Public law and regulation

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The intersection between government, business growth, and regulation is complex. We’ll help you negotiate it.

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Public law and regulation have a significant impact on the way business is done in New Zealand. Both government agencies and private entities need to understand how each other’s sectors operate, where the boundaries and opportunities lie, and have a strategy for engaging with relevant decision-makers and stakeholders. 

Internationally recognised as Band 1 by independent researchers, Chambers Asia-Pacific, our Public Law team has an excellent track record for helping public and private sector organisations lawfully, effectively and efficiently achieve their regulatory, policy, commercial and broader strategic goals across all sectors of government. 

Our multidisciplinary team combines both public law advisory and public law litigation risk management expertise to allow our clients to make decisions with confidence.

We advise on all aspects of public law and regulation. This includes helping our public and private sector clients to:

  • Understand complex legislative, regulatory and policy requirements (including privacy and Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi obligations) and assess compliance

  • Capitalise on regulatory opportunities

  • Develop, implement and/or participate in government incentive schemes designed to further New Zealand’s economic development

  • Exercise (or critique the use of) statutory and enforcement powers

  • Present persuasively in discussions and disputes with decision-makers or stakeholders

  • Undertake or participate effectively in regulatory investigations, public inquiries, and judicial review proceedings

  • Develop arguments and strategies that secure favourable legislative and policy changes

  • Carry out reviews into various issues (such as conduct and culture, conflicts of interest, compliance with policies and procedures and the exercise of statutory or other legal powers and functions) 

  • Draft legislation, regulations and tertiary instruments.

Our strength comes from our deep understanding of both government and business. Members of our team have worked across government and held public sector board appointments, so we know the public sector and its political overlay well. We understand how the public and private sectors differ, how they can partner to do business together, and the unique pressure points for the public sector when issues arise. We have expertise in the legal regimes governing the arts, utilities, telecommunications, health, education, media, primary production/processing, distribution, transport and financial services sectors.

We are trusted advisers to the New Zealand Government on major system transformation and law reforms, such as the Three Waters Reform Programme and the reform of the entire resource management system. We are engaged by a number of Crown entities to advise their leadership teams and boards on a wide range of foundational, strategic and legal/litigation risk management issues. We are also advising the UK Department for International Trade on the UK-New Zealand free trade agreement negotiations and the UK’s negotiations to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Our clients value our pragmatic and commercial advice, which considers their objectives and the legal and regulatory environments in which they operate.

So, when business and the government need to connect, talk to us.

They are a highly capable and responsive team with a lot of experience. Chambers Asia-Pacific 2023


Recent highlights
Trustpower’s judicial review of 2020 transmission pricing guidelines

Advising Trustpower during the transmission pricing methodology (TPM) review process, including current judicial review proceedings relating to the 2020 TPM Guidelines, and a previous 2016 judicial review of the TPM guidelines process undertaken by the Authority.

Crown entity governance, decision making, litigation 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, strategic issues and public law litigation and dispute resolution.

Public law advice relating to COVID-19 restrictions

Advising various manufacturers, retailers, and service providers on the New Zealand Government’s COVID-19 related restrictions. This includes assisting: a number of organisations regarding their compliance with Health Orders requiring mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for roles, a building products manufacturer to secure authorisation to reopen during the Level 4 Lockdown; a mining company’s shareholders to obtain an exemption from managed isolation and quarantine requirements; and an aged care facility to terminate a District Health Board investigation relating to its visitor policy.

Government lobbying and disputes

Securing favourable law and policy reforms for clients. Recently secured passage of an Amendment Order permitting hazardous waste exports to the United States. Also provided wide-ranging legal, technical, and strategic advice to a telecommunications company seeking Government approval to participate in the development of New Zealand’s 5G network.

Amazon Studios “The Rings of Power”

Advising the New Zealand Government on the negotiations with Amazon Studios and Amazon to secure New Zealand as the production base for Amazon Studios’ “The Rings of Power”.  The New Zealand Screen Production Grant 5% Uplift was made available to the production in exchange for Amazon delivering significant economic benefits to New Zealand.  At the time of negotiation, this was the largest screen incentive deal ever negotiated between a studio and a government.