Bank and KiwiSaver providers’ lockdown document positions

Pile of mail waiting to be sorted

A compilation of New Zealand banks and KiwiSaver providers’ positions on accepting electronically signed documents and/or video conference witnessed statutory declarations during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Note: Before relying on this information you should check directly with the relevant organisation.

Banks – loan documentation

ASB and BNZ were approached for their position but had not provided a response as at the last time this post was updated.

ANZ

ANZ’s final guidance for solicitors document can be found here: ANZ – We’re here to help – managing ANZ lending and security transactions during Covid-19 Alert Level 3 (pdf) (updated email on 30 April 2020).

The Co-operative Bank

The Co-operative Bank will accept documents completed, signed, and witnessed virtually, along with the usual solicitor certificate undertakings. However, if signing is completed electronically they require proper signed copies of the loan contract within 14 days following a return to COVID-19 level 2 (email on 21 April 2020, updated on 30 April 2020).

Kiwibank

Kiwibank say: “We’re taking a case-by-case approach to this, and we recommend that customers or their solicitors contact us directly to work through this.

During lockdown we may accept digital signatures on the basis that they comply with the requirements set out:

  1. on the LINZ website; and
  2. in Part 4, Subpart 3 of the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017.

We may also accept video conference witnessing, where we’ll work directly with you or your solicitor on what’s required.”

(updated email on 23 April 2020)

SBS

SBS will accept electronic signatures during the lockdown as long as the solicitor has advised that they are aware these are electronic, can verify them, and advises that the signatures are electronic due to the lockdown (email on 14 April 2020).

TSB

TSB will accept documents that are completed, signed and witnessed virtually along with the usual undertakings contained in the solicitor’s certificate.

If signing is completed electronically TSB needs to receive proper signed copies of the loan contract within 14 days following a return to COVID-19 level 2 response (email on 14 April 2020).

Westpac

Westpac are accepting electronic signatures for existing customers topping up loans, but are not accepting electronic signatures for new lending at this stage (email on 15 April 2020).

KiwiSaver providers – First home withdrawals

AMP

AMP will accept digital signatures or no signature if a customer is unable to do a digital one. They will call and email to complete identification checks. Identification can be verified by a photo being sent through of the customer holding their identification. They will accept non-certified supporting documents. Solicitors can email documents to [email protected]. A representative from AMP will be in contact with customers regarding the statutory declaration once their application has been submitted (email on 15 April 2020).

ANZ KiwiSaver

While restrictions remain in place ANZ will accept electronic documents (such as an online bill) or scanned/photographed images of paper documents as long as: the document is able to be read clearly, and all images within the document are sharp and in focus. However they say that documents have to be verified by a solicitor or a JP. Some ANZ branches are open on Wednesdays from 9am to noon and branch staff can verify documents as well (email on 14 April 2020).

See also the guidance on their website (email on 23 April 2020).

Aon

Aon will accept statutory declarations completed remotely via video conference in line with the NZLS guidelines (email on 15 April 2020).

ASB KiwiSaver

ASB will accept statutory declarations completed remotely via video conference in line with the NZLS guidelines. They will accept a first home withdrawal application and certified copies of identification by email. They are aware that this will pose challenges for some members and ASB along with other KiwiSaver providers are raising their concerns with the government (email on 15 April 2020).

BNZ KiwiSaver

BNZ will accept email applications sent from solicitors including emailed copies of certified IDs and statutory declarations. BNZ will accept a remotely witnessed statutory declaration in line with the NZLS memo (email on 14 April 2020).

Booster

Booster will accept statutory declarations completed via video conference. They can attempt to verify customer ID remotely through an online verification service (email on 14 April 2020).

Craigs Investment Partners

Craigs Investment Partners will accept scanned and emailed copies of withdrawal forms (with the originals posted at COVID-19 level 2 or lower). They will also accept statutory declarations completed remotely via video conference in line with the NZLS guidelines (email on 20 April 2020).

Fisher Funds

Fisher Funds say: “Due to the current COVID-19 lockdown period there may be some delay in Fisher Funds receiving the withdrawal forms via mail. If your client’s statutory declaration has been correctly witnessed, we can potentially grant a temporary exemption to this as the forms have been received via email. This would be granted on the understanding the application is fully completed and originals are sent once the lockdown has been lifted” (email on 14 April 2020).

