Firms To Watch: Labour and employment

PwC Legal New Zealand‘s employment practice was formed in 2020 through the arrival of Chris Baldock from MinterEllisonRuddWatts and has already amassed names such as AMP, Honda, and GlaxoSmithKline, supporting them on the full array of relevant matters.

Labour and employment in New Zealand

Bell Gully

Bell Gully operates across a varied spectrum of market leading labour and employment matters, from transactional, contentious, and general advisory work through to health and safety and public sector project mandates. Rachael Brown is based in Wellington, where she serves as a key port of call to both public and private sector clients; she co-leads the team alongside the Aucklank trio of Tim Clarke, who acts in a broad variety of litigious matters, Liz Coats, who advises on industrial relations matters, such as collective bargaining disputes, and Rosemary Wooders, an expert in advising on legislator changes.

Practice head(s):

Tim Clarke; Rachael Brown; Liz Coats; Rosemary Wooders


Other key lawyers:

Andrea Pazin


Testimonials

‘The team are settled and know us as a business to provide clear legal advice with good commercial understanding of our business requirements.’

‘Good skills, experience and understanding of our business.’

‘Impressive attitude and effort. Unwavering diligence and commitment.’

Key clients

Bapcor (NZ|)


C|AANZ


C|arter Holt Harvey


Department of Correction|s


Electricity| Authority


Goodman Fielder


Lyttelton Port Company


Ministry of Education


Pharmac


Port Marlborough


AsureQuality


Sime Darby Motor Company


Te |Pū|kenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology


One NZ


Woolworths


Work highlights


  • Represented Carter Holt Harvey in a dispute relating to its direction to employees to take annual leave during New Zealand’s first COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown period.
  • Advised Craigs Investment Partners on the sale of the QuayStreet business to Smartshares Limited.
  • Advised Te Pūkenga on a range of employment and health and safety matters.

Buddle Findlay

Buddle Findlay supports public, private, and government clients alike across a broad variety of highly complex employment and industrial relations matters. The Wellington office is home to Peter Chemis, an expert in the employment-related aspects of M&A and restructurings, as well as Hamish Kynaston, whose varied workload includes dismissals, collective bargaining, and harassment mandates; the duo co-leads the group alongside Auckland-based Sherridan Cook and Christchurch lawyer, Susan RoweShaun Brookes was promoted to special counsel in January 2023.

Practice head(s):

Peter Chemis; Sherridan Cook; Hamish Kynaston; Susan Rowe


Other key lawyers:

Shaun Brookes


Testimonials

‘Great all around depth from this national firm in the employment and industrial relations area.’

‘Shaun Brookes is a great operator. Very approachable, bright and focused on a solution.’

‘Peter Chemis has been at the top of his game for decades. ’

Key clients

New Zealand Police


Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment


New Zealand Post


Wellington City Council


Ministry of Social Development


Oranga Tamariki, Ministry for Children


Hauora Waikato


Land Information New Zealand


Greater Wellington Regional Council


Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology


Fairway Resolution


Ministry of Health


Callaghan Innovation


Massey University


Department of Corrections


Wellington International Airport


Contact Energy


New Zealand Customs Service


The Treasury


Toyota New Zealand


Reserve Bank of New Zealand


Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand


Christchurch City Council


Selwyn District Council


University of Canterbury


Hurunui District Council


Waimakariri District Council


Workbridge Incorporated


OSPRI


Kapiti Coast District Council


Ministry for Primary Industries


Te Aka Whai Ora – Māori Health Authority


ANZ Bank


Mahitahi Hauora


Pacific Radiology


Crown Law


Jonas Software


Ministry of Housing and Urban Development


Trade Me


Te Tumu Paeroa (the Māori Trustee)


Department of Conservation


Ministry of Justice


Weta Workshop Limited


TAB New Zealand


Fire and Emergency New Zealand


Sky Television


Lumino Dental


GHD


One New Zealand Group Limited


Colgate-Palmolive


Boeing


Emirates Airlines


Lockheed-Martin Global


McDonalds Corporation


Methanex New Zealand


The Walt Disney Company (Australia)


Philips


Swissport New Zealand


New Zealand Transport Agency


Revlon


Viridian Glass


Illinois Tool Works


Fergburger


Boffa Miskell


Panasonic Avionics


Leibherr


Daifuku


Enviro NZ Services Limited


Argenta Limited


Indevin Group Limited


Miraka Limited


Winston Nutritional Limited


Zoetis New Zealand Limited


Imerys New Zealand


McLarens Group


Oji Fibre Solutions


SC Johnson


Sunfed Foods


Treescape/Asplundh


Auckland UniServices


New Zealand Blood Service


Navico Auckland


Weta Workshop Limited


NZX


Crombie Lockwood


Airways Corporation


Affirmo


Tihei Limited


2 Degrees Mobile Limited


SPCA New Zealand


Finsure Finance & Insurance


Jasper Property Limited


STERIS New Zealand Limited;


Strong Parts Group


Melodics Limited


Industry Skills


Work highlights


  • Represented Customs in the Employment Relations Authority and on appeal in the Employment Court in relation to proceedings brought by an unvaccinated border employee.
  • Advised a client on various legal issues associated with the transfer of staff to new entities created to subsume New Zealand’s 16 polytechnics (Te Pūkenga) and New Zealand’s 20 District Health Boards and other health sector agencies (Te Whatu Ora).

