In the News
23 April 2015: Will Aucklanders value the prospect of secession from Auckland Council?
Nikki Pender and Pam McMillan won the Northern Action Group's appeal in the High Court.
The High Court has upheld the Northern Action Group’s appeal against a Local Government Commission decision refusing to assess an application to de-amalgamate North Rodney from Auckland Council. Justice David Collins has found that the Local Government Commission acted unlawfully in rejecting the application. It turned what should have been a simple filtering exercise into a mini-inquiry and irrelevantly took into account submissions by the Auckland Council.
The Court has referred the application back to the Commission. It would have directed the Commission to consider the application, but for the need for further supplementary information on boundaries and evidence of community support from greater Auckland. Once that information has been submitted, it is expected that the Commission will proceed to consider the application.
The Commission must then publicly consult on NAG’s proposal and request any alternative proposals. It is conceivable, for instance, that the rest of the former Rodney district might want to follow North Rodney in restoring the room for local initiatives.
The rural North Rodney community has never wanted to be a part of Auckland Council. The Select Committee considering the Auckland super city agreed with them, but the Government over rode its recommendations. North Rodney was then forced into the Auckland district, despite overwhelming opposition from its residents. Its experience of being part of the super city has served only to prove its initial concerns were justified. The community feels marginalised, disenfranchised and ripped off.
After the Auckland Council was set up, there was a three-year moratorium preventing reorganisation applications affecting it. That moratorium expired in October 2013. NAG applied to the Local Government Commission proposing that North Rodney secede from Auckland Council and set up its own unitary council. A poll showed an overwhelming 90% of North Rodney ratepayers support the proposal.
Justice Collins agreed with NAG that the “statutory grounds to decline to assess a reorganisation application must be exceptional”. He said the law’s intention was that “communities be the focal point of the way local government is organised” and “Parliament’s intention [is] that communities be more empowered to influence the basis upon which local government is reorganised”.
The Commission’s main reason for declining to assess the application was the impact it would have on Auckland Council. Justice Collins concluded the Commission should have been “extremely hesitant to consult with an affected local authority at the screening stage”. Instead of making a prompt evaluation of the Application “the Commission allowed itself to become engaged in an initial assessment in the merits of the Application…. and the arguments advanced by Auckland Council for opposing the Application”.
Justice Collin’s decision on the need to show some community support from the whole of the Auckland region is a challenge. The judge appreciated this “may seem inappropriate in the circumstances of the present case where the area governed by Auckland Council is large and diverse”. He said “it is conceivable that many people living within the district of the Auckland Council would have little to no knowledge of North Rodney”.
Gathering evidence of community support from across the greater Auckland region may seem a stretch for a small community group. But there is no requirement for any specific level of support. Fair-minded people across Auckland, concerned about the excesses of unchallengeable authority may support the restoration of genuine local self government for some people, even if it is only to send a message that there can be a remedy for high-handed treatment.
25 November 2014: Harder for criminals to keep names secret
The number of criminals able to keep their identities secret forever is falling. Nikki Pender, a Principal at Franks Ogilvie, has represented victims of sex crimes, including victims seeking to unmask their abuser through lifting their name suppression. To read more click here. If you have an issue you would like to discuss call Nikki on 04 815 8037
4 November 2014: Harcourts decision may harm respect for heritage
John Harbord warns litigation over the Harcourts building in central Wellington is ruining respect for heritage properties in the region. John's comments appeared in an NBR article by Victoria Young. Click here to read the article and what else John had to say.
30 October 2014: Consumer Interest Upheld - 5 years in the making
After more than five years, the tireless efforts of our client, the Major Electricity Users Group, have finally paid off for energy consumers.
During 2009- 2010, MEUG participated in the Commerce Commission’s inaugural input methodology determination process. MEUG then appealed the Commission’s cost of capital IM to the High Court. It challenged the Commission’s decision to set the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) at the 75th
percentile of the WACC range. After the High Court was critical of a lack of evidence to support the uplift to the 75th
percentile, MEUG and other consumer groups convinced the Commission to review the WACC estimate ahead of next year’s resetting of price-quality paths for Transpower and lines companies. MEUG participated fully in this review.
