Buddle Findlay brings a pragmatic, problem-solving approach to employment law. We take into account not only the legal aspects of employment relationship issues but the practical and interpersonal factors too.


We take into account not only the legal aspects of an employment relationship issue, but also the practical and interpersonal factors, and our clients’ strategic goals.

Our team are skilled and proactive advocates at mediation, in the Employment Relations Authority and Employment Court, and in the civil and appellate courts.  Members of our team have practised in Australia and the United Kingdom, and we regularly advise clients based off-shore.

We have excellent working relationships with the Employment Relations Service, Mediation Service, the Employment Relations Authority, Employment Court, and other employment lawyers.  We also have good working relationships with key stakeholders in the employment relations field, including the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Council of Trade Unions and Business New Zealand.  These relationships assist our clients to achieve their objectives in a cost-effective and timely way.

We help our clients achieve practical solutions to their legal problems and provide legal and strategic advice to corporate clients in both the public and private sectors, and to individuals.

We provide advice and assistance across the full range of employment issues, including:

  • Design and implementation of change and restructuring processes
  • Advice and representation in collective bargaining, and in other interactions with unions and collectivised workforces
  • Advice to parties on mergers, acquisitions and outsourcing
  • Best practice procedures for hiring employees, performance management, misconduct investigations and dismissal
  • Avoidance and resolution of personal grievances, disputes and other employment relationship problems
  • Protection of confidential information and intellectual property, including the enforcement of restraints of trade
  • Negotiating and drafting employment agreements, contracts for services and policies
  • Undertaking independent investigations into serious misconduct and other complaints
  • Advice on holidays and leave, KiwiSaver and superannuation, information and privacy, accident compensation, discrimination, harassment and bullying, remuneration and medical, stress and disability issues.
  • Tier 1, Employment - Legal 500 Asia Pacific

Work highlights

Providing strategic industrial relations advice

during collective bargaining for employers such as ANZ Bank, Kiwirail, Steel & Tube, Kiwibank, Massey University, Unitec Institute of Technology, Manukau Institute of Technology, Wellington International Airport and all New Zealand District Health Boards. This has included advice on communications during bargaining, strikes and lockouts, union ballots, information requests, strike and initiation notices, suspension, good faith issues, and life preserving services.

Advising Waiaraki Institute of Technology and Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, Eastern Institute of Technology and Tairawhiti Polytechnic, and Aoraki Polytechnic and Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology

on their respective mergers

Representing Capital & Coast District Health Board

in a test case in the Employment Relations Authority and Full Court of the Employment Court on a claim that home-based relief carers funded through the national Carer Support scheme were employees of the Ministry of Health and District Health Board

Acting for Precision Tracking (a GPS technology company)

in the Employment Relations Authority and Employment Court against its former Managing Director for significant breaches of confidentiality and to enforce his restrictive covenants, together with proceedings against his new employer in the High Court based on conspiracy and inducement of breach of contract

Assisting employers such as New Zealand Customs Service, Department of Conservation, KiwiRail, New Zealand Post, Kiwibank, Massey University, GE, Chevron, Trade Me, Steel & Tube, Unitec and Manukau Institute of Technology

with major change processes and restructuring

Advising employers and investors such as Chevron, GE, Goldman Sachs, Morrison and Co, Rangatira, Navico, Steel & Tube, Vector and New Zealand Post

on the employment related aspects of sale and purchase transactions, including due diligence, technical redundancy, negotiation of terms, superannuation and implementation issues


Our team

Hamish Kynaston

Hamish Kynaston

Partner, Wellington
Board of Management

Hamish specialises in employment relations, litigation, health law, health and safety, and education…

  • DDI +64 4 462 0439
  • M +64 21 279 2147


Peter Chemis

Peter Chemis

Partner, Wellington

Peter specialises in employment law, industrial relations and related areas, and leads Buddle Findlay’s national employment team…

  • DDI +64 4 498 7339
  • M +64 27 444 6619


Sherridan Cook

Sherridan Cook

Partner, Auckland
Board of Management

Sherridan specialises in employment, industrial relations and health and safety as well as litigation and dispute resolution…

  • DDI +64 9 357 1858
  • M +64 27 545 9768


Susan Rowe

Susan Rowe

Partner, Christchurch

Susan specialises in litigation, local government, insurance, industrial relations and health and safety. Susan currently advises…

  • DDI +64 3 371 3517
  • M +64 27 537 7784