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Central Government & Public Sector

Simpson Grierson has the largest public sector practice of any New Zealand law firm. 

We advise numerous government departments, Crown entities and State-owned enterprises on significant projects across a full range of legal issues, including:

  • Commercial contracts - including public private partnerships
  • Corporate transactions
  • Dispute resolution
  • Employment - dispute resolution and advisory
  • Health and safety - legal, consultancy and training services
  • Privacy and data protection - policy advice, audits and managing breaches
  • Procurement projects
  • Projects and construction - RMA, planning and development advice
  • Property - redevelopments and leasing projects
  • Public law - policy interpretation and development, legislative  drafting and strategic advice
  • Technology - delivery of major projects

We also work with numerous clients to assist them with their interactions with government, in developing strategies for working effectively with central government and the public sector. We have excellent links with ministers and senior politicians from across the political spectrum.

Importantly, in assisting both central government and those who work with government, we have a deep understanding the public sector environment. Within our team we have professionals who have held senior roles in the public sector, including Sally McKechnie, a former senior Crown Counsel, Tony Ryall, a former senior cabinet minister who head our public policy unit, and David Cochrane, former Parliamentary Counsel and one of New Zealand's foremost public law specialists.

Examples of our work

Government departments

  • Department of Corrections - a range of commercial and construction matters, including the contract management for the Mt Eden Corrections Facility.
  • Inland Revenue - large-scale technology projects, including its business transformation programme; property development agreements, lease and construction advice; and earthquake-related issues.
  • Land Information New Zealand - large-scale technology projects, including agreements for the delivery of an Advanced Survey and Title Services solution to replace Landonline.
  • Ministry of Education - an overhaul of tendering and construction contract documentation; employment law advice and representation.
  • Ministry for Primary Industries - defending in the High Court the "Kiwifruit Claim", a $400 million class action tort claim in negligence against MPI for biosecurity breaches in allowing the bacterial kiwifruit vine disease Psa-V into New Zealand; drafting assistance for the amendments to the Food Act.
  • Ministry of Social Development - employment issues including defending claims for breach of contract, discrimination, unjustified disadvantage and bullying;  responding to significant privacy breaches.
  • Statistics NZ - property issues, including development and lease agreements; and earthquake-related issues.

Crown entities and agencies

  • ACC - acquisition of a 22% stake in the Kiwibank group of companies.
  • Callaghan Innovation - investment structuring and property issues.
  • District Health Boards (DHBs) - drafting and advising on governing documentation for a shared services company (for Northern region DHBs); employment advice for a number of DHBs.
  • Tāmaki Redevelopment Company (responsible for the urban regeneration of Tāmaki) - legal adviser, including on governance and structural issues, the transfer of 2,800 Government owned social houses and delivering catalyst projects as part of the regeneration initiative.
  • Tertiary Education Commission - employment advice.

State-owned enterprises

  • Kordia - numerous projects, including the acquisition and subsequent sale of Orcon, New Zealand's fourth largest internet service provider, issues around the trans-Tasman fibre optic cable project, and regulatory issues.
  • Solid Energy - all aspects of its restructuring (including the sale of its mines), involving a team of lawyers across our corporate, commercial, banking, property, employment and litigation groups.
  • Transpower - major transmission development and upgrade projects (resource consenting, property purchase and Public Works Act issues, valuation disputes, procurement and build contracts).