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Barney Cumberland

BA LLB(Hons)


P+64 9 977 5155

M+64 21 497 462

Barney Cumberland

With over 20 years in practice, Barney has significant experience across all aspects of New Zealand's domestic and international tax law.

He advises clients on a wide range of transactions and other non-contentious tax matters, both domestic and cross-border, and involving private, public and not-for-profit sectors. Barney also assists clients with tax disputes and litigation and advises high net worth individuals and families on trust, asset planning and related tax matters.

  • Asia Pacific Legal 500 Tax 2022 - Leading Lawyer (Hall of Fame)
  • Chambers Asia-Pacific Tax 2022 - Leading Lawyer
  • Asialaw Leading Lawyers Guide Tax 2018 - Leading Lawyer

Examples of Work

Private Sector Advisory (2020-21 matters only)

  • Shinsei Bank/UDC - principal legal tax adviser to Japanese finance conglomerate Shinsei on its NZ$762 million acquisition of iconic New Zealand finance company, UDC
  • Constellation Brands - advised Constellation on New Zealand tax issues arising on the sale of parts of its international wine and spirits portfolio to E&J Gallo Winery, Inc
  • Mighty Ape - legal tax adviser to the shareholders of Mighty Ape (New Zealand's first e-commerce retailer) on its sale to Australian retail and insurance company Kogan for A$122.4 million (NZ$128.3 million)
  • Matariki Forests Trading - advised on tax-related matters in establishing a log export joint venture with Hancock’s, that has immediately become the biggest log exporter in the Southern Hemisphere, with an annual turn-over of about NZ$1 billion
  • The a2 Milk Company Ltd - advised on tax aspects of its NZ$385 million strategic acquisition of Mataura Valley Milk Ltd
  • Event Hospitality and Entertainment - advised Event on tax aspects of its acquisition of Jucy Snooze Ltd
  • Dense Air Ltd - advised UK based Dense Air on structuring and tax aspects of its sale of NZ subsidiary Dense Air NZ Ltd to Softbank Ltd of Japan
  • Arena Investors, LP - tax and structuring advice on new and continuing New Zealand investments worth in excess of NZ$200 million and on a proposed expansion/restructuring of its New Zealand lending business
  • Urwin and Company - advised on all tax aspects of the sale of its business and assets, comprised of a significant amount of domestic fishing quota (primarily oyster, crayfish and blue cod quota), multiple JV interests and the fish processing facility, as well as its subsequent wind-up
  • Advised numerous large multi-national enterprises on the impact on their NZ subsidiaries of BEPS related changes to NZ income tax rules and NZ’s remote services and distantly taxable goods GST rules
  • Advised numerous high net worth individuals and families on tax, trust and asset protection matters, including with respect to business succession arrangements and the impact of the Trusts Act 2019

Examples of Work – Public Sector Advisory

  • Auckland City Council, Auckland Transition Agency, and the Auckland Council group - advising on multiple projects, including tax aspects of the Auckland Council reorganisation and post-reorganisation structuring and transactional advice, establishment of the Council’s charitable trust council-controlled organisation (CCO) (Regional Facilities Auckland), establishment of the Council’s urban development CCO (Panuku Development Auckland Ltd), the 2020 amalgamation of ATEED and Regional Facilities Auckland Ltd, and various income tax, GST and charity/not-for-profit matters for the Council group
  • City Rail Link Ltd - advised on its income tax and GST position, including liaising with Treasury and Inland Revenue, and on the transfer of assets by Auckland Council to City Rail Link Ltd
  • Tamaki Redevelopment Company Ltd/Tamaki Regeneration Ltd/Tamaki Housing Association - principal tax adviser on structuring and tax issues since their establishment to undertake urban regeneration in part of Auckland

Not-for-Profit Sector Advisory

  • Tait Ltd/Tait International Ltd/Tait Foundation/Tait Contel Charitable Trust - advised on a significant internal restructuring and the subsequent part sale of the Tait electronics business to JVC Kenwood Corporation
  • Waikato-Tainui - advised Waikato-Tainui on numerous ventures undertaken within the auspices of its charitable trust ownership structure


  • United States Department of Justice - expert witness in relation to New Zealand aspects of a significant international tax case between the US Government and a large US multi-national
  • Structured finance litigation - advocate for a leading NZ bank in its NZ$960 million structured finance tax dispute – Westpac Banking Corporation v Commissioner of Inland Revenue
  • Convertible note tax disputes - represented taxpayers in tax avoidance disputes with the NZ Revenue over financing transactions involving the use of optional or mandatory convertible notes

Other Credentials

  • New Zealand Law Society Tax Law Committee - Member
  • International Fiscal Association (New Zealand branch) - Member
  • International Bar Association Tax Law Committee - Member