Kiwi Wealth

Kiwi Wealth will accept statutory declarations completed remotely via video conference. They have an electronic verification process that can be used if the certified ID/proof of address documents received are not satisfactory. They will accept documents emailed to Kiw[email protected] from a solicitor or the member’s registered email address (email on 15 April 2020).

Lifestages

Lifestages will accept electronic documentation from solicitors. Will accept identity verification and statutory declarations done over video conference by solicitors (email on 14 April 2020).

MAS

MAS will accept a statutory declaration that a solicitor has taken by video conference along with a statement per the guidelines. ID and address verification of many customers can be completed remotely with photographs of the identification if the customer agrees to MAS using a third-party service to do so (email on 14 April 2020).

Mercer

Mercer will accept first home withdrawal documents electronically. Current New Zealand driver licences and passports may be able to be used to verify identity electronically. They will accept statutory declarations completed remotely via video conference in line with the NZLS guidelines (email on 15 April 2020).

Simplicity

Simplicity are accepting first home withdrawal applications with documents witnessed via video conferencing technology in accordance with the NZLS guidelines (email on 14 April 2020).

SuperLife

SuperLife continues to accept scanned and emailed versions of the first home withdrawal documents. They are able to perform identity and address verification of customers remotely. They will accept statutory declarations completed remotely via video conference in line with the NZLS guidelines (email on 14 April 2020).

Westpac KiwiSaver

Westpac will accept complete documentation via email. Solicitors should scan and email documents to [email protected] (email on 14 April 2020).

Photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon

Lockdown survival tips for New Zealand lawyers

Survival tips for New Zealand lawyers working through the COVID-19 lockdown

Fence in a field by Omar Lopez - omarlopez1
Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

This post is not legal advice, but a collection of points that lawyers may find useful to consider while working during the COVID-19 lockdown. If you require legal advice you should instruct a lawyer.

Other posts in this series:

Witnessing affidavits/declarations remotely

  • On 16 April 2020 the Epidemic Preparedness (Oaths and Declarations Act 1957) Immediate Modification Order 2020 came into force which modifies the Oaths and Declarations Act. This came into force after the NZ Law Society opinion mentioned below was written.
  • If the client and independent lawyer both have a printer and scanner, see Paul Collins’ opinion on remote witnessing for the NZ Law Society here, and draft certificate here (docx), if not, see the below section Signing documents/unsworn affidavits.
  • If a deponent does not have access to a physical bible, can they affirm their affidavit instead of swearing, or bring up an online bible/bible app on their phone?

Signing documents electronically

Wills/Enduring Powers of Attorney

See also information from the Property Law Section from 16 April 2020 with guidance on drafting wills and enduring powers of attorney during the lockdown and executing them via AVL (pdf) however note this was drafted prior to the Wills Act immediate modification order which includes a modified attestation section.

  • [No longer relevant, see the immediate modification order] Consider whether the suggested clause iv. may place doubt over the document if the client does not have it witnessed in the traditional way when physically able to.
  • See the linked attachments including Paul Collins’ opinion, Theresa Donnelly of Perpetual Guardian’s document on validation applications, and checklists for drafting EPAs/wills during this time.

Family law

Resources for children/parents

Links collated by the Family Law Section (pdf):

Shared care

Witnessing relationship property agreements by video conference

See Ingrid Squire’s 2014 article in the New Zealand Law Society Family Law Section’s Family Advocate, To Skype or not to Skype: that is the question (pdf) on things to consider when witnessing a relationship property agreement by video conference.

Example of an audio-visual clause for inclusion in a relationship property agreement (republished with permission from Lady Deborah Chambers QC):

“Both [party one] and [party two] acknowledge and agree that both parties will execute this agreement before their lawyer using a Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp connection and on that basis their lawyers will witness their signatures and give an explanation as to the effects and implications of this agreement.

The parties agree to this document being executed using that technology and agree that they will not attempt to set aside the agreement on the basis that execution and witness of signature occurred using internet connection. They also agree that it will be necessary for each party to send a scanned copy of their signed agreement to their lawyers in New Zealand for them to then complete the document. The fact that it is a scanned copy will also not invalidate the document.

The parties may sign separate copies of this agreement but once all parties have signed separate copies they will form a final binding agreement.”

Care and Protection

See Oranga Tamariki’s internal guidance on Family Group Conferences (PDF) and access (PDF).

Conveyancing

Deferring settlement

See the Property Law Section of the New Zealand Law Society Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa‘s suggested wording to defer settlement:

“The parties agree that settlement is hereby deferred to the 10th working day after the Government reduces the COVID-19 Level to Level 2 or below, or to such other date as may be mutually agreed. For the sake of clarity neither party shall have any claim against the other in relation to this deferral.”