Dundas Street

Dundas Street is at the forefront of cutting-edge labour and employment matters, including mandates concerning the Fair Pay Agreements Act 2022, the developing pay equity field, and large-scale restructuring processes for the government. The practice is headed from Wellington by Susan Hornsby-Geluk, ‘one of the top employment lawyers in the country‘ who is often coveted by the media on sector developments; she is based alongside Blair Scotland, a public sector expert, and Ros Webby, whose track record includes flagship collective bargaining matters. The practice is also home to Chloe Luscombe and Megan Vant, two junior names who are forging a prominent reputation in all areas of employment law.

Practice head(s):

Susan Hornsby-Geluk


Other key lawyers:

Susan Hornsby-Geluk; Blair Scotland; Ros Webby; Chloe Luscombe; Megan Vant


Testimonials

‘Great depth with experts in all areas of employment and industrial relations. Incredibly responsive and pragmatic with their advice and deliver excellent value for money.’

‘Chloe Luscombe has great expertise in black letter law interpretation issues and turnaround times are phenomenal.’

‘Ros Webby imposes structure on the most factually dense claims and very commercial in her advice.’

Key clients

Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand


New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Inc


The Salvation Army


Lake Taupo Hospice Trust


Te Pūkenga – NZ Institute of Skills & Technology


Wairarapa Building Society


Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission


Ministry of Justice


Information New Zealand


Ministry of Culture and Heritage


Department of Corrections


Department of Conservation


Victoria University


Massey University


Inland Revenue Department


Department of Internal Affairs


Ministry of Education


Fire & Emergency NZ


NZ Defence Force


Accident Compensation Corporation


Fletcher Group


Sky Television


InvoCare New Zealand Ltd


Hilton Haulage


Alliance Group


Wellington City Council


Christchurch City Council


St John Ambulance


Access Community Healthcare


Hokotehi Moriori Trust


SAFE – Save Animals from Exploitation


Work highlights


  • Acting for Te Whatu Ora in a multi-million dollar representative action brought on behalf of 35,000 nurses employed in the public health sector regarding historical claims for back pay in the pay equity space and the claims are being dealt with concurrently in both the Employment Court and Employment Relations Authority.
  • Acted for multiple government departments, including the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, in relation to a challenge to the legitimacy of the government’s vaccine mandate orders in an employment context.
  • Advised Te Whatu Ora on the biggest reform of the health sector to have occurred in New Zealand, which saw the 20 separate DHBs merged into one single mega-agency raising complex legal and strategic employment law issues, including how to integrate 20 separate legal employers and 80,000 employees covered by over 80 different employment agreements.

LangtonHudsonButcher, Lawyers

A specialist employment boutique, LangtonHudsonButcher, Lawyers covers all areas of employment law and industrial relations, including contentious, corporate transactional, and non-contentious matters alike. The practice is spearheaded by Stephen Langton, a lawyer with an illustrious track record in all-manner of litigious matters, including those before the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court; he is based in Auckland where Andrew Schirnack has been increasingly specialising in harassment, bullying and incompatibility matters. Ronelle Tomkinson rounds off the three-partner practice and is often involved in the employment advisory aspects of big-ticket corporate transactions.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Langton


Other key lawyers:

Andrew Schirnack; Ronelle Tomkinson


Testimonials

‘The members of the team that we have interacted with have all shown a real desire to provide practical assistance, and are very responsive, with a quick turnaround of advice or assistance. They are friendly, approachable, and professional.’

‘We predominantly use Andrew Schirnack and we continue to go back to him as he really knows our business, our culture and values, and how we operate. Andrew provides pragmatic, practical advice on ER matters, is very responsive and can relate well to our line managers who are impressed with his down-to-earth advice and approach. ’

‘Not only do they have the deep technical expertise, and lots of specific examples and experiences to draw on, they are flexible in approach, down-to-earth and pragmatic and very clear at explaining options, pros and cons and working through to find the best solution for the business. They really feel like an extension of the team, a true collaborative partner.’

