Mei Fern Johnson > Russell McVeagh > Wellington, New Zealand > Lawyer Profile

Russell McVeagh
LEVEL 24, NTT Tower
New Zealand

Work Department

Corporate Advisory




Mei Fern advises on mergers and acquisitions, and complex commercial contracting (including joint ventures and collaborative contracting), with particular expertise in investment in (and procurement of) infrastructure, technology, transport, energy (including oil and gas) and insurance projects. She brings commerciality and operational insight, and a deep understanding of the applicable regulatory frameworks of the industries her projects operate in, including obtaining regulatory consent for foreign investment in New Zealand.

She is experienced in stakeholder management, having worked on high profile, sensitive and multi-party projects, also providing expert advice in major procurement and tendering processes, including Government tender processes.

Mei Fern was admitted to practise in New Zealand in 2000. She’s an experienced adviser to Board members and senior executives, including from her time as (Acting) General Counsel at a substantial and high-profile Crown entity.


Mei Fern is a Russell McVeagh board member and an advisory board member for Totum Limited.
She is a member of Global Women and the Institute of Directors and formerly chaired Russell McVeagh’s Innovation Committee.


LLB (Hons), BCom, University of Auckland.

Lawyer Rankings

New Zealand > Data protection

Russell McVeagh‘s ‘unparalleled‘ practice is co-led by Joe Edwards and Liz Blythe (based in Auckland), and is enhanced by its Wellington team comprising Mei Fern Johnson, Chris Curran and Mark Campbell, who apply their data protection expertise across the telecoms, media, IP and litigation spheres. Nationally recognised litigator Edwards is representing Television New Zealand on its appeal to the High Court following a finding that it had breached an interviewee’s privacy during a news item. This case will set precedent for all domestic broadcasters, including how they engage in jigsaw identification and protecting the identity of sources and interviewees.

New Zealand > Corporate and M&A

(Leading individuals)

Mei Fern JohnsonRussell McVeagh

Financial services, private equity, infrastructure and government and public sector are some of Russell McVeagh‘s key areas of activity for corporate acquisitions, joint ventures and ECM transactions. David Hoare chairs the national practice from Auckland where he draws on over 20 years’ experience, he advises a cross section of high profile clients, among them Pacific Equity Partners and Fonterra, on all aspects corporate and commercial transactions. Joe Windmeyer‘s practice focuses on M&A and securities work, which is complemented by Ben Paterson ’s, David Raudkivi’s and Dan Jones’ experience in private equity and public M&A. Cath Shirley-Brown is another top partner for public and private M&A, joint ventures, shareholder arrangements and acting for central and local government entities. All lawyers are based in Auckland. Mei Fern Johnson in Wellington is recognised for her expertise in investment in (and procurement of) infrastructure, technology, transport and energy projects.

New Zealand > TMT

(Leading individuals)

Mei Fern JohnsonRussell McVeagh

Russell McVeagh has ‘expertise across all practice areas and with very experienced and capable lawyers‘, including in the growing areas of privacy and data protection and cyber security. Specific sector expertise includes the public sector, financial services, media and emerging technology. Mei Fern Johnson and Liz Blythe co-head the group from Wellington and Auckland, respectively, where they advise on a broad mix of development, procurement, outsourcing and commercialisation issues. Joe Edwards focuses on data protection, commercial litigation, IT disputes and defamation cases, and special counsel Louise Taylor specialises in technology contracts and projects.

New Zealand > Transport (rail, road, air and sea)

Russell McVeagh offers significant breadth and depth in the transportation sector. The firm advises on a range of matters in the aviation sector, including planning, regulatory control provisions of the Commerce Act, and on process and methodologies for establishing airport landing charges. On the shipping side, the team has specialist maritime law expertise and its expertise includes advice on chartering and drydocking arrangements and ports and berths access. Key partners in Auckland include Daniel Minhinnick, the national chair of the environment, planning and natural resources group, and Allison Arthur-Young, who specialises in development and large-scale infrastructure projects, along with district and regional planning policy. Simon Pilkinton advises infrastructure providers and major urban developers on all aspects of resource management and environmental law, with expertise in the water, municipal waste, and ports sectors. On the commercial side, Mei Fern Johnson advises on M&A and investment in (and procurement of) infrastructure, transport and energy (including oil and gas) projects, and collaborative contracting.

New Zealand > Projects and resources management (including environment)

Russell McVeagh’s resource management and environment heads Daniel Minhinnick, who provides ‘tailored, responsive commercial advice’, and Allison Arthur-Young advise transport entities on planning approvals for high-value projects such as in the rail, airport, ports and water resources areas. Newly promoted partner Simon Pilkinton represents clients creating mixed-use developments in negotiations with councils and gaining plan changes. Corporate advisory specialists Mei Fern Johnson in Wellington and Joe Windmeyer in Auckland advise on transactions in the energy sector, such as for electricity distribution companies, with Johnson additionally advising  on contracts and alliances for infrastructure projects.