Recent changes to the Companies Act 1993 have given greater flexibility in the administration of companies by providing for electronic communications and virtual shareholder meetings. The amendments bring New Zealand company administration into line with UK and Australian practices.

The Companies Amendment Act (No. 2) 2012 came into force on 31 August 2012. The two main amendments are that shareholders:

  • May now give notice to the company that they wish to receive communications, or specific types of communications, electronically. If a company receives such notice, it must provide that communication electronically to the shareholder (although it may still send the communication by another method as well)
  • May attend shareholder meetings and submit postal votes by electronic means, subject to the board of the company approving such means of attendance and any conditions the board may impose.

The changes will be of most value to listed and large (by shareholder number) companies, providing an opportunity to reduce costs and improve efficiencies and participation.