Key clients

Tourism Holdings Limited


Vector Limited


Restaurant Brands


Bayleys Realty Group


GEA New Zealand Limited


Super Retail Group


Tradition Kiwi Brokers Limited


Les Mills New Zealand Limited


Tower Limited


The Birthing Centre Limited


DiDi Mobility (New Zealand) Limited


Unity Technologies New Zealand Limited


Fullers Group Limited


Deloitte


Universal Music New Zealand Limited


China Navigation Company


JB Hi-Fi Group


Canon New Zealand Limited


Godfrey Hirst


Vitaco Health NZ Limited


Beca Limited


Pathology Associates Limited


Green Acres Franchise Group Limited


Accent Group


New Zealand Writers Guild


Legend Story Studios


Green Cross Health


Work highlights


  • Advising The Birthing Centre on a test case in the Employment Court on the scope of the duty to disclose information in a commercial transaction.
  • Advised the Film Industry Working Group that worked with Government on the development of the new Screen Industry Workers Act 2022.
  • Advised Vontier Corporation and Gilbarco Veeder-Root on the NZ employment law aspects of their NZD128m purchase of Invenco Group, which provides technology for self-service payment solutions.

Simpson Grierson

Routinely engaged in cutting-edge matters across the banking, education, health, and sports industries, among others, Simpson Grierson is led by Auckland-based Rebecca Rendle; she is acclaimed for her work in all facets of employment law, from personal grievance claims, holiday pay, and disciplinary processes, through to collective bargaining and restructurings. Phillipa Muir is a further standout name and holds a number of first-of-their-kind cases under her belt, including the first employment law case before the Supreme Court. John Rooney, qualified in both UK and New Zealand law, is a leader in respect of employment-related mediation, while Bronwyn Heenan is a key port of call for several notable public sector clients.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Rendle


Other key lawyers:

Phillipa Muir; John Rooney; Bronwyn Heenan


Testimonials

‘Very responsive and knowledgeable. We have reached a resolution on some long-standing issues, thanks to SG’s involvement.’

‘As they have been our legal representation for a number of years, their knowledge of our organisation, industry and historical issues is superb, and we rely on them for this.’

‘If someone is away, we are always redirected to another subject-matter expert very quickly. Responsiveness and service is clearly a top priority for them.’

Key clients

Chorus New Zealand Limited


Department of Corrections


Ministry of Education


Hall’s Group Limited


Icepak New Zealand Limited


Local Government


Ministry of Disabled People – Whaikaha


New Zealand Defence Force


PGG Wrightson Limited


Te Whatu Ora – Te Toka Tumai


Westpac New Zealand Limited


University of Auckland


Work highlights


  • Acting for the Ministry of education on bargaining three Collective Agreements for Primary Principals.
  • Represented Fonterra Brands (New Zealand) Limited in defending an application brought by an employee to determine the lawfulness of FBNZ directing employees to use biometrics for time and attendance.
  • Representing the Department of Corrections in relation to two ongoing disputes and one completed matter.

Anthony Harper

Anthony Harper splits its offering between employment and health and safety affairs, with the former led by Christchurch-based Anne Wilson and the latter spearheaded by Grant Nicholson in Auckland. The practice is noted for its work on restructuring, collective bargaining, bullying, harassment, exit terms, and disputes, in addition to the full array of workplace incidents, and demonstrates a particular tenacity for matters within the agriculture, construction, government, logistics, film, manufacturing, and tourism industries.

Practice head(s):

Anne Wilson; Grant Nicholson


Testimonials

‘Excellent knowledge in aspects of health and safety law, and the behaviours of regulators during their enquiry.’

‘Easy to work with. Explains things in simple terms suitable for non-lawyers to understand.’

‘Great law firm, highly recommend for health and safety law.’

Key clients

Arvida Group


City Rail Link


Coca-Cola Europacific Partners New Zealand


Commercial Communications Council


Eke Panuku Development Auckland


Fisher & Paykel Healthcare


Leighs Construction


Mansons TCLM


McConnell Dowell Constructors


Mercedes-Benz Group AG


Naylor Love Construction


New Zealand Advertising Producers Group


Ngāti Awa Group Holdings


Nissan NZ/Nissan Financial Services NZ


Oji Fibre Solutions (NZ)


Ōtākaro


Port of Tauranga


Scales Corporation


Vero Liability Insurance


Waste Management NZ


Work highlights


  • Representing White Island Tours in its defence of charges laid by WorkSafe in relation to the Whakaari/White Island eruption, New Zealand’s worst workplace health and safety disaster in a decade.
  • Representing and advising large logistics companies in collective bargaining strategy.
  • Advised a leading public sector infrastructure provider on legal compliance, risk management and corporate governance of health and safety during the development and commissioning billions of dollars of transportation infrastructure.

Chapman Tripp

At Chapman Tripp, the client roster includes corporates, multinationals and public sector organisations, among others, who rely on the team’s far-reaching expertise. Fields of specific expertise include all-manner of employment investigations, senior management exits, and restructurings, in addition the employment components of significant M&A deals. The practice is led from Auckland by Marie Wisker, an acclaimed health and safety specialist, and features Garth Gallaway, a Christchurch-based litigator.

