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Local Government

Our specialist Local Government practice advises councils, local authority and private sector clients interacting with local government.

Acting for a significant number of local authorities across New Zealand, our team are experts in the Local Government Act. We understand the diverse nature of local government and our clients’ legal, regulatory and political risks.

Tompkins Wake provides legal support and strategic advice across the entire spectrum of local authority governance and operations – from the day-to-day provision of local infrastructure, local public services and numerous regulatory and enforcement functions, to strategic advice on policymaking, law reform, and long-term planning.

Our Local Government team has an in-depth understanding of how councils work and the nature of public decision-making and accountability; helping our Local Government clients to ensure their decision-making is consistent with statutory, public and administrative law obligations and wider policy frameworks.

In the private sector, we work to help our clients navigate the complexities of policy and regulation to achieve their commercial outcomes. Our experience in the local government sector enables us to establish and position commercial interests with key decision-makers.

The team works alongside specialists from across Tompkins Wake to ensure our clients have access to the operational and strategic expertise they need on every matter.

Recent examples of our work:

  • AGPAC and Others v Hamilton City Council Co-counsel (with Alan Galbraith QC and Lachlan Muldowney) for Hamilton City Council successfully defending a wide-ranging judicial review challenge to its development contributions policy.
  • Advised Hamilton City Council, Rotorua Lakes Council and Waikato District Council on their Provisional Local Alcohol policies.
  • Representing Hamilton City Council in successfully resolving High Court judicial review proceedings in relation to our client’s local approved products policy (re legal highs) and in relation to fluoridation of the water supply.
  • Representing South Waikato District Council in successfully defending a claim alleging breach of a process contract in relation to a council tender.
  • Rotorua Lakes Council – petition for enquiry relating to the conduct of the 2016 local government elections.
  • Advised Hamilton City Council on its rating review and change from a land value to a capital value rate.
  • Advised Rotorua Lakes Council on its Iwi engagement strategy and governance structure in order to achieve compliance with Local Government Act obligations concerning Maori involvement in decision-making.
  • Advising Hamilton City Council on its 2013 development contributions policy and associated growth funding.
  • Acting for councils on a range of significant infrastructure projects, including the New Zealand Transport Agency’s Waikato Expressway and Huntly and Cambridge Bypasses.

Areas of expertise:

  • Bylaws and Policies
  • Constitutional Law
  • Heritage Processes
  • Official Information (LGOIMA)
  • Public Works Act
  • Judicial Review Proceedings
  • Public Accountability
  • Public Private Partnerships
  • Regulatory and Enforcement Powers
  • Council Hearings
  • Development Contributions
  • Governance and Management
  • Decision Making
  • Local Government Elections
  • Reserves and Endowment Land
  • Services and Powers
  • Warrants
  • Long Term Plan and Annual Plans
  • Rating Reviews
  • Revenue Policy
  • Wastewater Treatment and Discharge
  • Water
  • Council Controlled Organisations
  • Sale and Supply of Alcohol
  • Law Reform
  • Roading

Local Government team

Bridget Parham


Campbell Stewart


Gemma Bodle


James MacGillivray


Kate Cornegé


Kate Hatwell (Searancke)


Mark Renner


Peter Duncan


Theresa Le Bas


Tom Elvin


Linda O'Reilly

Special Counsel

Megan Crocket

Special Counsel

Dr. Edward Willis


Barbara Mead

Senior Associate

Wendy Embling

Senior Associate

Emma Stewart


Kahlia Goss

Senior Solicitor

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