30 November 2021

Aotearoa New Zealand update | November 2021



The Aotearoa New Zealand Resolution Institute Conference

The 2021 Spotlight on Practice – Online conference was held this month.

This was a bit of a gamble for us as we had previously not held such an event using Zoom and in the workshop format, as we do with our face-to-face conference. However, we felt we needed to hold a conference this year as our members had indicated they wanted one and the uncertainty meant it was hard to judge when we could do so face-to-face.

This proved to be a very popular decision with the conference providing access to many members who may well not have been able to travel to and stay in Wellington.  As a result the conference was fully subscribed.

This was great news, but we still needed to deliver a good conference. And we certainly did that.  We had very high-quality learning sessions, all of which were well attended. The Zoom platform worked well and sessions were presented professionally.

The feedback we have already received has told us we ‘hit the mark’ for what our members wanted.

Thanks to all those that attended and if you have not already done so, please complete the survey you should have received.

Thanks goes to all our presenters who generously gave up their valuable time to help us present excellent workshop sessions. Out sponsors were also very generous in their support – Family Wizard, Talk-Meet-Resolve, MBIE and the GCDR.

Finally, a huge thank you to Laura Collins and Awatea Mita for creating and running an excellent programme and to Kim Ball who took care of the tech side of the event and helped people with any problems. Finally, when we were planning this event, we were one host short. I reached out to Sue Wells from AMINZ and with no hesitation she offered her support and as such we had Sabeena Tsan work with us for all three days. 

This was just another example of how Resolution Institute and AMINZ are working together for the benefits of all members.

Vaccination mandates and mediation

As you are aware the New Zealand Government will shortly be releasing its policy and requirements in relation to gatherings and COVID-19.

It seems likely that most business gatherings, such as conferences, training etc, may require attendees to be fully vaccinated. However, it may not be the same for smaller groups such as those in mediation.

The concern with the only option for gatherings being the need for attendees to be fully vaccinated is that it is not inclusive. There could be many reasons why someone may not be vaccinated and to only offer one choice means some people who need our dispute resolution services cannot access them.

A number of Resolution Institute members have asked for direction on this issue. Ultimately the decision on how a mediation is undertaken is up to the dispute resolution practitioner.

Having said that, Resolution Institute members may wish to consider the following options when undertaking mediations etc:

  • Require all parties to be fully vaccinated
  • Require all parties to be fully vaccinated or provide a recent negative COVID-19 test result
  • If parties decline to declare they are vaccinated or otherwise, undertake the gathering remotely via Zoom, MS Teams or similar
  • Not require any vaccination information
  • Not require any vaccination information but require face coverings at all times
  • A combination of any of the above

In relation to Resolution Institute face-to-face training and the use of our mediation rooms in Wellington, once the Government has announced the vaccination mandates and how they affect which type of groups, we will develop our attendance requirements. 

Take care
Trevor Slater