Practice head(s):

Marie Wisker


Other key lawyers:

Garth Gallaway


Testimonials

‘The team I work with at Chapman Tripp NZ are amazing! They are exceedingly knowledgeable, supportive, responsive, practical, proactive and provide very compressive advice – advice that can be trusted. If they don’t know the answer, they actively seek advice from the broader team to support our enquires. We have worked with the team at CT in NZ for 20+ years and have no intention of changing any time soon.’

‘We have a long-standing working relationship with CT NZ, particularly Marie Wisker. I cannot speak highly enough of the team and the support and advice they provide.’

Key clients

T&G Global Limited


BNZ Limited


Oceania Group


Partners Life Limited


Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment


PBT Transport Limited


The Alpine Group Limited


Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Limited


Roche Products (New Zealand) Limited


Roche Diagnostics NZ Limited


Provincial Education Group Limited


Lyttelton Port Company Limited


Dentons New Zealand

Dentons New Zealand is particularly proficient in representing private sector clients, though is likewise well-regarded by aviation, technology, retail, and creative industry clients. Dual qualified in both the UK and New Zealand, James Warren sits at helm the department and is active on whistleblowing, employee relations, compliance, and fraud matters, in addition to the employment aspects of corporate transactions and insolvency; he is based in Auckland where Charlotte Parkhill leverages in-depth knowledge of the Holidays and Human Rights Acts. In Wellington, Renee Butler is a 2022 partner who is already leading a high-end caseload.

Practice head(s):

James Warren


Other key lawyers:

Greg Cain; Charlotte Parkhill; Renee Butler


Testimonials

‘The team provides pragmatic, timely advice, and is not afraid to test their thinking rather than adhere blindly to a predetermined strategy for resolving a matter.’

‘We rely on Greg Cain’s understanding of our business and risk appetite, and ability to set out the options and advice in a way that laypeople can readily understand, particularly as we navigate an area of the law in a dispute resolution context we’ve not had a lot of exposure to previously.’

‘James Warren is truly an exceptional partner to work with. Not only is he responsive, but he adapts to meet our requirements. He also demonstrates a willingness to know more about our industry and business environment, which is invaluable.’

‘Greg Cain is very responsive, and I believe provides advice taking account of how we operate; that is, he understands our organisation in terms of the advice he provides.’

‘The team works well together. They are very available and personable with consistency of support and approach.’

‘Team members are quick to respond and breadth of expertise broad.’

‘Thorough and bespoke advice for many and varied requests for advice.’

‘They are very responsive, provide pragmatic advice, and good to work with.’

Key clients

Airways Corporation of New Zealand


Auckland Transport


CBRE


Cognizant


CPB Contractors


Danone Nutricia


Department of Corrections


Downer


George Weston Foods


Greater Wellington Regional Council


Hastings District Council


Inland Revenue Department


James Hardie


JH Whittaker & Sons Ltd


Maritime New Zealand


Ministry for the Environment


Michael Hill International


Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade


Ministry of Transport


New Zealand Symphony Orchestra


PanPac Forest Products Ltd


The Parliamentary Service


Royal New Zealand Ballet


Sephora


Serco New Zealand Limited


The Health Research Council of New Zealand


The New Zealand Automobile Association


The Order of St John


Tourism New Zealand


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency


WorkSafe NZ


WSP New Zealand


Work highlights


  • Representing the Department of Corrections in a long-running and high-profile case, where an employee is claiming NZ$1m in damages in connection with mental and physical injuries she suffered during a one of New Zealand’s worst prison riots.
  • Acted for CBRE in relation to employment aspects arising from a major transaction involving the purchase of New Zealand’s largest valuation company, TelferYoung.
  • Representing WorkSafe NZ in a major employment claim by a former employee who was made redundant.

DLA Piper New Zealand

At DLA Piper New Zealand, the team has recently acted on health and safety and employment-related M&A work, in addition to a wealth of litigious matters before the Employment Court, High Court, and Employment Relations Authority. The team is headed from Auckland by Laura Scampion, who leverages over 20 years of experience and is dual qualified in both local and UK law. A key distinguisher of the practice is its close collaboration with the firm’s wider APAC and international offices. Carl Blake is a favourite among clients, and leverages his prior experience at the Human Rights Commission when working on contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Laura Scampion


Other key lawyers:

Carl Blake


Testimonials

‘The employment team at DLA Piper are superb technically and can handle the most complex of issues. In saying that they are also willing to assist on minor matters and do it in such a way that is right-sized for the issue at hand. We use DLA Piper for all our employment matters.’

‘Carl Blake is an absolute standout, not only in the DLA team but across the NZ employment law landscape. His calm and pragmatic approach means matters get dealt with quickly and without the level of angst that often comes with the territory. He simply gets on with the job with a minimum amount of fuss and makes dealing with these matters far easier than it might otherwise be.’

‘Carl Blake is the employment lawyer partner that we engage with. He was introduced to us more than 10 years ago and since then he has been our go-to-person for almost all employments issues and matters in our group.’

