Brigitte Morten

Senior Consultant
Brigitte Morten

Brigitte is admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court.

She has over a decade of experience working in politics across Australia and New Zealand. She has a Bachelor of Law from Victoria University, a Masters of Law from the Australian National University, and a Graduate Certificate in Counter-Terrorism from Interdisciplinary Center (Israel).

Brigitte spent three years providing political and media advice to the Embassy of Israel in Australia, whilst dealing with a number of high profile events. She worked as a Senior Advisor in state politics and worked on a number of Australian state and federal election campaigns. Brigitte was a Chief of Staff to an Australian Senator, before returning home to be the Senior Ministerial Advisor to the Minister of Education in the last National Government.

She has worked extensively with clients in the private sector to help them establish and maintain relationships with government, lobby on important issues, and drive campaigns to raise public interest. Brigitte particularly enjoys working with grassroots and member based organisations.

Brigitte has extensive knowledge of law making processes, how to best utilise the Official Information Act, and how to coordinate public interest campaigns across multiple channels.

Brigitte
in the news
October 9, 2020

Summary

New Conservative, a political party outside of Parliament, challenged TVNZ’s decision to not invite them to the multi-leaders’ debate (a televised debate of minor political party leaders) held on Thursday 8 October2020. Woolford J declined the application for interim orders requiring TVNZ to invite New Conservative leader Leighton Baker to the debate.

Background

The Prime Minister originally announced that the General Election would be held on 19 September 2020. TVNZ set their criteria for invitation to the multi-leaders’ debate to include the leaders of parties that are currently represented in Parliament and/or the leaders of parties who are not represented in Parliament but which score 3 per cent in at leader one 1 NewsColmar Brunton poll in the six months before the Debate. Based on this criteria NZ First, the Green Party and ACT were invited.

Due to a second COVID-19 outbreak, the Prime Minister delayed the election until 17 October. In response to concerns raised by the Maori Party, TVNZ added additional criteria to include leaders of parties where the leader had been an MP in either or both of the past two Parliaments and parties that had been represented in either or both of the past two Parliaments. The new criteria opened the way for the Maori Party and Advance NZ to be invited to the debate.

After learning that the latest poll results wouldn’t be released until the morning of the debate, New Conservative filed urgent application on Tuesday 6 October for an interim order requiring TVNZ to invite Leighton Baker to the debate.

The Case

Woolford J declined the application for interim orders at the conclusion of the hearing on Wednesday morning and released the reasons for his decision the next day.  TVNZ argued that the decision could not be reviewed by the Court as they were not a public body, however they accepted that they were for the purposes of the interim application.

Woolford J dismissed the significance of the two referenda(cannabis legalisation and end of live choice) being held at same time as the election as a relevant factor for determining who should be included in the debate. Similarly, he did not accept the argument that the New Conservative were as disadvantaged as the Maori Party by the lack of Colmar Brunton polling in the Maori electorate seats because New Conservative had members standing in general electorate seats as well. Woolford J also found no evidence that New Conservative had vigorously argued for inclusion in the debate earlier on or that they could demonstrate that they had a viable pathway to Parliamentary representation.

What next

The interim application was declined. New Conservative still could have had a pathway for inclusion had they polled at over 3 percent in the1News Colmar Brunton poll released on the day of the debate. In the end, they polled at 1.3 percent.

The full judgment can be read here

To learn more about the case, contact Senior Consultant Brigitte Morten

September 23, 2020

Senior Consultant Brigitte Morten joined Newstalk ZB and TVNZ's Breakfast this morning to discuss the Leaders' election debate.

You can listen to Newstalk ZB here and watch Breakfast here.

September 14, 2020

Senior Consultant Brigitte Morten joined Kathryn Ryan and UMR's Stephen Mills on Nine to Noon to talk about the week in politics. Covering the start of the election campaign proper, they discussed Labour's tax announcement, how the minor parties were going and whether voters expected a plan from Labour and National on getting the country out of debt.

To listen to the panel discussion, click here

Give the team a call

We’re likely to know who makes the decisions, why, and how politics or the law can compel you or trip you up.
If it takes less than 20 minutes we rarely charge.
There are not many specialist public lawyers. Even fewer have commercial experience. We start and end with commercial interests at heart.