Our Services

BlackmanSpargo provides the following specialist services:

Our Specialisation

BlackmanSpargo specialises in rural law.  The firm’s expertise in this area is unparalleled in New Zealand.

Just as one wouldn’t expect a GP to undertake a heart bypass operation, one shouldn’t expect a general legal practitioner to understand the complexities facing a farming business.

Our lawyers understand farming and know all aspects of this complex area of law.  Each one of them can give you good advice on any legal issue you will face in the rural sector.

Buying and Selling Farms

Contracts for the sale and purchase of farms are much more complicated than residential transactions.  Our insight into farming practice enables the firm to provide farmers with the best possible protection when it comes to buying or selling a farm.

There’s a large amount of money involved and added complexities such as dairy company shares, plant and machinery, livestock, proper farming requirements and many other issues.

Our lawyers are continually monitoring changes in the industry that affect the rural sector and will give you the most up-to-date advice available in New Zealand.

Forestry Estates

Buying and selling a forestry block can add further risks to the purchase of land.  Transactions may include the purchase of the land and forest or just the forest without the land.  In either case there are important issues to consider. These include the terms of stumpage agreements or forestry rights, resource consents for harvesting and the need for water to manage fire risks, the Emission Trading Scheme and associated liabilities including taxation considerations and access to harvest forests.  This is just a sample of the complexities involved in these transactions.

Kiwifruit

When buying, selling or leasing a kiwifruit orchard, or purchasing land to develop into kiwifruit orchards, it is critical that the agreement for sale and purchase or lease captures all relevant aspects of the transaction.  These aspects include the transfer of any shares and grower licences, the right to crop proceeds and Zespri loyalty payments, kiwifruit management contracts and resource consents relating to water and frost protection systems.

BlackmanSpargo has a team of professionals that can provide you with up-to-date comprehensive advice in the kiwifruit sector.

Estate and Succession Planning

Estate planning refers to a farmer’s plans and arrangements on his or her death.  Succession planning is a related topic and refers to a family’s plan to ensure the succession of the farm business to the next generation.

The lawyers at BlackmanSpargo have many years’ experience in forming estate and succession plans for farming families.  We have helped hundreds of farming families put together effective estate plans and workable succession plans.

Ian Blackman has written a book on this subject entitled “Keeping Farming in the Family – a guide to farm succession”.  This book explains to farmers, accountants and lawyers how to implement a simple but effective plan.  For more information about Ian’s book please see here.

BlackmanSpargo remains the law firm with the most expertise in this complex field.

Formation of Trusts and Trust Administration

The lawyers at BlackmanSpargo are experts in trust law as it applies to farming families.

It is very important that farming families understand the reasons for setting up a trust.  Our lawyers take the time to answer questions and clearly explain the reasons for the trust.

The firm has a computerised record-keeping system that provides clients with peace of mind with respect to their trust administration.  Systems are in place to ensure that any of the firm’s lawyers or legal executives can review and maintain the trust regardless of who set it up.  This guarantees continuity of protection for a trust which will often outlive its creators.

Dispute Resolution

The cost of litigation is inevitably expensive, emotionally draining and time consuming.  There are no winners.

BlackmanSpargo’s philosophy is aimed at resolving disputes via negotiation, facilitation or mediation.  These methods of dispute resolution are proven to be a more effective and efficient way of dealing with problems.

The lawyers at BlackmanSpargo are trained in these alternative forms of dispute resolution.  They have the specialised knowledge of the rural sector needed to resolve rural disputes.

In the few cases that disputes need to go to court we provide recommendations for independent barristers with experience in rural disputes.

Tax Law

The New Zealand tax system is immensely complicated and difficult to understand unless individuals have had training the field of income tax.   Unfortunately, tax issues are unavoidable in almost all farming ventures and activities.

Our legal team’s understanding of the Income Tax Act and in-depth knowledge of the rural sector with respect to tax ensures that farming clients are given the best possible tax advice.

Banking

Farming almost always relies on a good working relationship with banks.  BlackmanSpargo has a good working relationship with all rural banks and a long history in the rural banking sector.  We are therefore well equipped to help farming clients to secure loans and negotiating interest rates and financing agreements.

For information about Guarantees and the risks involved please see our article here

Rural Employment Law

Rural employment relationships often become very complicated and a good employment contract is essential in order to avoid misunderstandings and problems.  BlackmanSpargo’s in-depth knowledge of the industry means it is better equipped to draft these employment contracts in such as way as to avoid time consuming and expensive disputes.

Dairy Farm Joint Ventures

A Joint Venture is an agreement to undertake economic activity between two or more parties.  Joint ventures involve both parties contributing equity and sharing in the revenue, expenses and control of the enterprise.  Commonly, in the context of the dairy industry, a joint venture will involve a sharemilking agreement.  In a sharemilking agreement one party owns the land and the other party owns the cows.  From understanding the economic implications of a joint ventures in the rural sector to identifying what both parties can expect from each other, we understand all the issues associated with dairy farm joint ventures and have the skills to implement a successful dairy farm joint venture agreement.

Rural Leases and Grazing Agreements

Rural leases and grazing agreements are often far more complicated than your ordinary residential lease.  For example, dairy farming leases, which require the surrender of Fonterra shares require clear terms dictating the number of shares needed to be transferred back to the lessor on termination of the lease. In addition grazing agreements need specific terms detailing what condition you can expect to get your livestock back in.  Our understanding of all external factors, which affect production on farms means that for these more complicated leases, we can offer you advise which will ensure the agreements you entered into are capable of being upheld.