Government, Public Law and Policy

Home Expertise Government, Public Law and Policy

Guidance through complex environments

Government policy and regulation have direct and sometimes significant impacts on the way business is done. Businesses and other commercial and public actors need an understanding of public law issues and a strategy for engaging with government to ensure they stay on top of the regulatory environment.

Clients choose our team for its depth of knowledge and proven track record. We guide clients through complex constitutional and administrative law matters, as well as helping them to engage with both local and national government.

Our dedicated Wellington team is based within the heart of New Zealand Government, and maintain an extensive network of contacts which clients can tap into.

The team is made up of former government advisers, crown counsel and experts on constitutional law and other dynamic public law professionals who have experience representing organisations such as ExxonMobil, Watercare Services and the Auckland Transition Agency.

Constitutional and administrative law

The interpretation and application of statutes that govern the exercise of powers by Government agencies are a core aspect of administrative law. Central to our public law practice is helping our clients to work through these complex statutes to achieve the best possible outcome.

Our team utilises their vast combined experience to guide clients through parliamentary processes and the exercise of powers by the legislature and Government. Our variety of expertise produces incomparable advice on matters of constitutional law and parliamentary process.

Our experience includes advising:

  • A range of multinational clients on potential litigation concerning Government regulatory change and policies affecting their businesses.
  • Mrs Jean and the late Mr Allan Hubbard in judicial review proceedings to challenge their statutory management.
  • ExxonMobil in judicial review proceedings to challenge NZ Petroleum and Mineral's decision making under the Crown Minerals regime.
  • The Retirement Villages Association to challenge ministerial decision making in issuing a Code of Practice under the legislative regime.

Government relations

By participating in the policy process, businesses can pursue outcomes and avoid the costly consequences of adverse policy. Our Government relations team has strong relationships with Ministers, politicians, officials and advisers. These relationships, together with our extensive knowledge of policy, political and legislative processes, provide real assistance to our clients in their engagement with Government.

We know that politicians don’t want to hear from specialist advocates which is why it is our mission to connect our clients directly with decision makers. We will take a direct advocacy role when necessary, yet our role is about supporting our clients in their government relations rather than substituting for them. We apply our extensive experience to making sure our clients engage at the right time, in the right forum and in the right way.

Our experience includes: 

  • Leading policy debate and reform on regulatory issues across a range of economic sectors, including energy, telecommunications, ports, airports, dairy sectors and finance.
  • Assisting electricity lines and airport businesses in relation to major Commerce Commission work streams.
  • Advising a range of clients on Parliamentary procedure, Parliamentary Standing Orders, and Regulations Review.
  • Drafting Bills for various Members of Parliament and political parties.
  • Initiating amendments to legislation on forestry.
  • Representing private sector providers to District Health Boards in high profile contractual disputes and defending our clients against hostile competitive lobbying.

Local Government

Issues with local government are often marred by a variety of small scale interests and conflicts. Our team fosters relationships with local government politicians and officials, and regularly engages with them on behalf of our clients.

We are experts on the Local Government Act, and have an in depth understanding of how councils work and their decision making processes.

As active participants in the recent re-organisation of Auckland local government, we have advised a range of clients on making submissions and drafting legislation.

Our experience includes:

  • Submissions to relevant Select Committees, the Productivity Commission, and Ministry for the Environment on a range of recent reforms to local government, including in relation to the purpose of local government.
  • Advice on challenging proposed development contributions policies in council long term plans.
  • Advice and engagement on Auckland Council's proposed Unitary Plan.
  • Advice on judicial review of council decision making, including around notification of applications, rating decisions, bylaws and development contributions.
  • Advising the Auckland Transition Agency, Government and infrastructure interests on Auckland governance reforms and infrastructure development.
  • Engaging with Auckland City on spatial planning and economic development issues.
  • Advising Watercare Services on a range of regulatory, legislative and policy issues, including reforms to local government in Auckland arising from the Royal Commission.
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