Sarah Salmond


Within a broad public and regulatory practice, Sarah specialises in advising clients on the laws governing the food, healthcare, technology, industrial products and consumer goods sectors. She also focuses on helping clients navigate all aspects of government decision-making, regulatory investigations, international trade and financial sanctions. She is named on NZ Lawyer's Elite Women List 2023.

Sarah routinely assists private sector clients with complex, sensitive, and often high-profile public law, regulatory and government relations matters. She helps them to understand complex legal requirements, conduct due diligence, capitalise on regulatory opportunities, file and contest Official Information Act requests, participate effectively in regulatory investigations and public inquiries, present persuasively in disputes with decision-makers, and develop arguments and strategies that secure favourable legislative and policy changes. She is personally recognised for Public Law and her team is ranked Band 1 for Public Law by Chambers Asia Pacific 2024. She is also personally ranked for Government Practice and Public Law by the Best Lawyers™ in New Zealand.

Sarah's market-leading international trade expertise spans the areas of economic and financial sanctions, customs law and procedure, export controls, import restrictions, anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations, shipping and maritime law, bilateral trade and investment agreements, and World Trade Organisation rules and disputes. She was named Asia Pacific’s International Trade Lawyer of the Year at the Women in Business Law Awards 2023 and is the only lawyer from a major New Zealand law firm recognised for Trade Law by The Best Lawyers™ in New Zealand.

Sarah's financial crime-related work spans economic and financial sanctions, anti-bribery and corruption, trade-based money laundering, scams and online fraud.

Sarah's clients include Airwork, Amazon Web Services, Apple, ASB, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Channel Infrastructure, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, GlaxoSmithKline, Fonterra, Lamb Weston, Leidos, Masport, Meta, Pan Pac, Roof TG, Sanitarium, Sealord, UK Department for Business and Trade, Westpac, Windstar, World Bank Group and Zespri.

Prior to returning to New Zealand in 2012, Sarah worked in London, Washington D.C., and Paris for 10 years. Before practising law, she was a trade association representative, a regulatory economist, and a New Zealand Government official. This multijurisdictional and multidisciplinary experience gives Sarah a unique and valuable perspective on international and complex regulatory matters.

Renowned as a strategic thinker, Sarah has clear vision, strong communication skills, commitment, passion, and integrity. She works to understand her clients’ commercial drivers and provides responsive and tailored advice.

A regular contributor to thought leadership, Sarah has contributed to several books, given many presentations and authored many academic essays and media articles on international trade. She has significant involvement with trade-related organisations. She is a Director of AmCham New Zealand (the American Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand) and a Board Member of TradeWorks NZ (the New Zealand International Business Forum).

Career highlights

Advising banks, traders, investors, insurers, and freight companies on economic and financial sanctions-related matters often relating to Russia, Iran, China, Cuba, Myanmar, North Korea, Syria, or Venezuela). We conduct compliance assessments, develop compliance policies, conduct counterparty due diligence, help structure low risk transactions, prepare suspicious activity reports and voluntary disclosures, assist with regulator engagement and draft law reform submissions. We also represent clients in contentious sanctions cases including Banking Ombudsman Scheme disputes, Human Rights Commission mediations, investigations conducted by the United Nations and the New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States governments, and litigation (including representing the Respondent in Targa Capital Limited v Westpac New Zealand Limited [2023] NZHC 230 and the Defendant in New Zealand Customs Service v Pacific Aerospace Ltd [2018] NZDC 5034).

Providing comprehensive regulatory advice for producers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers of goods and services. This support spans all aspects of a product's "life span", including product standards, regulatory approvals, packaging, labelling, advertising, fair trading laws, consumer guarantee laws, exporting and recalls.

Assisting clients with incident responses, conducting internal investigations, identifying remedial actions, and providing strategic counsel and representation during regulatory investigations. We have considerable experience of participating in regulatory investigations conducted by the Customs Service, the Environmental Protection Authority, the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, the Ministry for Primary Industries, and WorkSafe. Sarah recently led a team of five lawyers providing a dairy company with comprehensive advice relating to the procedural, substantive and reputational aspects of a Ministerial Inquiry into a food safety incident. She has been on the Public Service Commission’s Panel of Lead Inquirors since 2020.

Advising traders and trade facilitators on complex customs matters. We routinely resolve queries relating to: importer and sponsor obligations, tariff classifications, customs valuations, rules of origin, import restrictions, export controls, refunds and drawbacks, customs administration, bonded warehouses, free trade zones, customs controlled areas, and customs broker and freight forwarder relationships. We also represent clients in contentious customs cases before the Customs Service, the Customs Appeal Authority, the Ministry for Primary Industries, and the Environmental Protection Authority.

Providing product safety advice and assisting clients to instigate, carry out and notify product recalls. We recently represented a manufacturer involved in New Zealand’s largest-ever food recall, which attracted significant media and supply chain partner attention. Our work involved conducting an internal investigation, assisting the client to participate effectively in the Ministry for Primary Industries’ related investigation, engaging with retailers and the client’s insurer, engaging technical advisors to assist with remedial actions and process improvements, and responding to customer claims for compensation. The recall was a success and MPI’s investigation was terminated without penalty.

Assisting four multinationals to bring their cutting-edge technologies to New Zealand. This work has involved helping our clients to navigate New Zealand’s regulatory frameworks governing radio equipment, electronic products, cloud computing, and the ophthalmology sector. We are also assisting three New Zealand export industries to secure improved market access for their goods or services to the European Union, India and Singapore.

Securing favourable law and policy reforms for clients. Secured passage of an Amendment Order permitting hazardous waste exports to the United States. Also provided wide-ranging legal, technical, and strategic advice to a telecommunications company seeking Government approval to participate in the development of New Zealand’s 5G network.

Advising the United Kingdom Department for International Trade on the UK-New Zealand free trade agreement negotiations and the UK’s negotiations to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. These appointments were for three years each and resulted from two separate competitive tender processes. We routinely assist traders with cross-border contractual matters.

  • Director, AmCham New Zealand
  • Board Member, New Zealand International Business Forum
  • Member, New Zealand Food and Grocery Council
  • Member, Association of Certified Sanctions Specialists
  • Member, Customs and International Trade Bar Association
  • Member, Law and Economics Association of New Zealand, Inc
  • Member, TradeExperettes
Achievements and recognition
  • Winner, Asia Pacific International Trade Lawyer of the Year, Women in Business Awards Asia Pacific, 2023
  • Recognised, Public Law, Chambers Asia-Pacific
  • Recognised, Elite Women List, NZ Lawyer, 2023
  • Recognised, Trade Law, Best Lawyers
  • Recognised, Government Practice, Best Lawyers
  • Recognised, Public Law, Best Lawyers
  • Finalist, Asia Pacific International Trade Lawyer of the Year, Women in Business Awards Asia Pacific, 2020, 2021
  • Finalist, Asia Pacific Shipping and Maritime Lawyer of the Year, Women in Business Awards Asia Pacific, 2021
  • Finalist, Asia Pacific Offshore Lawyer of the Year, Women in Business Awards Asia Pacific, 2020