Agriculture, Food and Fisheries

Agriculture, Food and Fisheries

MinterEllisonRuddWatts is proud to act for many of New Zealand’s leading primary sector businesses. Our work stretches from paddock, orchard, forest and ocean, through the growing, processing, packaging, and transportation systems, all the way to market, and ultimately to consumers worldwide.

The primary sectors drive New Zealand’s economy and will play a central role in our COVID-19 recovery. The country’s agriculture, fisheries, food and forestry industries directly employ more than 350,000 people, contribute 7% to GDP, and generate over $36 billion a year in exports. The flow-on effects of this productivity are felt throughout our economy.

Our team includes specialists who work together to find commercial and cost-effective solutions for you and your business. Our industry experience and our network of contacts ensure our clients stay at the forefront of the market.

We are one of the few New Zealand law firms to have a dedicated primary industries team, who have been involved in many of the major transactions in New Zealand over the years, acting for both buyers and sellers of productive land and interests. In primary industry transactions, we draw together specialists from our property, environment, corporate, funds management, finance and tax groups to provide comprehensive and integrated advice.

Recent work

Establishment of DrylandCarbon Partnership – Advised Z Energy Limited, Air New Zealand Limited, Genesis Energy Limited and Contact Energy Limited on the establishment of the DrylandCarbon Partnership – a limited liability partnership that invests in a geographically diversified forest portfolio to sequester carbon.

New Zealand’s first ESG loan – Acted for Synlait in entering the country’s first Environmental, Social and Governance linked loan, where the pricing is based off performance against an external ESG benchmark.

Industry collaboration and joint ventures – Advising industry participants on joint venture and partnering arrangements including: on the structure and establishment of the Red Meat Profit Partnership LP (RMPP), and the restructure of Overseer, a joint venture between MPI and FANZ.

Overseas Investment Act expertise – As well as advising OneFortyOne Plantations on one of New Zealand largest OIO applications, we recently guided Japanese owned, PanPac Forest Products throughout the process and intricacies of the new process to receive the first standing consent for forestry acquisitions under the changes to the Overseas Investment Act.

Industry regulation – Advising primary sector clients on regulatory matters relating to: potential acquisitions; product composition, categorisation and regulatory approvals; food safety and quality; packaging, labelling, health and nutrition claims, trademarks, geographical indications and advertising; and exports, traceability, contingency planning and recalls.

Export disputes – Representing a seafood exporter in a dispute regarding a consignment of non-confirming seafood the company exported to China. This involved advising the client on the parties’ contractual and regulatory obligations in both countries, the merits of two separate insurance claims, and the merits of a potential claim for damages from its New Zealand-based supplier.

Helping strengthen grower ownership – Advising world-leading horticulture company, Zespri on its targeted share issue and buy-back, as part of its strategically important industry realignment initiative.

Primary sector industry associations – Advising a range of industry associations including: Deer Industry New Zealand, the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand, Beef + Lamb New Zealand; on initiatives to support their respective industries.


How we can help

  • Corporate structuring
  • Joint ventures, supply agreements and other commercial contracts
  • Investment structures, foreign investment requirements, Overseas Investment Office consents
  • Legislation, including the Animal Products Act, the Biosecurity Act, the Fisheries Act, the Food Act, the Forests Act and the Wine Act
  • Regulatory, policy and law reform matters
  • Rules governing international trade in primary sector products
  • Environmental and resource management issues, including Emissions Trading Scheme and carbon farming matters
  • Agri-tech solutions
  • Competition and consumer law considerations

Who can help