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Portrait of Peter Chemis

Peter is National Chairman of Buddle Findlay and has been a partner of the firm for 17 years.  He specialises in employment law, industrial relations and commercial litigation, and leads Buddle Findlay’s national employment team.

Peter works predominantly in the health, education, financial, energy and transport sectors.  His experience spans both private and public sectors and he regularly advises clients on the employment and industrial aspects of large mergers, acquisitions, restructurings and organisational change.

Peter has advised successive governments on changes to employment legislation.  He chaired the Government Advisory Group which advised on the review of the Holidays Act 1981, and the Health and Safety in Employment Implementation Advisory Panel, which advised the Department of Labour and the government on the implementation of the amendments to the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

Peter also chaired a bipartite committee of unions and DHBs to help establish a code of good faith for the health sector.

In the private sector, Peter provides strategic industrial and employment advice to a number of large organisations, including Contact Energy, Chevron New Zealand, GE and ANZ National Bank.

In the public sector his clients include New Zealand’s District Health Boards, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Development, KiwiRail (including the Interislander), Massey University, Crown Law, Kiwibank, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, and the New Zealand Transport Agency.

Peter regularly appears in the Employment Relations Authority, the Employment Court and the Court of Appeal.

Recent work includes:

  • Representing all 21 District Health Boards in the Full Court of the Employment Court in a good faith bargaining case brought by the junior doctors union
  • Assisting KiwiRail with the merger of the rail infrastructure and transport business and the merger of the two senior management teams
  • Advising Chevron New Zealand on the restructuring of its New Zealand workforce and the relocation of its head office from Wellington to Auckland, working through complex structural changes and job sizing issues and assisting in the design of contractually compliant relocation packages
  • Assisting all six New Zealand universities in their MECA negotiations with three tertiary education unions
  • Representing a large meat company in a novel industrial case against a union in the Employment Relations Authority, Employment Court and Court of Appeal
  • Advising clients including Contact Energy, KiwiRail (and its predecessors) and ANZ National Bank on the institutional impacts of large mergers, acquisitions and restructurings, and employment issues generally
  • Acting for District Health Boards New Zealand regarding bargaining, industrial action, and the code of good faith and life-preserving services
  • Acting for Massey University in a landmark full court of the Employment Court case, concerning the nature and extent of employers’ consultation obligations during restructuring and redeployment processes
  • Acting for KiwiRail (and its predecessors) in relation to various industrial action on the Interislander ferries, including obtaining injunctions to prevent unlawful strikes
  • Acting for ANZ National Bank in proceedings against the union (FINSEC) in relation to breaches of good faith during bargaining
  • Acting for the Head of Jetstar in a significant restraint of trade case against Air New Zealand
  • Acting for the Reserve Bank in the Employment Court and Court of Appeal in a complex contractual employment dispute with senior employees.
  • LLB Victoria University of Wellington