‘Carl Blake is very professional, a good listener, commercially savvy and more importantly always available, amidst his busy schedule. This is crucial as most of the employment matters involving senior executive team members require urgent attention and without fail, Carl has never disappointed us for the last decade or so.’

Key clients

Discovery Communications LLC


Harrison Grierson


Infrastructure New Zealand


KPMG


Panasonic Avionics Corporation Limited


Mondelez


TBWA


Ethique Limited


OCS Limited


Grant Thornton


Wakatū Corporation


Work highlights


  • Advised BlackRock on the acquisition by GRP III NZ Bidco Limited of 100% of the shares in solarZero Limited by way of a scheme of arrangement.
  • Advising Kono on all employment aspects of the sale of its seafood division to Talley’s.
  • Advised Tiffany and Co on Employment Relations Authority litigation.

Duncan Cotterill

Duncan Cotterill works across the entire spectrum of employment, health and safety, and immigration affairs. The team covers everything from restructurings, wellbeing issues, and disputes, through to workplace conduct investigations and visa applications; it counts the education, construction, transport, insurance, and manufacturing sectors among its key fields of expertise. The team is home to Olivia Lund, a Wellington lawyer with a track record in workplace fatalities and incidents of serious harm.

Other key lawyers:

Olivia Lund; Jessie Lapthorne; Kirsty McDonald; Sarah Townsend; Scott Wilson; Nicola Tiffen; Alastair Espie


Key clients

Microsoft


Wilson Group


Heritage Hotels


QBE


Squirrel Mortgages


Corelogic


AIA International


Hexion


First Security


Hesketh Henry

Hesketh Henry frequently acts for employers, employees, and unions across various industries, including manufacturing, aviation, marine, professional services, and utilities, in addition to the public sector. Based in Auckland, Jim Roberts has close to 30 years’ experience in the field, leveraging an in-depth knowledge of the Employment Contacts Act 1991, Employment Relations Act 2000, and the Labour Relations Act 1987. Roberts co-leads the team, which focuses on disputes, legislative compliance, and health and safety issues, alongside Alison Maelzer and Jodi Sharman.

Practice head(s):

Jim Roberts; Alison Maelzer; Jodi Sharman


Testimonials

‘Highly case-orientated team with pragmatic solutions during tough negotiations’

‘Team are super practical in advise, approachable and connected; if we speak with one person, we know the whole team are going to be across the issue.’

‘Alison Maelzer is the main partner we work with, and she is extremely responsive, efficient and very knowledgable. Nothing is too much trouble, and her advice gives me confidence.’

‘This practice engages in a true partnership with you. What makes them unique is there practical, down-to-earth advice, which is technically excellent but real. They have significant depth behind their answers which you can rely on.’

‘They are people you actually enjoy talking to. The key people have an excellent sense of humour and they make a point of being exceptionally available. They are there for you!’

‘Jim Roberts has significant knowledge he brings to any situation and is one of the best in the employment law field. I would trust his opinion on any matter and he gives you confidence.’

‘What makes Alison Maelzer stand out is her ability to ask you the right questions to get the best answers. Invaluable in terms of cutting to the chase. One of the best I have dealt with in considering all angles in a phone call without any heads up about what you are going to talk labour.’

‘The team is super knowledgeable, capable, and responds quickly.’

Key clients

Restaurant Association of New Zealand


Corrections Association of New Zealand Incorporated


Suncorp Group Services NZ Ltd


Metropolitan Glass & Glazing Ltd


Northpower Ltd


Baker Tilly Staples Rodway Ltd


Aviation & Marine Engineers Association


InterMed Medical Ltd


Hella New Zealand Ltd


German-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Incorporated


Amy Tea Consulting Limited


Behemoth Brewing Company Ltd


Sitel New Zealand Ltd


GUD NZ Holdings Ltd


Construkt Architects Ltd


Work highlights


  • Advising the Restaurant Association of New Zealand, which represents the majority of restaurants and cafes in New Zealand, on a union application for a Fair Pay Agreement, the first FPA in New Zealand for the hospitality sector following the enactment of The Fair Pay Agreements Act 2022.
  • Represented the Corrections Association of New Zealand Inc successfully from an application by the Chief Executive of the Department of Corrections to dismiss important proceedings in relation to a prison riot and staff safety.
  • Advised Suncorp Group Services NZ Ltd, which has over 900 employees in New Zealand, on a wide range of employment and associated matters, including assisting with a complex disciplinary process for a senior employee, and providing strategic advice for union bargaining purposes.

Jennifer Mills & Associates

Founded in Auckland in 2018, Jennifer Mills & Associates was established by the firm’s namesake, Jennifer Mills, an expert in contentious, health and safety, industrial relation, remuneration, and executive exit mandates. She is supported by senior associate Ethelred Chey, whose workload spans legislative compliance, collective bargaining, and disciplinary matters, among others.