Today, the Commission announced that from next year on, the 67th
percentile of the WACC range would be used instead of the 75th
percentile for regulated electricity lines and gas pipeline businesses – an approximate saving to consumers of $45m per year.
It has been a privilege for Franks Ogilvie to work closely with Ralph Matthes from MEUG and economic/financial experts from NZIER and Ireland Wallace and Associates during this ground breaking process.
30 October 2014: Lawyer and victims' advocate on Roast Busters inquiry
Nikki Pender has done some victims' advocacy work and she represented a woman who was pack raped by four men in Mt Maunganui. Two of the men convicted of the woman's sex attack were former police officers, Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum. Nikki Pender is a principal at the firm Franks Ogilvie. Nikki was interviewed on Radio NZ's Nine to Noon programme,click here to listen.
25 October 2014: Justice Denied
Nikki Pender recently helped Louise Hemsley get court permission to tell her story on the Sunday programme. Nikki also spoke to reporter Libby Middlebrook about how the facts of the case as presented to the Court by the prosecution and defence undermined Louise’s victim impact statement. To hear Nikki's interview click here.
16 October 2014: Judicial review of abuser's name suppression
Nikki Pender, Franks Ogilvie prinicipal, is looking to take a judicial review to the Court of Appeal to try and get the name suppression of a sexual abuser lifted. His victims have successfully won their battle to lift their own name suppression but are appauled that their abuser's name suppression is still in place. To find out more read the article that appeared in The Star (Christchurch).
29 September 2014: Election 2014 Newsletter
National holds the best hand of any Government since MMP begain in 1996. They can legislate without compromise. To read more click here.
14 August 2014: Name suppression lifted for victims, not offender
Nikki Pender successfully appealed in the Christchurch District Count to have name suppression lifted for two women sexually abused as young girls. Anne-Marie Forsyth and Marie Beaumonth did it so they could expose their abuser and hoped it would be a test case, but it is a hollow victory because his identity is still protected. They hope to seek a review from the High Court. The story was covered by TV3 and Radio NZ. Click on the links for more details
4 July 2014: Caseload on the Herald
"Jock Anderson's Opinion" appears weekly in the NZ Herald. In the 4 July Caseload article "Top Judge's Flag-Burning Past" Justice Ellen France's 2004 High Court ruling that Paul Hopkinson had a legal right to burn the flag as a form of freedom of expression was considered. According to Stephen Franks, who at that time was an MP, "Justice France's view that Mr Hopkinson's flag burning did not breach the Flags, Emblems and Names Protection Act 1981 would not have been shared by a single member of the Parliament that passed the measure." To read the extract click here.
Check out Stephen Franks' current thoughts on elevating judges and strengthening the courts on his website
16 June 2014: Agreement in Principle signed with the iwi and hapū of Te Wairoa
John Harbord, Consultant with Franks & Ogilvie, acted as the Chief Crown Negotiator in negotiating the recent Agreement in Principle with the iwi and hapū of Wairoa to settle their historic grievances. The Agreement in Principle outlines a broad settlement package with a total value of $100 million and will form the basis of a final comprehensive Deed of Settlement. Click here to read more about the Agreement in Principle.
8 May 2014: Snowball Effect
"Equity crowdfunding will rejuvenate financial markets" is an article by Stephen Franks which appeared in the NZ Herald on 8 May. Stephen has agreed to be a director of Snowball Effect, to help make it NZ 's leading equity crowdfunding platform. To read the article click here.
23 April 2014: Keep the flag and get a new one, too
John Harbord's article was published on the NBR website in the Easter holiday review. To read John's innovative approach to the flag debate click here.
John Harbord is a consultant with Franks & Ogilvie.
10 January 2014: Danone's case doesn't appear strong
Stephen Franks was interviewed on Newstalk ZB about the action being taken against Fonterra by Danone. Stephen says Danone does not appear to have a strong case, so could be expecting to settle out of court. Click here to listen to the interview.
20 December 2013: $750 million to consumers
Commerce Commission could deliver $750 million to consumers after High Court win, says Stephen Franks. To read the NBR article click here. Franks & Ogilvie represented the Major Electricity Users Group in the High Court merits review of the Commerce Commission's input methodologies for determining default price paths for monopoly networks.
