditional fishing and hunting trips – mangrove worms, giant snails, crabs, turtle eggs and possums.
  • Osteo, massage, naturopathy consults


Jin describes the experiences of both the Yolngu and non-indigenous participants as transformational. Here’s a sample of the outcomes:

  • 42kgs were lost across the participants during the retreat
  • Four diabetics on insulin managed to stabilise their condition through dietary changes and came off their insulin or blood sugar medication
  • Some managed to quit smoking

The positive changes were not limited to the participants. Jin explains that the retreat has helped reinforce her perspective on life. It has reminded her to slow down, to reduce ‘busyness’ in her life and it has strengthened her belief that intentions are very important.

Jin has also benefited from the experience of removing herself from her relatively new business (now a Wanaka and Queenstown practice with a team of seven osteopaths and four admin staff). It gave her the opportunity to reflect on her achievements, and also to test how the clinic runs without her. It turns out, that it runs very well, a testimony to her meticulous planning and effective management!

Findlay Sidekick love hearing inspiring stories from our clients. We particularly like working together with clients like Jin from Meta Med, supporting them in their goals, whether they are personal, lifestyle-oriented, or financial.

*Photo collage – clockwise from top left:

1. Participants at Together Retreat
2. Jin morning testing with Geraldine
3. Guyupul, Wayne and Kama
4. Jin and Garngulkpuy on her first walk and first time in years wearing closed shoes. The crew took her to a podiatrist in town to finally address her inch long toenails! She only managed to walk down the driveway but was a huge achievement!
5. Stephanie with turtle eggs.

Posted in: Latest News, Queenstown, small business, Wanaka

Home-based businesses: what you can and can’t claim

Date: September 4th, 2019

Running a business from home? Did you know that your business can foot part of your heating and electrical bills? Or that it can cover a portion of your rent or mortgage interest payment? Believe it or not, you can even chalk up a percentage of the cost of toilet paper and handsoap as a business expense! But before you go running to the shop to throw more toilet tissue on the company card, let’s break down how claiming business expenses works.

person working at desk with dog

Household and vehicle expenses

If you use an area of your home for your business (eg. the study or garage), whether you operate as a sole trader, partnership or company, you may claim a portion of your home expenses as business expenses. These expenses may include:

  • rates
  • power
  • house and contents insurance
  • mortgage interest if you own the home
  • rent if you are renting the home

You must keep invoices for these expenses.

The portion of an eligible expense that you can claim is directly proportional to the percentage of your home that is used for business purposes.

If you own a vehicle and us the vehicle solely for business purposes, you may claim 100% of the running costs. If you use a vehicle for both personal and business use, you may claim a portion of the running costs proportional to your business use of the vehicle. Find out more about calculating what you can claim for business vehicle expenses here.

While you might run a trades business, beauty salon, or online retail shop from home, you should be able to work out what you can claim fairly simply. To make it easy, we’re going to consider a couple of (fictional) scenarios that may be similar to your own home-based business:

Scenario 1 –  How to claim monthly household expenses

Tom (fictional character) owns and runs Aspiring Lighting (not a real company), an electrical trades business, from his own home in Northlake, Wanaka. Tom’s home has power, gas, a mortgage, a security system and alarm, a landline, wifi Internet and a TV.

Percentage of home used for business:

Tom runs his company from a home office. His house in Northlake is 100 square metres, and the office is 10 square metres, or 10% of the home.

What can Tom claim?

Tom can claim 10% of his monthly expenses for the home as a business expense. He can claim:

  • 10% of the power bill
  • 10% of the heating bill
  • 10% of his mortgage interest and rates
  • 10% of house and contents insurance
  • 10% of the security alarm bill
  • 10% of the landline bill
  • 10% of the expense of lightbulbs, toilet paper and handsoap.

Tom tracks his household’s internet usage and knows that half of the wifi usage is for his business use. He can claim:

  • 50% of the Internet bill

Tom uses his TV to watch the rugby, news and weather. He does not use it for his business. Tom cannot claim a portion of the TV bill as a business expense.

  • 0% of the TV bill

Scenario 2 – How to claim a new home office and entertainment expenses

Rachel (fictional character) has recently moved to Queenstown and is renting a small home in Jack’s Point. She sets up a home office with new office furniture and begins working as a freelance architect in the area. She is a sole trader and owns and runs Remarkable Architecture (not a real business). She meets clients often. They either get takeaway coffee and bring it back to her home office, or she meets them in town for dinner.

Percentage of home used for business:

Rachel runs her business from her new home office. Her house in Jack’s Point is 80 square metres, and the office is 20 square metres, or 25% of the home.

What can Rachel claim?

Rachel can claim similar expenses to Tom (25% of power, heating, etc). She does not have a mortgage, but she can claim her rent instead. In addition to claiming monthly household expenses like Tom, Rachel also claims:

  • 25% of her rent
  • 100% of the cost of furniture for her new business office under $500 per item (items >$500 must be depreciated instead)
  • 0% of the cost of new furniture for her bedroom (non business-related home expense)
  • 100% of the cost of takeaway coffee for her and a client if they have it at her home office
  • 50% of the cost of dinner for her and a client if they have it away from her home office

Scenario 3 – How to claim expenses for your personal vehicle

Check out this link for more information on how to claim vehicle expenses for your business. Here are a couple of scenarios to help you understand your own personal situation:

Tom from Aspiring Lighting has two vehicles, a small personal car for grocery runs and personal travel and a ute for Aspiring Lighting. Tom only uses the ute for company-related travel. Tom can claim 100% of the running expenses for his work truck.

Rachel from Remarkable Architecture only has one car. She chooses to keep a logbook to understand what percentage of her use of the car is business related. She then uses kilometre rates from IRD to calculate how much she can claim.

Here are a few examples of tricky situations in Rachel’s logbook:

Rachel does some contract work for a large architecture firm in town for 3 months. She drives to and from work at the same place every day. The daily trip to work costs her $10 petrol per day. Rachel cannot mark this trip as business related.

Rachel drives to meet a client for dinner in town. Rachel can mark this as a business-related trip.

Get more help

Now that you have a better idea of what you can and can’t claim for your home-based business, here are a few more resources to help you out:

Claiming business expenses video from IRD

Information from IRD on claiming vehicle expenses

To see the above information depicted visually, check out this awesome infographic from

Seek professional help. At Findlay Sidekick we know the ins-and-outs of everything you can possibly claim to help keep your bill down at tax time, and we love working with local small businesses. Reach out to us here.

Posted in: accounting, home based business, Latest News, small business, Wanaka