Practice head(s):

Jennifer Mills


Other key lawyers:

Ethelred Chey


Testimonials

‘Jennifer Mills is exceptional, really takes a commercial approach and is focused on the best outcomes. Her legal mind is second to no one. Her written communication is the best I have seen.’

‘Jennifer Mills is one of the most experienced and capable lawyers in the employment law area in New Zealand. This is an area where specialisation does count as it is very technical but in addition good judgement is required and she has that.’

‘Jennifer Mills is what makes the practice unique. Her pragmatism along with depth of knowledge and experience is what sets the practice apart from others.’

Key clients

Amazon Web Services


Seyfarth Shaw


King & Spalding


DHL Global Forwarding


Foley Wines and Foley Hospitality Limited


CSR Building Products


James Pascoe Group


JB Were


Marlborough Lines


United Industries Limited


Platform Homes Limited


Johnson & Laird


Sisters of Mercy Ministries NZ


Mercy Healthcare Auckland Limited


A2 Milk


Portwest


West Auckland Trust Services Limited


Sharp Corporation of New Zealand


Millennium & Copthorne Hotels New Zealand Limited


Summerset Group Holdings Limited


Work highlights


  • Advising King & Spalding’s multinational clients who operate in New Zealand (including Amazon and Cisco).
  • Advised Marlborough Lines on its collective bargaining process with their union members.
  • Advised DHL Global Forwarding on all employment matters arising in New Zealand.

Kiely Thompson Caisley

A specialist employment boutique in Auckland, Kiely Thompson Caisley has litigated at all levels, from cases before the Employment Relations Authority all the way through to the Supreme Court. Founding partners Peter Kiely and Andrew Caisley respectively serve as authorities on collective bargaining, meanwhile David France is a go-to for manufacturing, retail, and aviation sector clients, among others. Scott Worthy is also a standout contact for restructuring, redundancy, disciplinary processes, and health and safety matters.

Practice head(s):

Peter Kiely; Andrew Caisley; David France; Simon Lapthorne; Laura Chapman; Scott Worthy


Testimonials

‘Good level of experience and ability to advise and support through the most complex and challenging of problems.’

‘Good level of insight that brings so much more than just a legal opinion.’

‘Advice provided achieves cut through to get to a resolution. Quality of advice provided through Fair Pay Agreements in particular is unrivalled.’

Key clients

ABB Limited


Air New Zealand Limited


Altus NZ Ltd


Anzor Fasteners Limited


Babbage Corporate Finance Limited


Barkers Clothing Ltd


Blackburn Transport Limited


BMW Group


Brand Developers Ltd


Bunnings Ltd


Civil Aviation Authority


Catholic Diocese of Auckland


CMA CGM Group Agencies (NZ) Ltd


Consult Recruitment Ltd


COSCO Shipping Lines (New Zealand) Limited


Craigs Investment Partners


Crown Infrastructure Partners Ltd


Evolution Healthcare Limited


Foodstuffs North Island NZ Limited


Fox Glacier Guides


Franklin Smith Limited


Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories Limited


Hapag Lloyd (New Zealand) Ltd


Jarden Partners Limited


JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A.


MECCA Brands NZ Pty Ltd


Mercury NZ Ltd


Milk NZ Management Ltd


Neurological Foundation


NZ Bus Limited


Oji Fibre Solutions (NZ) Ltd


Planit Testing & Management Pty Ltd


Port of Napier


Radius Residential Care Limited


Rexel New Zealand t/a Ideal Electrical


Salus Aviation Limited


Sanofi-Aventis Australasia


Sealord Group Limited


Whakatane Mill Limited


Sistema Plastics Limited


SkyBus NZ Limited


SpecSavers New Zealand Limited


Spirax Sarco Ltd – New Zealand


The Cosmetic Clinic New Zealand Limited


Channel Infrastructure NZ Limited


The University of Waikato


The Warehouse Group


Warner Bros. International Television Production New Zealand


Watershed Limited


WOOP Limited


Work highlights


  • Represented Mt Cook Airline Limited in an appeal to the Court of Appeal on a question of law arising from a decision of the Employment Court.
  • Represented Skybus NZ Ltd in the Court of Appeal, where it was considered if the Employment Court erred in holding it had no authority to order a stay of a costs determination.
  • Represented Business New Zealand as intervenor in a dispute regarding an employer requiring its employees to use annual leave during a lockdown.

Lane Neave

With office situated across Christchurch, Auckland, Wellington, and Queenstown, the employment practice at Lane Neave is all-encompassing, covering disputes, immigration, and health and safety matters, through to privacy, human rights, and people and culture strategies. Andrew Shaw is the firm’s managing partner and notably serves on the New Zealand Law Society ACC Committee.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Shaw; Fiona McMillan; Andy Bell; Mark Williams; Rachael Mason; Julia Strickett


Testimonials

‘Everyone is very knowledgeable, they are very much people focused and very approachable and available. ’

‘I find the individuals I have worked with over the past 5 years able to provide no nonsense practical advice. They get rid of the legal jargon and help you understand the options available to you in a way that just makes sense!’