3 December 2013: Fonterra faces compensation claims
Franks and Ogilvie Principal Stephen Franks talks to Rachel Smalley on KPMG Early Edition about the possibility of Danone taking Fonterra to court over compensation for the botulism scare. Click here to listen to the interview.
24 October 2013: Roading seeks its own rules
Despite criminalisation, the Cartels Bill probably protects cosy capitalism more than current law. Stephen Franks' article appeared in NBR/ October 18, 2013 page 15. To read click here.
16 October 2013: Call for Companies Act to be changed
The New Zealand Contractors Federation is now set to challenge the law. Stephen Franks said on Newstalk ZB it all centres on changes in legislation surrounding the Companies Act in 2007. To read more click here.
Stuff's "Alarm at 'absurd' clawback decision"
says contractors and many other businesses will be left high and dry over payments if a recent Court of Appeal decision is not challenged.
2 October 2013: Super city elections 2013: booklet botch-up 'more widespread than hoped'
The scale of the local election booklet botch-up appears more widespread than first feared, Franks & Ogilvie says ... read about it in this NZ Herald article.
1 October 2013: Faulty election booklets prompt action
Franks & Ogilvie has an unnamed client who is offering rewards of up to $1,500 to people finding the hightest number of election booklets containing errors in a bid to find out the extent of the problem ahead of local elections. To read more click here. Radio NZ reported on mistakes being found from voters as far away as London. Click here for more details.
30 September 2013: How the art of politcs rewards a sure hand
John Harbord's article appeared in the NBR. Click here to read how honestly, truth and the facts speak for themselves.
28 August 2013: A case for reform of Te Ture Whenua Māori Act
John Harbord's commentary "A case for reform of Te Ture Whenua Māori Act" appeared in the NBR online. To read John's article click here. John joined Franks & Ogilvie in July.
25 August 2013: Stephen Franks on TVNZ's Q&A
Stephen Franks appeared on TVNZ's Q&A on Sunday 25 August. Amongst topics discussed was the Labour leadership race. To watch click here.
6 July 2013: What are Labour's problems?
Franks & Ogilvie solicitor, Jordan Willams shared his thoughts on the Labour party on the Nation. To see what was said click here.
24 June 2013: John Harbord's appointment announced by Franks & Ogilvie
Media Release: Franks & Ogilvie announce appointment of John Harbord. To read click here.
14 June 2013: Crown Accountability
Pam McMillan's article on crown accountability under the Health and Safety in Employment Act was published in the magazine Safeguard. Click here to read.
14 June 2013: Companies and Limited Amendment Bill
For an explanation on new director residency requirements, offences for directors, and powers to examine controlling interests in the Companies and Limited Partnership Amendment Bil click here.
12 June 2013: Law with Stephen Franks on Radio NZ National Nine to Noon
Law with Stephen Franks originally aired on Radio NZ National Nine to Noon on Wednesday 12 June. To listen click here .
7 June 2013: Stephen Franks on Radio NZ's The Panel on 7 June
The Panel with Stephen Franks & Sapna Samant aired on Friday 7 June. Click here to listen.
5 June 2013: Franks & Ogilvie advise on the constitutional implications of the SkyCity deal
Franks & Ogilvie were asked by the Green Party to advise on constitutional implications of the SkyCity deal. For NZ Herald report "SkyCity deal 'selling' exemption from law" click here and here for "SkyCity: Future Governments not bound by current deal". Scoop.co.nz also reported "Major Issues with Sky City deal - legal opinion"
5 June 2013: Pokies-for-convention centre deal 'illegal'
Stephen Franks was interviewed on Newstalk ZB
By: Annabel Reid, | Latest Political News | Wednesday June 5 2013 8:50
The Greens are attacking the Government over the legality of its SkyCity convention centre deal.It has asked a lawyer to have a look at the fine print, and went to a former ACT MP to do so.Commercial constitutional lawyer, Stephen Franks, has found the deal bypasses the Gambling Commission.Mr Franks says it is a technicality, but it is still unlawful."It's saying 'we want you to do this, we'll get Parliament to authorise this or legalise this.'"Until it's done that, it's technically illegal."