But consider:

  • If the property, both lawyers, and the seller and purchaser are not in the same area, what if there are regional differences in the COVID-19 level?
  • Workload if all settlements are deferred to the 10th working day.

Accessing Landonline

  • Can you remote onto the computer your digital certificate is stored on?
  • Can you transfer your certificate to another computer? See the information on the LINZ website here or contact LINZ.
  • Is there another user (e.g. a colleague, your attorney) that would be able to access your workspace?

Authority & Instruction forms (A&Is)

KiwiSaver

If your clients’ are relying on KiwiSaver funds for a future settlement, are their funds at risk from market fluctuation, or are they in a cash fund?

Courts

Priority proceedings

  • See the list on the Ministry of Justice website.
  • If needing to travel for priority proceedings, print or save/screenshot to your phone the email from the Law Society sent to all lawyers on 8 April 2020, subject ‘Confirmation of being a practising lawyer’.

Filing documents electronically

Service

  • Court bailiffs may not be serving documents at all (check with the Court), so unless service will be undertaken by Police, address service in application/interlocutory application.
  • One option if electronic (email/social media) service is not available (from Wellington Family Law Section):
    • Ask the Court to direct the respondent to attend the registry to collect the documents as arranged by the registry. The case officer is to contact the respondent by telephone to advise the documents are ready to be collected. The notice period begins from the time the registry advise the respondent and they are to be advised that if they do not make arrangements with the registry to collect or otherwise obtain a copy of the documents, they will be deemed to have had notice of the proceedings and the court will continue to progress the application as directed.

Signing documents/unsworn affidavits

  • If the deponent has a printer, can they print and sign the document and scan it to you or take a photo of it (or at least the jurat page) using a scanning app like Microsoft Office Lens?
  • If the client does not have access to video chat/a printer/a scanner can they extend their bubble to include someone who does?
  • Can they sign the document electronically? See options in this post.
  • Can you amend the lawyer’s certificate to explain why the document is unsigned/signed in a different way, or file a memorandum of counsel?
    • See the Principal Family Court Judge Jackie Moran’s Guidelines for Family Law Practitioners during period of epidemic notice (pdf)
      • An adaption of the without notice certificate statement in those guidelines: “The affidavit filed in support of this application was prepared in accordance with the deponent’s specific instructions. [It was read/An electronic version was provided] to them. The deponent confirmed that they fully understood the affidavit and that the contents of it were true and correct to the best of their knowledge and belief.”
      • Note the difficulties of providing an undertaking as worded in the guidelines that you will file an affidavit when 1) that is not solely under your control and 2) circumstances may have changed which makes filing an affidavit containing the same information misleading.

Information in without notice Family Court affidavits

From the Principal Family Court Judge Jackie Moran, reported in Family Law Section Bulletin 420 – 25 March 2020 (pdf):

“Judges on the e-duty platform have encountered a lack of specificity in some affidavits filed in support of without notice applications seeking orders for day-to-day care and/or the enforcement of day-to-day care orders due to [COVID-19].

It is imperative that affidavits contain all relevant information including, but not exclusive to, the following:
• the terms of the parenting order;
• the occupants of the property/properties;
• whether any occupants are engaged in an essential service;
• steps taken to ensure compliance with the lock down;
• comprehensive details of any health issues;
• the mode of travel between the respective homes and who will undertake that travel; and
• the distance between the homes.”

Appearing via AVL

Tips from the NZLS heads of bench webinar:

  • Robes are not necessary. Dress in formal business attire.
  • You do not need to stand up when speaking.
  • Raise your hand toward the screen to signal an interruption (instead of standing up in a courtroom to signal you would like to speak) but these should be rare.
  • Set up your workspace appropriately and consider your background.
  • Read the information that the Court has provided you.
  • Follow the other usual rules that apply during hearings.

Also, consider if participating remotely will be particularly difficult for your client for example: for linguistic reasons, developmental reasons or that there is no private space away from children.

See the protocols on the Courts of New Zealand website.

Criminal

Emailing documents to prisons

See this letter from the CEO of Department of Corrections (pdf) regarding emailing documents for prison staff to print.

List of prison email addresses (pdf) last updated 8 April 2020.

  • Consider a cover letter and/or stamp over the documents regarding legal privilege.

