Agriculture and its related industries are major contributors to the New Zealand economy. Lane Neave’s strength and depth across the entire legal spectrum coupled with our understanding of this diverse sector means we are well placed to assist the businesses and individuals working in the agribusiness field.
We have a talented team of lawyers who know agribusiness, are specialists in their area of law and work together collaboratively to deliver great results. We have not only worked on some of the industry’s largest transactions and disputes but many of our team have a farming background and are aware of the realities our client’s face. We strive to make the complex simple and to provide clear, decisive legal advice which gives real value to our clients.
We act for large corporates, industry associations, individual farmers and small family businesses. We are skilled in all primary industry sectors including dairying, sheep, beef, horticulture, viticulture, fisheries and forestry, along with businesses involved in supplying, distributing and processing.
We can assist you with:
- Property and Conveyancing: Land is often your largest asset. We have an experienced team of property lawyers who can assist with the sale and purchase, leasing and development of land. This includes the more specialist areas of applications under the Overseas Investment Act, leasing and occupation rights of conservation land and the acquisition of land under the Public Works Act.
- Structural Advice: Be it individuals, a company, partnership or family trust; all entities have their advantages, disadvantages and tax implications. It is important that the right entity is used to meet business need and long term objectives. We have a dedicated team of lawyers with decades of experience. They also personally hold directorships, partnerships and trusteeships and have first hand understanding of those roles.
- Banking and Finance: We have a specialist banking law team led by Evelyn Jones who has been recognised in ‘The Best Lawyers in New Zealand 2023 Edition’. Our team regularly acts for banks as well as businesses and individuals. This means we have real insight into both sides of a transaction and are able to give truly specialist advice and guidance. We have acted for lenders in relation to the Farm Debt Mediation Act.
- Corporate Advice: We have one of the largest corporate advisory legal teams in the South Island. Our work in the agri-tech, mining and primary producer sectors is widely recognised and highly valued. This includes acting for large corporate suppliers to the agriculture sector and one of Australasia’s leading agribusiness investment companies.
- Employment: Our employment team has been voted three times as New Zealand’s best employment law firm. We provide a full employment law service from drafting and reviewing employment contracts through to assisting with disciplinary processes and terminations.
- Health and Safety: We have specialist health and safety lawyers who are able to provide practical and robust legal advice. We have acted for farmers after serious injuries and fatalities on farms. Our role included liaising with WorkSafe on our clients’ behalf and no prosecutions were taken.
- Resource Management & Environmental: Our national team is led by Josh Leckie who has a solid reputation for successfully delivering client outcomes for nationally significant projects and complex planning processes. Our team is particularly recognised for its retail, minerals and energy, water, land development and tangata whenua expertise. Examples of work we have undertaken include obtaining complex consents for mining and energy projects, consenting large retail and commercial developments, and representing iwi, tourism and land interests on some of New Zealand’s most controversial and complex regional and district plan reviews.
- Dispute Resolution and Litigation: Our team has a proven track record in the agribusiness and primary industries sector. We are regularly involved in complex cases in these sectors. For example, we acted for a group of dairy farm owners in a successful $16 million claim against Fonterra (Fonterra v McIntyre & Williamson Partnership & Ors  NZSC 197). We have acted for a shareholder of a beef stud farming company in a 7 week trial regard a shareholder disputes and represented a farming company who was the victim of a major fraud committed by its stock agent.
- Construction: We have a dedicated construction law practice who are experts both in negotiating and reviewing building contracts and advising on issues and disputes when they do arise. This includes advising on farming infrastructure such as irrigation and milking sheds.
- Immigration: The fact there is a chronic labour shortage in the food and farming sectors is well known. We have one of the largest and most respected immigration teams in New Zealand and are frequently engaged directly by other law firms to assist their clients. We work with large organisations needing to use high-volume global mobility programmes and smaller organisations with one-off needs.
- Technology: There are many sophisticated technologies that drive agribusiness. It is important that the investment in such assets is protected. We have a specialist technology team led by Graeme Crombie who was recognised in ‘The Best Lawyers in New Zealand 2023 Edition’ in information technology, privacy and data security law. Their experience includes acting for agribusinesses in relation to technology systems implementation and support contracts, using cloud technologies, and advising on app terms, and privacy, data protection and cyber-security issues.
- Competition: This sector is known for collaboration and the sharing of ideas. However the Commerce Act has strict rules about when such collaboration amounts to anti-competitive conduct. We are a specialist in this area with a team led by Anna Ryan who is the current Chair of the Competition Law and Policy Institute of New Zealand. For example, we acted for the New Zealand Tegel Growers Association and the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Chicken Growers Association and obtained authorisation from the Commerce Commission for the Associations’ members to negotiate collectively with Tegel Foods Limited and Inghams Enterprises (NZ) Pty Limited respectively. We frequently give advice to similar groups on how they can legally collaborate.
- Insurance: Following the Christchurch earthquakes, Lane Neave built up a reputation as one of the leading firms representing insureds in dealing with claims against their insurers. We have been involved in the settlement of large claims, appeared in the Courts and made successful complaints to dispute resolution services such as the Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman. We not only deal with property insurance but can assist with health, disability, travel and other types of insurance policies.
- Insolvency & Restructuring: We have specialist insolvency lawyers who have significant expertise in working with businesses and insolvency practitioners in relation to recovery and restructuring options. We understand the key concerns and risks to the parties on both sides of the transaction which gives the best chance of mutually acceptable solutions being achieved. We can also assist businesses and individuals whose creditors have been placed into bankruptcy or liquidation.