29 April 2013: SOP sinks mining protesters
Read the LawTalk article by Nikki Pender and Pam McMillan here.
28 March 2013: Courts give neat short shrift to Minister's "short-term neat solution"
Nikki Pender & Pam McMillan's latest article appeared in NZ Lawyer. Click here to read their comment on Canterbury Regional Council v Independent Fisheries Ltd & Ors  NZCA 601.
24 March 2013: Q+A: The Panel on TVNZ
Stephen Franks' joined the Panel on TVNZ on Sunday 24 March. Topics included the Maori Party Leadership, Auckland City Mayor Len Brown's & Housing Minister Nick Smith's interviews on the Auckland Plan and John Howard's interview with Susan Wood on the treatment of New Zealanders in Australia. To watch the programme click here.
4 March 2013: Legislative fix to prison smoking ban debacle
Nikki Pender & Pam McMillan's article appeared in NZ Lawyer. Click here to read the impact this legislation could have on constitutional principles.
21 February 2013: Push for law change on disqualified driving taken up by Coroner
Franks & Ogilvie’s submission to Coroner Evans that driving disqualification orders should have practical effect was taken up by the Coroner who made a recommendation of law change to the Transport Minister, the Hon Gerry Brownlee. The Minister has stated he supports the change and will investigate it. Read the NZ Herald article here. Kiwiblog's "a good Coroner's recommendation" also comments on this.
Nikki Pender and Pam McMillan presented the submission while representing Judy and Ted Ashton in the Coroner’s inquiry in the death of their daughter Debbie Ashton who was killed by repeat offender Jonathan Barclay in December 2006.
In his findings Coroner Evans said: “Counsel point out …when Mr Barclay was sentenced for Ms Ashton’s manslaughter and other charges, he was jailed for five and a half years and disqualified from driving for three years. Counsel say that, again the disqualification period started running from the date of sentencing and had expired by the time Mr Barclay was released on parole. Tellingly, they say “In other words, the disqualification sentence had no practical effect at all”. Is this a satisfactory state of affairs? What is the point of imposing a driving disqualification which a concurrent sentence of imprisonment makes nugatory? To disqualify a person from doing something presupposes the present ability and the right of such person to do that thing. To impose sanctions that will have no practical effect would seem to be a barren exercise” .
15 February 2013: Where there's smoke there's fiery litigation
Nikki Pender & Pam McMIllan's article appeared in LawTalk this week. To read their article click here.
14 January 2013: Pam McMillan - Senior Solicitor
Franks & Ogilvie are pleased to announce the appointment of Pam McMillan to Senior Solicitor, effective December 2012. Pam joined Franks & Ogilvie in 2009.
Pam specialises in public and commercial law. She has extensive skills in legal research, pays attention to all details and demands high standards in her work.
6 December 2012: Couch settlement ends gruelling test case.
Nikki Pender is a lawyer who looked at sueing the department over the killing of Karl Kuchenbecker in Lower Hutt by Graeme Burton in 2007 when he'd been paroled from prison after serving time for another murder. Nikki was interviewed on Checkpoint on 6 December about the Couch settlement. Click here to listen.
4 December 2012: The Panel with Stephen Franks
Stephen Franks and Gary McCormick were on Radio NZ The Panel with Jim Mora. Click here (Part 1) and here (Part 2) to listen to what was discussed.
18 October 2012: New Queen's Counsel Law: Taking Us Back to the Dark Ages?
A guest post by Nikki Pender appeared on Kiwiblog. Click here to read.
10 October 2012: RSA Victim deserves more resources
Nikki Pender, litigation specialist for Franks & Ogilvie, was interviewed on Radio NZ.To hear what Nikki & Garth McVicar from Sensible Sentencing had to say click here.
21 September 2012: Greens' bill puts political openess at risk
National Business Review reported on Jordan Williams' article that appeared in the Dominion Post earlier. For the NBR report click here. For Jordan's article click here.
21 September 2012: Lobbying bill will distance people from MPs
Read Jordan Williams' article on Greens' Lobbying Disclosure Bill which appeared in the Dominion Post.