Note that family and friends can also email prisoners, see here, however prisoners cannot reply by email. Prisoners will be given a $5 phone card every week until visits recommence, see here.

Contacting clients in prison

See the information from the Department of Corrections to request phone or AVL meetings with clients (PDF, from around 15 April 2020) and the update from 20 April 2020 (PDF).

Bail

See the 7 April 2020 letter from Crown Law to Crown solicitors and public prosecutors (pdf); the 15 April 2020 letter from Crown Law for distribution to lawyers (pdf); and the 15 April 2020 letter from Crown Law to Crown solicitors and public prosecutors (pdf) regarding the approach to bail.

See the 16 April 2020 letter from barrister Douglas A. Ewen in reply (pdf).

Legal aid

  • Application forms do not need to be signed, see update here (emailed out on 25 March 2020 and updated online 7 April 2020).

Family Legal Advice Service (FLAS)

  • Family Legal Advice Service (FLAS) funding forms do not need to be signed by the client, see update here (9 April 2020).

Leases

Health Act orders

Other resources

Updated 19 April 2020: Added information on contacting clients in prison; updated wills section and added information on enduring powers of attorney; added information on appearing by AVL.

Updated 20 April 2020: Explained where the Family Advocate article is from; added information about the Wills Act and Oaths and Declarations Act immediate modification orders; added information about bail.

Updated 30 April 2020: Updated conveyancing, A&I, affidavits/declarations, wills/EPAs, shared care, leases, appearing via AVL, contacting clients in prison, Health Act orders, signing documents, and other resources sections. Added care and protection section.

Remote Working Resources For NZ Lawyers and Small Businesses

Laptop, glasses, book, and pen.
Photo by Trent Erwin on Unsplash

New Zealand is currently in a four-week+ lockdown due to COVID-19 with the majority of the country’s workers working remotely.

Here are some resources and tools lawyers and small businesses might find useful after being pushed into working remotely.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, but these are tools I would recommend anyway.

If you’re an employee you should check with your IT policy/manager before using new tools for work.

Other posts in this series:

Video conferencing

Zoom

Zoom logo

What: “Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems.”

Why: You can use it on almost any device (Mac, PC, iPhone, Android, phoning in by telephone), it’s easy to install, your guests don’t need to sign up for an account, you can share your computer screen, and you can easily schedule and send invitations for meetings.

Zoom has a page of resources for beginners and is running daily training as it is so popular because of the current situation.

Website: https://zoom.us/pricing

Price: One-on-one meetings of unlimited length are free. You’ll need a paid account for group meetings longer than 40 minutes at USD $14.99/month (or USD$149.90/year).

Editing PDFs/electronic signing documents/requesting signatures

Choose electronic signing services carefully regarding the intended use of the document. See the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017. Some documents won’t be able to be signed electronically.

Nitro

Nitro logo

What: “Do more with PDFs

With a rich feature set, intuitive interface, and advanced security, Nitro Pro enables you to quickly and easily create, convert, edit, sign, review, and protect PDF documents—without the hassle.”

Why: No need to print and scan documents to turn them into PDFs, edit out pages or do bates numbering for bundles. You can email documents for signing electronically. A one off cost instead of AUD$234.48/year for Adobe Standard DC.

Website: https://www.gonitro.com/

Price: 14 day free trial then USD$159/person. Send unlimited signing requests.

Secured Signing

Secured Signing logo

What: “Invite other people to sign Docx, Doc, ODT, ODS, Xls, Xlsx, RTF & PDF documents

For many businesses signing contracts or obtaining customer signatures in order to close a deal often proves challenging. The traditional paper process is often time consuming and costly and may take a few days or several weeks to complete. With Secured Signing technology you will be able to close deals and sign contracts within minutes.

Simply create your document, add it to Secured Signing Service and invite your business associate, customers, suppliers, partners or others to sign.”

Why: A New Zealand company. This is the platform that ADLS WebForms signing service is based on. A more robust process than Nitro or HelloSign’s signature request functions. Free for a few documents a month. ID verification (Real Me/NZ passport/NZ driver licence) is extra.

Website: https://securedsigning.com

Price: 3 documents/month are free, then NZD $9.95 + GST month for 10 documents.

ADLS WebForms (based on Secured Signing)

ADLS WebForms logo

What: “WebForms™ is a web-based legal document creation service, creating efficiency for busy professionals seeking to draw on proven legal forms. WebForms protects the integrity of each document, while allowing users to tailor forms to meet the needs of individuals or specific transactions.