‘The depth of expertise within Lane Neaves team is amazing. It’s not just a one-person response. Where necessary the entire team is utilised to provide the specialist answers and responses. I have felt at ease to engage with Lane Neave on a variety of employment questions and issues for my company.’

‘Lane Neave is highly responsive in a timely manner. They apply critical thinking to all the opinions and advice they give.’

‘They listen and consider the client’s perspective with alacrity and a clear legal perspective providing excellent support in both advisory and litigious situations.’

‘Andrew Shaw is an outstanding practitioner. He is a wise and experienced legal mind, who provides incisive support and excellent service.’

‘Lane Neave provides big law firm quality at a much more affordable price. We especially appreciate their pragmatic approach to both advice and drafting and their willingness to package it in a way our board members can easily digest.’

‘We enjoy the relaxed and friendly style of the lawyers we use at Lane Neave across all levels. While they are all technically expert blackletter lawyers, they have taken the time to understand our organisation and our drivers and concerns.’

Key clients

Te Whatu Ora – Health NZ


Lifelinks New Zealand Limited


Winstone Wallboards


Accor Hotels


Work highlights


  • Advised Te Whatu Ora – Health NZ with on a long-term secondment arrangement, over a range of matters, such as complex serious misconduct investigation.
  • Acting for Lifelinks New Zealand Limited in a matter before the Employment Relations Authority, which is part of a number of cases being heard in New Zealand dealing with the complex legal issue of the employment status of caregivers.
  • Acting for Accor Hotels in relation to a wide variety of immigration matters, including training information to the HR and recruitment teams regarding key policy criteria.

Russell McVeagh

At Russell McVeagh, key pillars of the practice encompass union-related affairs, including related disputes, senior executive departures, health and safety issues, and employment-related regulation. The practice is fronted from Auckland by Kylie Dunn, whose track record spans collective bargaining, industrial action, professional misconduct, business sales, and personal grievances. Dunn is supported by Emma Peterson, who is praised as an ‘exceptional employment lawyer'.

Practice head(s):

Kylie Dunn


Other key lawyers:

Emma Peterson


Testimonials

‘Capability is second-to-none. The employment law team are commercially astute and provide operationally feasible options to our complex business.’

‘Having an in-house legal team, we are not after the run of the mill basic advice and Russell McVeagh always delivers advice on complex matters with options that we can realistically implement.’

‘Emma Peterson is an exceptional employment practitioner. She is always pragmatic in her advice and understands the needs of our business. She breaks down complex legal concepts into easily digestible pieces that our business can understand and provides practical, commercially appropriate options and recommendations.’

‘Emma Peterson is always available to pick up the phone and chat. She is responsive. She knows her area of expertise well.’

‘The team works together well, interchangeable from a customer perspective. Depth of experience in the industry and our company are a major benefit.’

‘Extremely experienced and knowledgeable, responses are usually immediate given vast knowledge base and ability to quickly get to the core legal issues.’

‘Very efficient, relevant and pragmatic.’

‘Both Kylie Dunn and Emma Peterson are outstanding in the 15 years plus we have been dealing with them.’

Key clients

SkyCity Entertainment Group


Tasman Cargo Airlines


Fisher Funds


HungryPanda


High Performance Sport NZ


Revex Piling Limited


Ballance Agri-Nutrients Ltd


Sanford


Uber


McCain


Skyline Enterprises


Work highlights


  • Advising Fisher Funds on its purchase of Kiwi Wealth for NZ$310m and related integration matters.
  • Representing Uber in its appeal of the classification of drivers as either employees or independent contractors.
  • Representing Tasman Cargo Airlines in disciplinary processes with two pilots who were terminated for failing to follow lawful and reasonable directions in relation to health and safety.

SBM Legal

SBM Legal caters to a client base of domestic and international employers, high-profile unions, and government agencies. The Auckland-based team is led by managing partner Anthony Russell and also features Penny Swarbrick, a disputes expert with a focus on the retail sector, in addition to Bridget Smith, who often oversees independent investigations. Matthew McGoldrick is a go-to for retail, manufacturing, and sports sector clients, meanwhile special counsel Tim Oldfield is an industrial relations expert.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Russell


Other key lawyers:

Penny Swarbrick; Bridget Smith; Matthew McGoldrick; Tim Oldfield


Testimonials

‘Significant body of knowledge across industries, well-informed, and able to contextualise our needs and advice. ’

‘Partner really understands our business, the challenges we face, the practicalities of our workplaces and implications for advice that is provided.’

‘We have an in-house legal team, HR Team, and IR Team, so quite an internal capability, however we still find ourselves using SBM for their excellence in employment matters.’

