John Conlan

Partner - Corporate and Commercial

John is an experienced corporate lawyer, specialising in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), corporate advisory, and complex commercial contracting and restructuring.

As the division leader of our corporate practice in Wellington, John assists New Zealand and international corporates and financial institutions, as well as the New Zealand Government, to structure complex domestic and cross-border transactions and restructures.  John has also acted on the first secondary Public Private Partnership (PPP) sell down transactions in the New Zealand market.  He has significant Overseas Investment Act experience, having advised on the OIO applications for large overseas investments/ divestments by New Zealand funds and companies.

An expert in commercial contracting, John regularly advises companies on the establishment of limited partnership investment models and joint ventures.  He has particular expertise in the carbon and renewable energy sectors, large and complex supply contracts, leasing arrangements, and asset sale agreements.

John’s clients include Z Energy, AMP Capital Investors, Brookfield Global Asset Management, and Souter Investments as well as a number of listed energy companies.  He has a very strong reputation in the downstream energy sector.  He led Z Energy through its $785 million acquisition of Chevron New Zealand (including the retail site divestments) as its acting General Counsel (on secondment).

His experience working inside a large, listed company gives John a great understanding of client needs.  Combining his in-depth knowledge of corporate law, his international experience from his time at Herbert Smith Freehills in London, and his financial expertise, he provides prompt, specific advice for his clients’ unique circumstances.  Clients praise John’s ability to find solutions to difficult problems and his skill in structuring, project managing, and executing large (and often multi-party) transactions.

John’s expertise has been recognised by leading legal directories, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific and IFLR1000.

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Overview – A very big year

Professional background

Recent work

Earthcare Environmental’s sale of its green waste business to Smart Environmental

Advising Earthcare Environmental and Greenfingers Garden Bags on the sale of their green waste business to Smart Environmental.

AMP Capital’s purchase of a 70% stake in the Wiri prison Public Private Partnership (PPP)

Advising AMP Capital Investors on the purchase of a 70% stake in the Wiri prison PPP.

Infratil and Brookfield Asset Management’s NZ$3.4 billion acquisition of Vodafone New Zealand

Advising Brookfield Asset Management on its shareholding arrangements with Infratil on the $3.4 billion acquisition of Vodafone New Zealand.

Souter Investments divestment of Howick and Eastern and Mana buses

Advising Souter Investments on the sale of the Mana Coach and Howick and Eastern bus businesses.

Establishment of Drylandcarbon Partnership

Advising 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.

Z Energy $785m acquisition of Chevron

Part of the team advising Z Energy on its $785 million acquisition of Chevron New Zealand (which owns and operates the Caltex retail fuel brand in New Zealand).

Sale of shares in renewable power system company

Assisting with the sale of the New Zealand business of Infratec Limited to WEL Networks Limited, a company which specialises in the design, construction and installation of renewable power systems.


  • 2004, New Zealand


  • LLB/BCom, University of Otago


  • Commercial Contracting
  • Corporate Governance and Advisory
  • Energy and Natural Resources
  • Insolvency and Restructuring
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Projects and Joint Ventures


  • Ranked as a Next Generation Partner – Corporate and M&A, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2020-2022)
  • Ranked as a Notable Practitioner – Banking & Finance, Capital Markets (Equity) and M&A, IFLR1000
  • Partner in MinterEllisonRuddWatts' internationally recognised Tier 1 (The Legal 500 Asia Pacific) and Band 1 (Chambers Asia-Pacific) Corporate team