4 September 2012: Major monopolies challenge ComCom pricing strategies
Franks & Ogilvie (Stephen Franks, Nikki Pender & Jordan Williams) are representing the Major Electricity Users Group in this High Court proceeding on Commerce Commission's input methodologies determinations. To read an NBR article, click here.
20 August 2012: Jordan Williams appeared on TV3's The Nation.
On August 19 Jordan Williams, solicitor at Franks & Ogilvie, appeared on TV3's The Nation. Note. Jordan's discussion starts at 31 minutes. Click here to view.
17 August 2012: Victims want judges to answer for actions
Stephen Franks, representing the Sensible Sentencing Trust, said offenders treated the legal system as a game. To read the Dominion Post article, click here.
24 July 2012: Buying shares won't zap bills
Stephen Franks, who has been involved in state-owned companies in the past, said he would buy into Mighty River Power. To read more click here.
18 July 2012: Super City an elected dictatorship
Stephen Franks' article "Super City an elected dictatorship" was published in the NZ Herald. Click here to read.
9 July 2012: Justice Hot Tub
Stephen Franks, Greg King, Garth McVicar and Gill Elliott will be participating in the Justice Hot Tub public debate on Friday 20 July. (see details).
The Justice Hot Tub
is a forum for discussion on issues relating to the criminal justice system. Stephen Franks, Nikki Pender and other staff at Franks & Ogilvie provide legal advice to the Sensible Sentencing Trust, including law reform initiatives.
9 July 2012: Politics with Stephen Franks and Mike Williams - Radio New Zealand
Stephen Franks and Mike Williams discuss how parties develop the will to lead on hard issues, the Auckland Supercity, the kiwifruit vine disease PSA, and the Labour Party's Secretary General job. Click to hear more.
28 May 2012: Radio NZ The Panel with Stephen Franks & Finlay MacDonald
The Panel with Stephen Franks and Finlay MacDonald (Part 2). from Afternoons on Monday 28 May 2012.
17 May 2012: NZ Herald's "Political Roundup" 16 May
Maori Television broadcast a"Native Affairs" episode about the Urewera controversy. Stephen Franks' Uerwera 4 and the Supreme Court, and Joshua Hitchcock's Once More On the Urewera 4 are sited as "interesting commentary on the issue".
Bryce Edwards comments further "Interestingly, Franks is full of praise for the episode of Native Affairs, and Hitchcock expresses strong reservations about the actions of the Urewera defendants."
14 May 2012: Urewera Controversy was the topic on Maori Television's 'Native Affairs"
Maori Television broadcast a 'Native Affairs' episode on 14 May about the Urewera controversy. Stephen Franks appeared on the panel. Watch the episode here.
5 May 2012: Stephen Franks spoke on TV3's "The Nation"
Scoop Independent News
Read comments by Stephen Franks who spoke on TV3's "The Nation" on Saturday 5 May.
reported on the interview.
7 May 2012: Justice in the firing line
In the NZ Herald Stephen Franks notes that Farmer's comments are " a mild version of the worries widely expressed among eminent barristers". Read the article here.
10 April 2012: Maori Battle Goldman by Mount Doom as New Zealand Sells Assets
Stephen Franks said the Maori council is unlikely to stop the sale of shares in Mighty River Power Ltd. To read more click here.
30 March 2012: Securities lawyer analyses sentencing of Lombard directors
Stephen Franks discusses the sentencing of Lombard directors on Radio NZ's Morning Report. To hear the interview click here.
30 March 2012: Integrity not in question
Appearing on Close Up on Friday 30 March Stephen Franks said there was no law governing removing someone from the Order of Merit but rather it was a matter of honour and integrity. To read the summary and watch the interview click here.
29 March 2012: Reform of Local Government
Stephen Franks appeared on The Court Report on Thursday 29 March to discuss long overdue proposed changes to local government. Click here to watch the interview.
26 March 2012: Double Standards – (Un)accountability of Government Departments
Nikki Pender and Pam McMillan acted for the applicants in McVicar v Department of Corrections and New Zealand Police which sought an extension of time to prosecute Police and Corrections under the Health and Safety in Employment. Read a background article on the Justice Hot Tub website here.
