Climate change

test image test image

Climate change presents a range of risks and opportunities to organisations. The risks go beyond the physical and include transitional, financial and legal risks.

We provide innovative legal advice to boards, executive teams and sustainability managers to ensure businesses understand the risks and opportunities associated with climate change and respond to the evolving climate change regulation and policy.  

We help organisations strategically position themselves to adapt to climate change and respond to increasing pressure from central and local government, shareholders, clients and the public to reduce their emissions footprint.  

Since emerging as a legal issue in New Zealand more than two decades ago, our team has advised clients by taking a multi-disciplinary approach to climate change related legal and financial risk management that includes commercial, environmental, banking, financial, tax and litigation lawyers.

Our expertise includes assisting clients with:

  • Understanding and implementing climate change policy and regulatory developments;
  • The operation of New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS);
  • Offsetting agreements;
  • Disputes about responsibility for emissions liability and climate risk; 
  • Novel projects designed to reduce emissions and transition to a low carbon economy;
  • Sustainable finance; and
  • Governance advice on climate change responsibilities and challenges.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts has a diverse and multidisciplinary practice across the energy market, including renewable energy. They provide a comprehensive offering on climate change and emissions trading and are adept at representing clients in environmental disputes.Chambers Asia-Pacific 2022


Recent highlights
Ports of Auckland on its Hydrogen Demonstration Project 

Advising on legal, commercial and strategic aspects of the Hydrogen Demonstration Project, in support of Ports of Auckland’s 2040 carbon zero target. This includes corporate structures and funding, procurement strategies, tender documentation, drafting and negotiation of project agreements for design installation commissioning and operation of plant, and regulatory and legislative requirements.

Turitea Wind Farm 

Advising Mercury on the delivery of its Turitea Wind Farm project which, when completed, will be New Zealand’s largest wind farm at 222MW, producing 840GWh annually, enough to power 375,000 electric vehicles. The project is nationally significant, contributing to New Zealand’s wider climate change objectives and global commitments.

Green finance investment transactions 

Assisting New Zealand Green Investment Finance Limited (NZGIF), the green investment bank established by the Government to accelerate investment to enable New Zealand’s low carbon future, with its debt and equity investment transactions. This included a combined debt and equity investment in low emissions vehicle advisory and financing business, Carbn Group, and facilities provided to ‘solar-as-a-service’ provider solarZero for its residential, commercial, and public sector initiatives.

First of its kind in New Zealand climate change proceedings 

Acting for BT Mining Limited in defending the first ever private ‘climate change’ proceedings, brought against seven corporate defendants alleging liability owed in negligence and/or public nuisance.

Advising central government on climate change policy 

Advising the Ministry for the Environment on the development of new national direction under the Resource Management Act 1991 focussed on reducing emissions from process heat.

Climate-related disclosures 

Advising External Reporting Board, and also listed and financial sector clients on the application of the new mandatory Climate-Related Disclosures regime, contained in the Financial Markets Conduct Act, and to develop a strategy and approach to completing mandatory and voluntary disclosures including TCFD reporting. 

Establishment of DrylandCarbon Partnership 

Advising Z Energy Limited, Air New Zealand Limited, Genesis Energy Limited and Contact Energy Limited on the establishment of the DrylandCarbon Partnership – a limited liability partnership that invests in a geographically diversified forest portfolio to sequester carbon.


Related expertise

Our lawyers provide clients with clear, strategic and commercial solutions that create lasting impacts to their business

  • Climate change

  • Environment, planning and resource management

  • Governance

  • Litigation and dispute resolution

  • Māori economy

  • Sustainability and ESG

  • Sustainable finance