Climate change and emissions trading


We are a leading provider of climate change legal services, advising on all the commercial and regulatory aspects of climate change and emissions trading.  We have advised public and private sector clients on climate change and emissions trading issues since 2003.  We have a deep understanding of the area and can advise on all aspects of climate change legal issues, including regulatory requirements and the implications for business.

Having advised clients on the development and implementation of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS), we have a unique understanding of how the scheme is designed and operates.  Our expertise extends beyond the NZ ETS to other climate change-related regulatory instruments in New Zealand such as the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative.  We also advised on earlier schemes such as the Projects to Reduce Emissions programme and Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements.

We also understand carbon markets, and the challenges and opportunities these present for business. 

We are members of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association and advise on transactions involving the ISDA emissions trading annex.

We present, and contribute to publications, on climate change and emissions trading.  Publications include Brookers DSL Environmental Handbook, CCH Global Climate Change Law Guide and "Forestry in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme:  Design and Prospects for Success", Carbon and Climate Law Review (Vol 3, 2008).

  • Member of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association

Work highlights

Advising Treasury and the Ministry for the Environment

on the development of the NZ ETS (both the original 2008 legislation and the 2009 amendment Act)

Advising clients

on the potential to earn New Zealand units (NZUs) for carbon sequestration in post-1989 forests

Advising on the operation

of the New Zealand Emissions Unit Register

Advising clients

affected by the deforestation liability on pre-1990 forests

Advising clients

on whether carbon costs arising out of the NZ ETS are able to be passed on under contract, and drafting contractual clauses to allow pass through

Advising on NZU sale and purchase agreements

including NZUs about to be transferred to owners of post-1989 forests

Our team

Alastair Hercus

Partner, Wellington

Alastair specialises in public and commercial law. He advises clients on legislative design, decision-making by statutory bodies…

  • DDI +64 4 498 7318
  • M +64 21 449 993


Steve Nightingale

Partner, Wellington

Steve specialises in corporate law including capital raising, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), joint ventures, limited partnership…

  • DDI +64 4 498 7312
  • M +64 27 668 2832