Digital Signing is included with WebForms subscriptions. A secure tool, enabling you to provide legal services to your clients remotely.”

Why: If you want to request signatures electronically, don’t mind paying per document, and want RealMe/driver licence verification of signatories.

Website: https://webforms.adls.org.nz/

Price: NZD $3+/document (pdf)

HelloSign

HelloSign logo

What: “HelloSign allows you to electronically request and add legally valid signatures to any document, from new hire agreements to loans, to NDAs. HelloSign is available in an intuitive web interface, a developer-friendly API, or as a Salesforce add-on.”

Why: Email documents for signing, powered by Dropbox. Not necessary if you opt for Nitro above which also includes electronic signing, but useful if you use a different PDF editor.

Website: https://www.hellosign.com/features

Price: 30 day free trial then USD$15/month (or USD$156/year)

Scanning documents without a scanner

Microsoft Office Lens

Microsoft Office Lens app icon

What: “Office Lens trims, enhances and makes pictures of whiteboards and documents readable. Office Lens can convert images to editable Word and PowerPoint files too.”

Why: Made by Microsoft so you can trust it, you can scan documents without a scanner or ask your clients to use it to return documents to you electronically instead of sending you photos.

Website: iPhone download | Android download (or search the App/Play Store)

Price: Free

Email/storage

G Suite by Google

G Suite logo

What: “Simplify how you work. Use G Suite for business email, video conferencing, cloud storage, and file sharing. Get all the tools your team needs to collaborate and get more done.”

Why: Powered by Google, global and resilient. Email, calendar, and file storage that doesn’t rely on your physical server. Google Hangouts is a Zoom alternative.

Website: https://gsuite.google.com/pricing.html

Price: 14 day free trial then USD$6/person/month (basic) or USD$12/person/month (business). Non-profits can use G Suite for free.

Password management

LastPass

LastPass logo

What: “The best way to manage passwords. Just remember your master password and LastPass remembers the rest. See for yourself how easy password management can be.”

Why: LastPass as in the last password you’ll have to remember. It sounds counterintuitive, but you and your team storing all your work passwords in an (encrypted) database online means you can use secure, long, and unique passwords for each service. Accounts are compromised in data breaches all the time (look up your email here – if you’re using the same password everywhere a domino analogy would apply). Web browser plugins and phone apps available.

Passwords can be securely shared using the team plan.

Website: https://lastpass.com

Price: Personal is free, teams is USD$4/person/month for 5-50 users.

Protect your devices

Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes logo

What: “Crushes cyberthreats. Restores confidence. Traditional antivirus simply doesn’t cut it anymore. Malwarebytes crushes the latest threats before others even recognize they exist.”

Why: Protect your devices from malware. Ransomware will ruin your day and possibly your business especially if you don’t have up-to-date backups. Works with Windows Defender*. If you. have an IT provider they are probably taking care of this for you on work devices – ask.

Website: https://www.malwarebytes.com/pricing/

Price: Free version or Premium from USD$49.99/device/year after 14 day trial.

Caution on relying on the free version: “The free version of Malwarebytes for Windows is great for getting rid of existing infections, but some infections, like ransomware, only need a moment to wreak havoc on your PC. To stop infections before they happen, stay one step ahead with the Real-Time Protection of Malwarebytes Premium.”

*To get Malwarebytes Premium and Windows Defender working together, in Malwarebytes go to Settings -> Security -> untick ‘Always register Malwarebytes in the Windows Security Center’.

Set a passcode, encrypt your devices and all those other things CERT NZ recommends

CERT NZ logo

What: CERT NZ is “here to improve cyber security in New Zealand. We work alongside other government agencies and organisations — both locally and internationally — to help New Zealand better understand and stay resilient to cyber security threats.”.

See their information on COVID-19 and working from home quick reference guide (pdf).

Back up your data

Backblaze

Backblaze logo

What: “Backblaze helps you protect business data. Easily deployed across laptops and desktops. Centrally managed. Securing all your user data for just $60/year per computer for unlimited backup.”

Why: Automatically backup your data to the cloud and protect yourself from natural disasters, theft, ransomware etc. Not necessary if your files are on a server and your IT people take care of offsite backups.

Website: https://www.backblaze.com/business-backup.html

Price: 15 day free trial then USD$60/computer/year.

