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The team at Buddle Findlay is ‘very knowledgeable about entertainment and IT law’. Philip Wood, who leads the team from Auckland, ‘has excellent knowledge of the industry and is an expert in his field who is good at working out solutions’. Allan Yeoman is ‘a respected specialist with good commercial acumen who provides practical solutions’. Together they acted for Sky Network Television in its proposed NZ$3.44bn merger with Vodafone New Zealand, which included advice on shared technology resources and vendor relationships. Yeoman also advised SAP reseller and implementation company Soltius Limited on a systems upgrade for a major gas and electricity company. IT and outsourcing contract specialist Amy Ryburn, who leads the Wellington ICT team, advised New Zealand Post on technology procurement agreements with Siemens for new mail sorting machinery and associated control software.

Chapman Tripp’s team handles major telecoms projects for clients such as Spark and Chorus, advises technology and media companies including Microsoft and NZME, and acts for numerous government entities in major ICT projects. Auckland-based head of TMT Bruce McClintock is ‘a key lawyer in the TMT space’. Corporate, IP and IT partner Kelly McFadzien and Wellington-based senior associate Tim Sherman are also recommended. McClintock advised Chorus on its agreement with Crown Fibre Holdings to extend its ultra-fast broadband rollout, and assisted New Zealand Transport Agency with its procurement of a National Incident & Event Management System from Castle Rock. McFadzien’s highlights included advising integrated media and entertainment business NZME on its proposed merger with Fairfax New Zealand, which owns several publications, including The Dominion Post, The Press and The Sunday Star-Times. She also advised NZME on licensing arrangements with The Washington Post to implement a digital publishing platform.

Hudson Gavin Martin in Auckland is a specialist corporate and commercial boutique that focuses purely on TMT and IP. The team is ‘very client- and service-oriented’, and is seen by one client as ‘equal to or better than any other NZ firms for TMT and IT contracting matters’. It has ‘a very strong corporate client base for TMT matters’, ranging from start-ups to multinational businesses. Simon Martin is ‘one of the best IT lawyers in New Zealand’. Jason Rudkin-Binks, Andrew Nicoll, ‘up-and-coming’ partner Edwin Lim and ‘commercially focused’ principal Anchali Anandanayagam are also recommended. The firm advised Foodstuffs North Island on licensing and implementation arrangements for its online shop and warehouse management systems. In other highlights, the team advised cloud-based veterinary practice ezyVet on its business operations, assisted WhereScape with a review and update of its licence and support terms, and acted for Workday in the negotiation of licensing and support arrangements with Air New Zealand.

The ‘focused and responsive team’ at MinterEllisonRuddWattsprovides commercial advice and solutions’ and has ‘genuine technology specialism and expertise’. Its major clients include the New Zealand Lotteries Commission, 2degrees Mobile, Television New Zealand and fintech developer Finzsoft. IT and procurement expert Jane Parker leads the team, which also features senior statesman Ross Patterson, Richard Wells (who ‘has strong knowledge and provides great client service’), media and IT partner John McCay and the ‘very client-focused, passionate and proactive’ Tom Maasland. Maasland recently assisted Trustpower with the technology aspects of its demerger. McCay’s highlights included advising government agency the New Zealand Film Commission on the legal aspects of film production for titles such as Taika Waititi’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople; Mahana, which is the first domestic feature film to be financed through crowdfunding; and animated documentary 25 April, which focuses on the Gallipoli campaign in World War I.

Bell Gully has a strong track record of corporate and commercial work for technology and telecoms companies and is also recommended for its expertise in data privacy and cybersecurity matters. Dean Oppenhuis in Wellington is ‘a key practitioner in the market’ and his public sector work included advising the Department of Internal Affairs on Common Capability ICT Agreements for the All-of-Government supply of cloud-based services. Corporate matters included advising Vodafone Group on its proposed merger with Sky Network Television. Auckland-based litigator and media team head Alan Ringwood is also recommended. The firm regularly acts for Crown Fibre Holdings and its recent work includes advising on the second, NZ$300m phase of the government’s Ultra-Fast-Broadband Initiative, and assisting the client with the extension of the state’s Rural Broadband Initiative and the Mobile Black Spot Fund.

