In New Zealand, local and central government are amongst the engine rooms of the economy as entities that are important in providing leadership to the direction and focus of commerce.
They influence - structurally and philosophically - the country's economic output.
In addition, they are business operations in their own right. They are large employers, and both local and central government administer significant portions of New Zealand's infrastructure and commercial operations.
Both central and local government are areas of unrelenting change and dynamism, as they respond to commercial and diplomatic complexity locally and internationally. DLA Piper provides a stable, experienced local counsel with valuable global insight into this changing area.
DLA Piper New Zealand has a vast depth of experience in almost every area of New Zealand administration. We act for government entities, local government and commercial organisations seeking to interact with government and local government.
Our government team was acknowledged as significant in this area when we were appointed to the "All of Government" panel to deliver advice to participating New Zealand government agencies in banking & finance, corporate, litigation, resource management, and property law. This central government procurement of legal services was highly competitive and involved bids from 125 law firms.
We have been involved in the establishment of a number of Crown entities, acting for them since inception. We have considerable capability in developing tailored compliance programmes including management of legal risk for Crown entities. Our advice is widely sought in procurement and tendering, negotiation and contracting, and in the establishment of PPPs (public private partnerships).
We are also amongst only a very few law firms in New Zealand pre-eminent in legal work for a diverse range of local government entities, throughout the country. DLA Piper New Zealand has been involved in the evolution of local government law and regulation over decades. We continue to guide clients through these changes.
DLA Piper New Zealand has extensive experience acting for clients in connection with Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) issues, settlements and local government considerations.
Our lawyers are mindful of and experienced in the public and political overlay when dealing with government entity issues on a day to day basis.
DLA Piper New Zealand also acts for many non-public sector clients who interact with government, including on joint ventures and sales and acquisitions. We have proven expertise in government relations, advocacy, lobbying and public affairs on behalf of New Zealand businesses. In addition, we act for clients on issues of compliance.
Through our cross-disciplinary approach, DLA Piper New Zealand provides advice in administrative, regulatory, legislative, policy, governance and the commercial operations of a wide range of key central and local government entities including ministries, departments, state owned enterprises (SOEs), crown entities, statutory authorities, councils, territorial local authorities, council controlled organisations – as well as organisations seeking to act and interrelate with these organisations.
Wellington Regional Council
DLA Piper New Zealand acted on behalf of the Council on an NZTA state highway proposal involving two notices of requirement and 49 resource consents for the construction and operation of the Peka Peka to North Otaki Expressway proposal. It was declared a matter of national significance and is part of the Wellington Northern Corridor, which has been identified by the Government as a Road of National Significance.
Marlborough District Council
DLA Piper New Zealand acted on behalf of the Council as a submitter in opposition to the King Salmon farms. It involved four plan changes and the resource consents necessary for nine salmon farm sites. Eight of the sites were in areas where marine farming is prohibited. 1271 submissions were received in relation to this proposal and involved a 10 week hearing which commenced in August 2012. Only four of the farms were approved, which is one of the first Board of Inquiry matters where parts of the proposal have been declined. In 2013 we acted on behalf of the Council as a party to the appeal to the High Court. The appellants were Save our Sounds and Environmental Defence Society.
Department of Corrections
DLA Piper New Zealand is advising the Department on its standard documentation for tendering for construction for major projects and minor works to facilitate the proposed prison upgrades and refurbishment of each of the Auckland East, Spring Hill, Invercargill and Whanganui Prisons. We are also advising on the refurbishment of the community correction sites across the various regions.
Wellington regional council
DLA Piper New Zealand acted on behalf of the Council in successfully defending a declaration application by Mr Warburton. The issue was whether a watercourse (effectively a stormwater outflow) that flowed across the foreshore was a 'river' under the Resource Management Act 1991, which would mean the consenting requirements under section 13 and the Regional Plan would apply. This would have set a precedent for the entire Wellington Region.
Government Superannuation Fund Authority, Board of Trustees of National Provident Fund
The Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 is designed to promote and facilitate the development of fair, efficient and transparent financial markets. The firm has provided (and continues to provide) advice in relation to the implications of the new legislation to both these entities. Advice included making a number of submissions on the bill and draft regulations, meetings with officials and regulators and submitting draft amendments.
New Zealand Fire Service Commission
DLA Piper New Zealand reviewed the governance of a volunteer fire brigade. This involved an assessment of whether the brigade was complying with its Agreement for Service with the Fire Service and whether its fundraising activities complied with its charitable trust status. The investigation required the interviewing of 38 witnesses. The subsequent report was then referred to the Fire Service, before being appealed to the Fire Service Commission and the Minister under the Fire Service Act 1975. One outcome of the review was a redraft by our commercial team of the Agreement.
We have prepared a Guide To Doing Business In New Zealand to help those venturing into the market navigate their way through local legislation to identify and maximise the many opportunities that are available.