Secure communication

Signal

Signal app logo

What: “Millions of people use Signal every day for free and instantaneous communication anywhere in the world. Send and receive high-fidelity messages, participate in HD voice/video calls, and explore a growing set of new features that help you stay connected. Signal’s advanced privacy-preserving technology is always enabled, so you can focus on sharing the moments that matter with the people who matter to you.”

Why: Mobile networks are under strain with phone calls and texts and using an app like Signal over Wi-Fi or mobile data avoids this. Send texts/photos, call, and video chat. Encrypted (your telco almost certainly keeps a record of your text messages) and recommended by Edward Snowden. Clients can easily download it for free. Not WhatsApp (owned by Facebook).

Website: https://signal.org/ | iPhone download | Android download (or search Signal in the App/Play Store)

Price: Free

Phone plan

2degrees $19 monthly plan

2degrees mobile logo

What: 1.25 GB carryover data (hotspotting – using your phone’s data on your laptop – included), 200 carryover minutes, unlimited texts to New Zealand and Australia. Unlimited calling to 2degrees mobiles.

Why: Free calling to your team (if they’re also on 2degrees), no contracts, one hour of free data a day, and unused minutes/data rollover to the next month.

Website: https://www.2degreesmobile.co.nz/mobile/prepay/

Price: $19/month/phone. If you need more minutes the $40/month plan has unlimited minutes and 4GB carryover data.

Expense tracking

Expensify

Expensify logo

What: “Expensify is the world’s leading application for expense management, receipt scanning, and business travel. Snap a photo of your receipt using SmartScan and Expensify takes care of the rest.”

Why: Create expense reports by taking photos of receipts. The Expensify robots automatically grab the merchant, cost etc. from the photo. Apps for iPhone and Android and you can forward email receipts.

Website: https://expensify.com

Price: Free for 5 “smart scans” a month or a paid plan is NZD$8/person/month after a six week free trial.

Health and safety

ACC Habit at Work

ACC logo

What: “Use this tool to prevent and manage discomfort, pain and injury in the office environment”

Why: Home-based workers are still your workers. With a slightly old-school design this tool from ACC covers how to set up workstations properly and prevent injury.

Website: http://www.habitatwork.co.nz/index.html

Price: Free

Headspace

Headspace logo

What: “Live a healthier, happier, more well-rested life in just a few minutes a day with the Headspace app.”

“There are a lot of unknowns in the world right now. But one thing is certain — Headspace is here for you. To help support you through this time of crisis, we’re offering some meditations you can listen to anytime.

These are part of a larger collection in the Headspace app — free for everyone — called Weathering the storm. It includes meditations, sleep, and movement exercises to help you out, however you’re feeling. It’s our small way of helping you find some space and kindness for yourself and those around you.”

Why: Headspace brings mindfulness meditation, including specific COVID-19 resources, to your pocket in these uncertain times.

Website: https://www.headspace.com/

Price: There is a free version, or Headspace Plus is USD$12.99/month after a one week free trial.

NZLS Legal Community Counselling Service

Vitae logo

What: “Anyone who works in a legal workplace can contact Vitae if they want to access the Legal Community Counselling Service.

The Law Society has engaged Vitae to provide short-term, solution-focussed counselling by trained and accredited clinicians (counsellors, psychologists or psychotherapists). The service is individual and confidential.”

Why: Free, professional, independent counselling. Your practising certificate fees fund this. Available to lawyers and law firm staff.

Website: https://www.lawsociety.org.nz/practice-resources/practising-well/legal-community-counselling-service

Price: Free (two to three sessions).

Get extra technology

Noel Leeming, JB Hi-Fi, The Warehouse and other retailers can now sell essential items online, like phones, computers, headsets and printers. PB Tech is selling monitors.

Destroy confidential documents

DIY

If you don’t have a shredder, save up documents until you’re back into the office.

If there’s no safe place to store them, and you’re not collecting your mail you could mail them to your PO Box.

Manage your mail

NZ Post business mail redirection

You can’t do it now as PostShops are closed, but if there’s another lockdown, redirect your business mail to where you will be. For personal mail you can set up a redirection online.

Price: $130 for two months (business).

Forward your faxes

Your multifunction device/photocopier probably has an option to forward your faxes to an email address automatically (but you may not be able to activate this remotely). Google the model number and a phrase like ‘fax to email’.

Hide your phone number

Man holding phone
Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Using your personal phone? See the Privacy Commissioner’s page on hiding your phone number (e.g. from clients) when making calls. Doesn’t work for text messages.

Updated 19 April 2020: Added Secured Signing.