Local government

Buddle Findlay provides strategic legal advice to regional and city councils throughout New Zealand.  The depth, experience and knowledge within our local government team ensures tailored advice for all local government projects.


Buddle Findlay is recognised as a national leader in the practice of local government law in New Zealand.

Our local government clients are required to operate and demonstrate accountability in a complex political, financial and regulatory environment.  The successful performance of core functions requires the support of legal advisers with an excellent understanding of that environment, as well as superior technical legal skills.

Buddle Findlay is principal legal adviser to Christchurch City Council, Selwyn District Council and Hurunui District Council, and is a significant provider to the new Auckland Council. 

Prior to the creation of the new Auckland Council on 1 November 2010, Buddle Findlay advised Auckland City Council, Rodney District Council, Waitakere City Council, Auckland Regional Holdings and Metrowater.

We are specialist advisers to a number of other local authorities around New Zealand including Nelson City Council, Hutt City Council, Waikato Regional Council, Marlborough District Council and South Waikato District Council, and have provided project-based advice to others including Waitomo District Council, Matamata-Piako District Council and Taupo District Council.

We also advise local government entities including the Local Government Commission, and we advise the Department of Internal Affairs on local government policy issues.

We are experts in relation to the following legislation:

  • Local Government Acts (1974 and 2002)
  • Local Government (Tamaki Makaurau Reorganisation) Act 2009
  • Local Government (Auckland Council) Act 2009
  • Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Act 2008
  • Resource Management Act 1991
  • Building Act 2004
  • Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 (and its predecessor, the Rating Powers Act 1988)
  • Rating Valuations Act 1998
  • Local Government and Official Information and Meetings Act 1987
  • Local Authorities (Members’ Interests) Act 1968
  • Protected Disclosures Act 2000
  • Local Electoral Act 2001
  • Bylaws Act 1910
  • Public Works Act 1981
  • Public Bodies Leases Act 1969
  • Reserves Act 1977
  • Sale of Liquor Act 1989
  • Health Act 1956
  • Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996
  • Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Act 2002.

Work highlights

Advising Auckland City Council

on its submissions in respect of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance and the Local Government (Auckland Council) Bill

Preparing a report for the Department of Internal Affairs

on the liquor bylaw regime under the Local Government Act

Acting for the Waikato Regional Council

on 4 appeals to the Environment Court regarding statutory planning documents for the coastal environment and in particular, a new set of rules and policies for marina development throughout the region

Acting for the Department of Internal Affairs

at various stages during the drafting and promulgation of the Local Government Act 2002

Advising Local Government New Zealand and the Department of Internal Affairs

on several of the KNOWHOW projects including governance and regulatory

Acting for Auckland City Council

on the acquisition of the Westhaven and Hobson West Marinas from Ports of Auckland, one of the largest transactions ever undertaken by a local authority in New Zealand

Our team

Daniel Kelleher

Partner, Auckland

Daniel specialises in property law and has extensive experience in property sector, corporate, banking and commercial transactions…

  • DDI +64 9 358 7022
  • M +64 21 618 535


David Allen

Partner, Wellington

David specialises in all aspects of resource management, environmental and natural resources law and local government law…

  • DDI +64 4 462 0423
  • M +64 21 955 744


David Randal

Partner, Wellington

David specialises in resource management, environmental and Māori law. He has advised clients at the heart of intensive RMA…

  • DDI +64 4 462 0450
  • M +64 21 742 863


David Thomson

Partner, Auckland

David specialises in corporate and commercial law with considerable experience in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures…

  • DDI +64 9 363 0750
  • M +64 21 668 593


Jennifer Caldwell

Partner, Auckland
National Chair

Jennifer specialises in resource management, environmental and local government law, with extensive experience as a strategic…

  • DDI +64 9 358 7034
  • M +64 21 624 162


John Buchan

Partner, Christchurch

John specialises in corporate and commercial law and in particular, commercial property. He acts on a wide range of transactions…

  • DDI +64 3 371 3504
  • M +64 21 900 124


Kelly Paterson

Partner, Christchurch

Kelly specialises in commercial litigation. She advises on a wide range of commercial litigation issues, including contract disputes…

  • DDI +64 3 371 3547
  • M +64 21 891 028


Lisette Hood

Partner, Auckland

Lisette specialises in corporate and commercial law, with particular emphasis on commercial contracting, corporate governance and merge…

  • DDI +64 9 358 7037
  • M +64 27 220 5123


Mark Odlin

Partner, Christchurch
Board of Management

Mark specialises in corporate and commercial law and advises on a range of financial, commercial and corporate law matters, including…

  • DDI +64 3 371 3525
  • M +64 21 753 769


Paul Beverley

Partner, Wellington

Paul was the National Chair of Buddle Findlay from 2017 to March 2020. Paul specialises in Māori Law, Treaty settlement negotiations…

  • DDI +64 4 462 0406
  • M +64 21 276 9322


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


Tom Bennett

Partner, Auckland

Tom specialises in real estate, construction, procurement and local government…

  • DDI +64 9 363 0665
  • M +64 21 622 228


Tony Wilkinson

Partner, Auckland

Tony has a highly regarded practice acting for public and private sector clients. He is the lead tax advisor for Buddle Findlay’s most…

  • DDI +64 9 358 7066
  • M +64 27 476 6587


Vanessa Evitt

Partner, Auckland

Vanessa specialises in resource management, environmental and local government law. She has acted…

  • DDI +64 9 363 0584
  • M +64 21 754 503


Willie Palmer

Partner, Christchurch

Willie specialises in commercial litigation including construction, insurance and insolvency law. He has broad experience in…

  • DDI +64 3 371 3502
  • M +64 21 377 961