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Local Government

We’re proud to help local authorities of all sizes across New Zealand deliver great outcomes for their communities.

As New Zealand's leading local government law firm, we advise over three quarters of our country’s local authorities each year.

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. We provide sound, timely and practical advice when critical incidents or issues occur.

We are regularly called upon to advise across a range of areas, including: decision-making processes, local legislation, financial management and funding, property, infrastructure, environmental management, regulatory matters, commercial contracts, tendering, employment and governance.

We have extensive and long-standing networks with key policy and decision makers throughout local government. We are also a principal legal adviser to Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) and Taituarā (formerly SOLGM).

Examples of our work   

Strategic public law advice

  • We’ve been a primary legal adviser to Auckland Council since its formation, including advising on 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 affordable housing, accommodation targeted rate, and waste strategies.
  • We advised Christchurch City Council all major legal issues associated with the Canterbury sequence of earthquakes     
  • We advised New Plymouth District Council on the return of council land at Waitara to tangata whenua and defending consequential legal action brought by the Waitara Leaseholders Association
  • We advised LGNZ on amendments to the Local Government Act, principally in relation to the change to the purpose statement

Infrastructure projects

  • We’re advising Treasury and the Department of Internal Affairs on Infrastructure Funding and Financing Programme, to develop a new model for enabling local authorities to fund and finance major infrastructure projects
  • We are a lead adviser for various agencies on major current projects that are reshaping Auckland including City Rail Link, Central Interceptor, America’s Cup and Downtown redevelopment

Planning processes

  • We have been a lead adviser on plan review and plan change processes for clients including Auckland Council, Christchurch City Council, Queenstown-Lakes District Council, and Tauranga City Council