Public & Local Government Law.

Working for
the greater

Our Public Law and Local Government team members are experts in getting things done for local and central government.

Acting across the public sector, and as the home of Auckland’s Crown Solicitor warrant since 1922, Meredith Connell’s lawyers have an intuitive understanding of the nature of public decision-making and accountability. We are keenly attuned to legal, regulatory and political risks.

We pride ourselves on keeping the public interest at the centre of our work.

And we get results.

We Act on Every Issue

Our lawyers act for central government and the largest and most active local bodies in New Zealand. We help a range of government departments and Crown entities to make better decisions, save money, implement policy, respond to criticism, minimise litigation risk and to strategically establish precedents for future action.

We assist in drafting by-laws, policies and consultative documents. We responsibly explain and justify government action when under review by Courts and watchdog agencies. And we conduct enforcement actions for local authorities and regulators on every conceivable issue.

Making Calls with Confidence

Our public clients can make calls with confidence. We ensure their decisions are consistent with public and administrative law obligations and wider policy frameworks. And, as part of the most formidable litigation firm in the country, no organisation is better able to defend and resolve public law disputes than we are.

We bring integrity and independence to our work and have acted on major reviews involving issues of probity and the actions of elected officials at New Zealand’s biggest local authorities. 

Our team’s broad experience includes

  • Advising Auckland Council, the Ministry of Education, Watercare Services, the Ministry of Business Innovation and Enterprise, the Official Assignee, District Health Boards, and New Zealand Transport Agency on the interpretation of legislative powers, structuring decision-making, avoiding conflicts of interest, bias and breaches of natural justice, and public consultation
  • Assisting with sensitive official information and Privacy Act requests, including defending responses before the Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner
  • Advising local councils on everything from water issues, food hygiene, alcohol licences, pool fencing, procurement processes, public space safety and nuisance, Building Act compliance, to pollution response, and entry to property
  • Advising local councils on major commercial and public law reviews, including those undertaken by the Office of the Auditor-General
  • Representing Auckland Council in the judicial review brought  by Urban Auckland to oppose Ports of Auckland’s Bledisloe Wharf extensions
  • Assisting Auckland Council and Watercare Services on enactment of by-laws concerning waste water, storm water, trade waste, air quality and many other subjects, including preparing public reports 
  • Extensive advice to Auckland Council on appropriate responses to the collapse of the historic Palace Hotel in Auckland following a renovation 
  • Representing Auckland Council in its successful enforcement of local by-laws to remove “Occupy Auckland” protestors from Aotea Square, including injunction proceedings, officer-based enforcement and a High Court appeal
  • Prosecuting Auckland’s most serious marine and freshwater contamination incident in decades (Oruarangi River purple dye)
  • Representing New Zealand Police and Auckland Council in litigation regarding the intent required in the offence of sale of alcohol to an intoxicated person.