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Local Government

We are New Zealand's leading local government law firm, advising over 60 local authorities.

As advisers to most of the local authorities in New Zealand, including the major city and regional councils based in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, we have extensive and long-standing networks with key policy and decision makers throughout local government. We are also a principal legal adviser to the industry body Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) and the Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM).

Our expertise ranges from the day-to-day operation of councils in their statutory and political environments, to the highest level strategic developments affecting local government as a whole.

The areas in which we are regularly involved include decision-making processes, local legislation, financial management and funding, property, infrastructure, environmental management, regulatory matters, commercial contracts, tendering, and governance.

Our local government specialists regularly work alongside our experts in property and infrastructure to advise local authorities, New Zealand Government owned and controlled entities, and corporate clients to deliver successful outcomes for their major projects.

Examples of our work

  • Auckland Council - advising on both the legal and practical aspects of the ‘new’ Auckland, including those uniquely Auckland components such as the local boards, ‘substantive CCOs’, the Mayoral office, and the Maori Statutory Board. We have worked on many other strategic issues, including the Unitary Plan, affordable housing and waste strategies
  • Christchurch City Council - a full range of strategic and operational issues, including all major legal issues associated with the Canterbury sequence of earthquakes, and its District Plan review
  • Kaipara District Council - advising on rating and financial matters, including the strategy to regularise various historic rates and maintain financial viability
  • New Plymouth District Council - proposal to facilitate the return of council land at Waitara to tangata whenua and defending consequential legal action brought by the Waitara Leaseholders Association
  • Kāpiti Coast District Council - high profile, strategic issues for the region, including Roads of National Significance, water supply issues, and the Proposed District Plan review
  • Tauranga City Council - all significant legal issues including major infrastructure projects, stormwater consents and City Plan Review
  • Auckland Transition Agency - advising on all aspects of the reorganisation of local government in Auckland, the most significant local government reorganisation in New Zealand since 1989
  • Local Government New Zealand - adviser on 2012 amendments to the LGA 2002, principally in relation to the change to the purpose statement