Procurement and contracting

Procurement and contracting activities throughout the public sector provide an important foundation for significant and wide-ranging government initiatives. We provide advisory, drafting and negotiation services to public sector agencies, across the full procurement and contracting lifecycle, to enable them to meet their preferred outcomes and keep them safe.  Set out below is an overview of how we can help in these areas.

Public sector procurement is becoming increasingly important and, in some areas, increasingly complex. In recent years we have seen a strong transition from, for the most part, individual agencies doing their own thing, to the pooling of resource and the leveraging of purchasing power through syndicated, all-of-government and now common capability procurement. With expansion of the Government’s Procurement Reform Programme, and more recently the Better Public Services initiatives and the functional leadership that has been put in place in relation to substantial areas of government spend, these collaborative approaches to government procurement are only likely to increase.

At the same time, the new Government Rules of Sourcing change the rules in certain significant respects, for both purchasing agencies and suppliers alike. For example, they will require many tenders to be open for responses for longer than previously, they expressly contemplate open-ended panel arrangements and the use of competitive dialogue processes, and they bring in a new category of collaborative contract called common capability contracts.

We are thoroughly conversant with New Zealand’s procurement frameworks and apply them in a manner that both mitigates risk and enables agencies to meet their objectives. We have a thorough understanding of the issues inherent in complex, panel, syndicated, all-of-government and common capability procurement and the channels through which procurement-related challenges can be made.


Like public sector procurement, the government contracting environment can be complex and dynamic. Many projects are undertaken in a fiscally-challenged climate where risks of service failure, security breach and adverse publicity are top of mind. This doesn’t mean that contracts need to be overly complicated and long. Rather, there is a need for agreements that focus on what is important to the client while dealing with risks and relationships in a balanced and effective manner.

Sometimes the insight and practical knowledge gleaned from cross-government and wider public sector experience in developing and negotiating these types of contracts is not available internally for specific projects.  We help solve that problem by providing a team that has decades of experience in helping a diverse range of agencies with some of their most significant and complex contracts.  We like to think that this collective experience is not locked away in separate firms or departments.

All members of our team have acted as both in-house counsel and external counsel, providing us with deep understanding of the issues that can and do arise in complex projects.  We also have considerable experience in advising on private sector contracts and can therefore provide a perspective on the issues facing private sector suppliers.

In a nutshell, we are passionate about developing and negotiating agreements that our clients would say help them achieve their objectives in a more useable and cost effective manner.


Between us, our recent experience includes:

  • playing central roles in the establishment of panel contracts for departments across a broad range of technology and commercial subject areas;
  • providing wide-ranging tendering, probity and contracting advice on large projects, including the syndicated procurement of telecommunication services, the build contract for an all-of-government system, the government’s syndicated panel of infrastructure as a service, a syndicated ICT services aggregation contract, the G2012 Microsoft licensing framework, the syndicated common web professional services panel, the syndicated Microsoft Large Agency Reseller panel, the syndicated common web services platform contract and particular aspects of common capability ICT contracts;
  • the design of, and probity advice in relation to, a competitive dialogue process for a complex partnering arrangement;
  • advice on procurement-related machinery of government issues;
  • preparation of tender document templates, drafting or assistance with multiple project-specific RFPs and day to day procurement-related advice;
  • management and resolution of procurement-related risk and challenge;
  • drafting and negotiation of large numbers of technology and other commercial contracts, including IT master agreements, contracts for software development and maintenance, hosting agreements, IT services agreements, outsourcing agreements, alliance agreements, syndicated IT agreements, website terms of use, software as a service agreements and online terms, and API terms;
  • negotiation of software licensing terms with national and multinational suppliers;
  • negotiation of indemnity provisions with an array of IT suppliers;
  • drafting and negotiation of an agreement recording substantial government investment in high-performance computing infrastructure for New Zealand’s science sector;
  • reviewing retail energy supply contracts against ‘benchmarks’ approved by the Minister of Energy;
  • advising on open source software licensing, including in relation to the GPL, BSD and Apache licenses;
  • advising on and drafting IT contracts that deploy agile development methodologies; and
  • presenting a New Zealand Law Society conference paper on public sector ICT procurement.