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Editorial

Overview

Agriculture is central to the economy of New Zealand, which is a large exporter of protein in the form of meat and dairy products. The dairy industry has been hit hard by falling prices on the international market, but so far banks have proved unwilling to foreclose on huge loans to the industry for fear of starting a domino effect. In contrast, tourism is booming and the country is providing incentives for film production to encourage growth in media industries.

The rebuilding of Christchurch following the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 continues to be a major source of work for projects, insurance and real estate teams, although the construction phase is nearing its peak. Now, infrastructure developments in Auckland are driving many new deals.

The traditional local elite of ‘the big three’ firms – Bell Gully, Chapman Tripp and Russell McVeagh – is no longer applicable in all practice areas. The largest firm by headcount is Simpson Grierson and the importance of cross-border investment into the country has put those large firms, as well as DLA Piper New Zealand (the only firm that is part of a truly global network) and Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, at the forefront of deals concerning flows of international capital.

Boutique firms continue to flourish in certain practice areas, such as employment (SBM Legal, Dundas Street and Kiely Thompson Caisley), insurance (DAC Beachcroft New Zealand and Fee Langstone), intellectual property (AJ Park and Baldwins), and dispute resolution (Gilbert Walker and LeeSalmonLong).

Among the other full service firms that continue to show healthy growth are Anderson Lloyd, which is known for real estate and projects work, Anthony Harper, and Kensington Swan.

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