Central Government & Public Sector

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

Located in the heart of the government precinct, our Wellington-based team has a deep understanding of the public sector environment. Within the team we have professionals who have held senior roles in the public sector, including Sally McKechnie, a former senior Crown Counsel.

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

These include advising clients on initiatives which deliver important government objectives. These include policy development, commercial contracts, technology procurement, and property and infrastructure projects.

We help our clients to manage key areas of risk, including public law litigation, privacy and data protection, employment and health and safety.

We also work with numerous clients to assist them with their interactions with government and 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.

Work Highlights

Policy development

We advised Department of Internal Affairs and Treasury on the Infrastructure Funding and Financing Programme, a significant project to develop a new model for funding and financing major infrastructure projects.

We also advised the Ministry for the Environment on the development of the Covid-19 Recovery (Fast-track) Bill.

Public law litigation

Our public law team regularly acts for government on defending high profile litigation. This includes acting for the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in 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.

We also acted for the Ministry of Health defending a number of related challenges to its Funded Family Care (FFC) disability funding programme.

Employment and health & safety

Our team works with numerous government clients, including the Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Education, Department of Corrections, New Zealand Defence Force, and Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand.

Technology procurement

We regularly advise on large-scale projects, including acting for Land Information New Zealand on the delivery of an Advanced Survey and Title Services solution to replace Landonline, and Inland Revenue on its business transformation programme.

Commercial property

We advise a number of clients including Inland Revenue, ACC and Callaghan Innovation on property issues, including development agreements and lease agreements.


We advised the Ministry of Education on an overhaul of its tendering and construction contract documentation.

Commercial transactions

Our work has included advising ACC on the acquisition of a 22% stake in the Kiwibank group of companies, and on the subsequent sale of its stake in 2022.

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