Government and public sector

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Government and broader public sector entities are subject to intense public, political, media and judicial scrutiny. We help government entities achieve the outcomes they seek with the confidence they are doing so with an informed understanding and management of risk.

It is essential to understand the legal framework within which each government and public sector entity operates and the applicable priorities. The need for processes and decisions to withstand public and political scrutiny and judicial review, all the while protecting the ‘public’ purse and achieving broader outcomes. 

Our multi-disciplinary government and public law team has an outstanding track record of helping public sector organisations lawfully, effectively and efficiently achieve their regulatory, policy, commercial and broader strategic priorities with the confidence they are doing so with an informed assessment of the appropriate level of risk. 

We are trusted advisers to Government on significant often nationally important projects, major system transformation and reform programmes, and a wide range of commercial matters. 

An important aspect of our expertise comes from our in depth understanding of the differences in working with government and the private sector and the key priorities for each. We understand how public and private sector clients can connect to do business effectively, and the different pressure points for the public sector when issues arise.

We have a broad network at all levels of New Zealand Government - many of our team have worked in-house for government, for regulated entities and for regulators. Several partners have or currently serve on public sector boards, which enables a first-hand understanding of how best to work with and across agencies.

I can't recommend MinterEllisonRuddWatts enough…Their staff have strong interpersonal skills for engagement with non-experts; they are able to navigate and explain tricky legal issues while providing political context; and they can bring the overall expertise of the firm to bear on our tricky policy questions. Chambers Asia-Pacific 2022


Recent highlights
Establishment and disestablishment of Crown entities

Advising The Treasury on the disestablishment of Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, the establishment of Ōtākaro and Regenerate Christchurch, and the transfer of key Anchor Project assets to Ōtākaro, including working closely on the development and drafting of the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act.

Reforming New Zealand’s resource management system

Primary legal advisor to the Government on its comprehensive and transformational reform of NZ’s entire resource management system from environmental permitting and spatial planning through to climate adaptation and mitigation.  

Helping shape Government’s Three Waters reform programme

Advising the Department of Internal Affairs on the reform of the three waters sector. This large-scale and complex project will be transformational for local government and the infrastructure sector and has involved legislative reform, entity design and governance, economic regulation, public law and commercial contract.

Defending Public sector decisions against legal challenge

Acting for the Crown and Crown entities in defending the approach taken to performance of their statutory and broader legislative powers against applications for judicial review and for declaratory judgments   

Crown financial support in response to COVID-19

Acting for The Treasury on a full range of its economic support initiatives as a consequence of COVID-19, including the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme and the Economically Significant Business Scheme. Providing advice on support options, including advising on a large number of tools that were available to the Crown such as debt, equity and quasi equity structures, as well as holding structures and governance.

Procurement of next generation ticketing solution for public transport

Advising Project NEXT, the Waka Kotahi led project, on an ongoing basis for the procurement of a national public transport ticketing solution by Waka Kotahi and New Zealand regional public transport authorities.  This is a significant procurement transaction involving the provision of both ticketing services and financial services for an open-loop, account-based, national ticketing solution to deliver a better user experience for users of public transport and a more efficient public transport system.

Crown advisor for transformational infrastructure projects

Advising the Crown on all aspects of the Auckland Light Rail and City Rail Link Projects, two of the most complex transport infrastructure projects currently underway in New Zealand. This includes advising on governance arrangements, decision making, and oversight arrangements, procurement and delivery of main project works, stakeholder engagement and agreements for the integration of the projects into the broader transport network. 

Key advisers on progressive home ownership scheme

Primary legal adviser regarding the design and structure of Kāinga Ora’s progressive home ownership scheme, as well as its funding arrangements with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

Crown entity governance, decision making and dispute resolution

Engaged by Crown agencies across the environmental, media, transport, emergency response, and health sectors on their public law decision making and governance functions and powers, privacy obligations, and public law dispute resolution and strategic issues.