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New Zealand is still digesting the full effect of Christchurch’s earthquakes. Unprecedented levels of claims prompted the government bailout of AMI Insurance, and its sale to IAG. Major redevelopment work is planned, and building regulation changes are anticipated.
New Zealand’s first PPPs, Wiri Prison and Hobsonville Schools, are now well underway. Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB), the ambitious telecoms project, is moving forwards, following Telecom’s demerger and confirmed participation. The economy showed improvement, with covered bonds increasingly used for funding, following the European model. Aside from the earthquakes, litigation was dominated by the ongoing cargo cartel price-fixing investigations and the Pike River Coal Mine inquiry. After a run of prosecutions stemming from company collapses, proposed legislative change currently under review would heighten directors’ future risks of criminal liability.
New Zealand has a close-knit legal market, dominated by Bell Gully, Chapman Tripp, Russell McVeagh and Simpson Grierson. Boutique practices are increasingly challenging the larger firms, however, with specialist employment firms Kiely Thompson Caisley, Swarbrick Beck Mackinnon and LangtonHudsonButcher, Lawyers, and finance-focused Mayne Wetherell deserving particular mention. As focus shifts towards Asia, the international capabilities of DLA Phillips Fox and Minter Ellison Rudd Watts are increasingly coming to the fore.