Hayley Miller at Kensington Swan in Auckland is a technology and commercial partner specialising in IT, telecoms, privacy, IP, outsourcing and commercial supply and procurement. She advised Crown Fibre Holdings on the drafting of ultra-fast broadband network infrastructure project agreements. Senior associate Peter Fernando in Wellington is recommended for his in-depth knowledge of IT, procurement and outsourcing. The firm assisted ContainerCo (NZL) with the implementation of its online booking system, which included the drafting of online booking terms. The team also acts for Tourism New Zealand on ICT projects, which last year included the procurement of a new system to enable online reporting by the public relations team.

Clients report ‘very good service’ from Russell McVeagh, which ‘has a pragmatic approach to finding solutions’. Specialist IT and energy partner Mei Fern Johnson leads a team that counts Spark, New Zealand Police, Trustpower and the Ministry of Education among its clients. She advised Accident Compensation Corporation on its NZ$450m transformation programme, which includes the selection and contracting of IT providers. She also assisted the Ministry of Defence with its Network-Enabled Army project. Consultant Joe Edwards, who leads the marketing law, media and intellectual property team, is also recommended. Another highlight saw the team act for New Zealand Bus, which is the country’s largest operator of urban bus services, on the contracting of Australasia’s first electric-powered vehicle technology from Wrightspeed.

At Simpson Grierson, ‘the level of service is impressive’. Michael Sage and ‘experienced and knowledgeable practitioner’ Karen Ngan lead the team from Auckland. which ‘has extensive experience in public sector technology projects and is able to bring its experience to bear for the benefit of a project’. Ngan is described as ‘responsive, easy to deal with and able to present solutions in a clear and pragmatic way’. She advised Land Information New Zealand on its Advanced Survey and Title Services project, which involves software-as-a-service technology for land titles. Watercare Services Limited and Taitokerau Fibre Networks are among the TMT team’s clients. She also acted for Wellington City Council in Project Odyssey, which involved the procurement of a IT platform to replace the numerous legacy systems that support the council’s core business functions.

Anthony Harper is ‘excellent – good value for money, very responsive and able to take a good commercial view that is not too legalistic’. The firm is known for its expertise in projects involving systems development, procurement and implementation and supports clients such as Panasonic NZ and food company Goodman Fielder. The ‘very smartMichael Moyes leads a team that provides ‘helpful and useful advice with pragmatic and sensible recommendations’. Last year, corporate partner Chris Dann advised First Credit Union on the implementation of a new core banking system supplied by fintech company Finzsoft. The firm also counts Auckland International Airport, Mercedes Benz, Panasonic and Goodman Fielder among its clients.

Lowndes – Corporate & Commercial Law Specialists is ‘top quality with strong business acumen and an understanding of clients’ businesses’. The TMT practice has been a core part of the firm since its inception and it retains ‘an extremely competent group of lawyers providing cost-effective and trustworthy IT expertise’. The ‘professional and client-focusedMark Lowndeshas built an outstanding law firm’, according to one client, who also notes that principal Greg France is ‘pragmatic and has good communication skills’. Principal Kerri Dewe is also recommended. The firm’s clients include a Chinese multinational technology company and a global navigation technology provider. Lowndes advised systems integration and information management company Eagle Technology Group on numerous matters.

Boutique technology firm Simmonds Stewart provides ‘sound advice on legal, commercial and strategic matters’. Corporate partner Andrew Simmonds, who handles M&A and fundraising, and commercial partner and CEO Victoria Stewart, who focuses on contractual issues, lead a team that advises many start-ups and SMEs on IT, capital raising, governance and commercial matters. Technology contracts partner Averill Dickson and corporate partner Julie Fowler are also recommended. The firm advised software-as-a-service company 9 Spokes on its listing on ASX, and assisted payment terminal company Invenco with an OEM agreement with NCR Corporation.

Wilson Harle in Auckland is a specialist litigation firm that handles a range of media-related disputes, as well as litigation concerning contractual matters for telecoms and IT companies. Partner Allison Ferguson is well regarded in the telecoms sector and is a regular adviser to Vodafone NZ on litigation and strategic matters outside of its M&A activities. She successfully defended the company in a case concerning an application for third-party discovery made by a former politician who brought a defamation proceeding against another politician. The claimant sought orders requiring Vodafone to produce emails from its server that he feared the defendant would not disclose. Seasoned litigator Chris Browne is also recommended.

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