Priority Auckland project sets precedent with MinterEllisonRuddWatts’ help

by Sol Dolor05 Jul 2017
MinterEllisonRuddWatts is advising the New Zealand Government on an Auckland City Rail Link project that sets a new precedent for local and central government partnerships.

The New Zealand Government and the Auckland Council have decided to establish a new legal entity, City Rail Link, to complete the project. This establishes a new model for infrastructure funding and delivery via a special purpose entity.

The entity, jointly owned by the central and local government, is responsible for delivering NZ’s first underground rail system, which is estimated to cost between $2.8bn and $3.4bn.

“With joint funding by the Crown and Auckland Council, this structure creates appropriate transparency to protect the ‘public purse’, while allowing the new entity to get on and deliver the project,” said Sarah Sinclair, lead partner on the project. “The combined knowledge of our team has helped the Crown navigate stakeholder complexity and apply lessons from market best practice, both internationally and in New Zealand.”

The firm manages the drafting and negotiating of the agreements for the Crown, including the bespoke project delivery agreement, between the sponsors and the project company, and sponsors agreement, between the Crown and the Auckland Council.

The firm also leads in the legal reviews of the major construction contracts prior to sponsor approval, and the strategies and processes within the project company to address critical risks such as interface risks. It also assists in the crafting of the output-based sponsors’ requirements and is advising on relevant legislative requirements for the project.

The MinterEllisonRuddWatts team features specialist lawyers from across many practices, including corporate partner Mark Forman and senior lawyers Vimal Nair, Travis Tomlinson, Thomas Kelly, and Jo Carrick-Anderson.

Sarah Sinclair