Key clients

KiwiRail Limited


Waitemata – Te Whatu Ora Health NZ


CLL Service and Solutions Ltd


City Rail Link Limited


AUT University


Armourguard Security


Mitre 10 New Zealand Ltd


Gavin Pollard


Lyn Soapi, Danny Lau and Mary Lau


Pulp & Paper Workers’ Union


Concept Travel


Work highlights


  • Represented Te Whatu Ora – Waitemata in a very complex case that involved the inter-relationship of the legal concept of incompatibility and medical incapacity.
  • Represented Gavin Pollard in the High Court in a complex commercial dispute where employment rights and obligations and the jurisdiction of the High Court to entertain such claims (as opposed to the employment jurisdiction) was a significant aspect of the dispute.
  • Assisted a group of vulnerable migrant workers from Solomon Islands who did not receive the minimum standards of employment required in New Zealand on a pro bono basis.

Anderson Lloyd

Anderson Lloyd is co-headed by John Farrow, based in Dunedin, and Ashley-Jayne (AJ) Lodge, who works from Christchurch. Their team covers a broad variety of work, from workplace investigations, employment litigation, and disciplinary processes, through to restructurings, health and safety, and procedure and policy mandates.

Practice head(s):

John Farrow; Ashley-Jayne (AJ) Lodge


Testimonials

‘They are up-to-date with current knowledge, pragmatic with their solutions.’

‘They obviously know their business and the administration matches the attention to detail with their clients. Overall though they are just good people to do business with.’

‘John Farrow is exceptionally knowledgeable, relatable and for someone with his knowledge, experience and reputation refreshingly ego free and focused on his clients. Sincere engaging and focused, with a good sense of humour, I always feel better for having our paths cross.’

Key clients

Tetra Pak (New Zealand) Limited


ANZCO Foods Limited


Department of Conservation


Oceana Gold NZ Ltd


Scott Technology Ltd


Night ‘N Day Foodstores Limited


4Sight Consulting


University of Otago


Dunedin City Council


Te Whatu Ora – Southern


Work highlights


  • Represented Transport Services Southland Limited and Herberts Transport Limited in sentencing for a prosecution of multiple PCBUs under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
  • Acted for listed company Scott Technology Limited in Employment Relations Authority (and now Employment Court) proceedings.
  • Represented Hokotehi Moriori Trust in an Employment Relations Authority hearing (Wellington) regarding a dispute about whether a staff member was an employee or independent contractor.

Tompkins Wake

Tompkins Wake works across disputes, collective bargaining, personal grievances, restructuring, and misconduct mandates, in addition to health and safety, dismissal and disciplinary issues. The practice is led by Mark Hammond in Hamilton, and he is particularly astute in representing local government clients, though the wider team also holds expertise in industries such as retail, logistics, and manufacturing.

Practice head(s):

Mark Hammond


Other key lawyers:

Fraser Wood; Daniel Erickson


Testimonials

‘The Tompkins Wake employment team has supported us across a wide range of employment issues, from policy updates through to personal grievance claims.’

‘Diversity of competencies and skills.’

‘Knowledge and practical advice, they look to provide a level of ethical fairness to each party.’

‘A highly trusted and experienced team.’

‘Depth of knowledge and experience provides credibility and confidence.’

Key clients

Cotton On Group


Flight Centre Travel Group


Waste Management NZ Limited


Pact Group


Work highlights


  • Represented a transport contractor in a health and safety prosecution initiated by Maritime NZ following an incident on the Cook Strait ferry.
  • Early Settler Retail Group is a large New Zealand furniture retailer.

Wynn Williams

Home to expertise in legislation application, health and safety issues, disputes, and industrial relations, among other matters, the team at Wynn Williams is headed by Amanda Douglas; she operates from Christchurch and frequently advises on personal grievances, exits, misconduct allegations, restructuring, and performance management mandates. Key industries include the public sector, namely local authorities, in addition to construction, transport, healthcare, insurance, media, and retail.

Practice head(s):

Amanda Douglas


Other key lawyers:

Anthony Drake


Testimonials

‘Wynn Williams’ labour and employment team are readily available to assist with a myriad of employment issues, and there is always a lawyer willing to advise on practical steps to deal competently with a crisis. The team is unique, as they have a great understanding of the public sector and the added complexities that this environment brings.’

‘Amanda Douglas is a very approachable and levelheaded advisor, who has become a trusted contact that is able to cut through the noise and focus on the most pressing issues and navigate to a workable solution.’

‘Amanda Douglas is pragmatic and is able to provide appropriate legal assistance to keep our organisation safe and able to fulfil its obligations to its employees. ’

Key clients

McKay Limited


Turuki Healthcare Charitable Trust


Heart Kids New Zealand Incorporated


New Zealand Defence Force


Work highlights


  • Advising a client on negotiating with the Labour inspector to lift an improvement notice in place for a prominent racing stable.
  • Representing Turuki Healthcare Charitable Trust in various levels, up to and including the Supreme Court, in litigation arising in relation to a previously settled personal grievance.
  • Advising a client in negotiating a resolution to a complex personal grievance, with significant media attention on behalf of a high-profile national sporting organisation.