23 February 2012: Group rubbishes Auckland Council's waste management proposal
Waste and Recycling Council spokesman, Stephen Franks, says Auckland rubbish collection charges are unclear. Articles appeared in the Manukau Courier. Papakura Courier and Easter Courier highlighting some of the issues.
16 February 2012: Crafar decision could prompt law change
Stephen Franks wants the Government to take a long deep breath and look at the decision. To read what Stephen discussed with Mike Hoskings on Newstalk ZB click here.
15 February 2012: Section 9 of the SOE Act
Stephen Franks has an interesting prespective on Section 9 of the SOE Act, as his law firm was involved at that time. Read NZ Herald Political round-up: February 15 for details.
14 February 2012: Review on Criminal Trial Process
Interviewed on Newstalk ZB, Stephen Franks says he doesn't agree with the Law Commission, that juries shouldn't be used in sexual offending cases because they often bring prejudice. To read more click here.
22 December 2011: "Trade Me" Legal Tender sees Small Firm Winners
Franks & Ogilvie have been appointed to the Government’s approved legal services panel. They are one of the 8 law firms qualified for finance and banking advice and among the 14 for corporate and commercial work. Click here to read an article by LawFuel (21 December 2011) on this.
10 December 2011: Thermography versus mammography
The Listener reports "Practitioners of breast thermography say a hostile environment created by health authorities has jeopardised a useful service for women". Franks & ogilvie act for Clinical Thermography. Click here to read the Listener article.
9 December 2011: Ignorant Judiciary threatens business freedom
Stephen Franks, a prinicpal of Franks & Ogilvie, told the National Business Review unless there was dishonesty in finance company collapses, it was a "total waste of time" pursuing directors through court. To read the NBR article click here.
1 December 2011: Nikki Pender appears on Court Report
Franks & Ogilvie's Nikki Pender appeared on TVNZ's Court Report on 1 December. Nikki has represented the Kuchenbecker family in their attempt to prosecute the Corrections Department. Click here to view Nikki's interview on "Can you prosecute a Government department?".
18 August 2011: Recyclers say council wasting its time
Stephen Franks, on behalf of the Waste & Recycling Council, told Auckland Councillors they were heading for an expensive public consultation exercise on a waste management and minimisation plan that had limited prospect of being adopted and less prospect of being implemented. To find out more click here.
31 July 2011: Analysis rubbishes waste savings
We are advising a grouping of Auckland businesses concerned about recent decisions made by Auckland Council regarding the control of solid waste streams and facilities in the Auckland region. Click here for the article published in the Sunday Star Times.
18 April 2011: David v Goliath battle for justice: HSE prosecutions of Police and Corrections
Stephen Franks and Nikki Pender have been seeking accountability for the mistakes made by the New Zealand Police and the Department of Corrections that led to the deaths of both Karl Kuchenbecker and Debbie Ashton through Health and Safety in Employment Act prosecutions. An article by Neil Reid in the Sunday Star Times on this is available here. To read the background information supplied for this story click here Media HSE Prosecutions 2011
7 April 2011: Stephen Franks' presentation to 5th Annual Regulatory Evolution Summit
Stephen Franks presented to the 5th Annual Regulatory Evolution Summit on consumer views of regulation and consumer-orientated regulation. Stephen's presentation entitled A consumer perspective of merit review so far - and crusading without cost:benefit analysis is available here MEUG Consumer Law.
22 November 2010: Franks to conduct review of banking code Stephen Franks is the Independent Reviewer of the Code of Banking Practice which is a voluntary code of conduct for members of the New Zealand Bankers' Association. The Dominion Post article can be viewed here and a copy of the Issues Paper can found on the NZBA website.
7 October 2010: IDEA Services going into statutory management Click here to view the TVNZ interview by Miriama Kamo with Stephen Franks on IDEA Services being put into statutory management.
22 August 2010: TVNZ Q & A Panel Click here to view TVNZ's live political affairs Q+A programme. The panel members included Stephen Franks, Katherine Rich, and political scientist Therese Arseneau.