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Water and waste infrastructure

Water and waste infrastructure projects require specialist legal expertise to address their risks and commercial impacts. Our team has extensive experience in advising on all types of water and waste infrastructure.

Procurement methods

Kensington Swan can provide expert advice on the full range of procurement methods and funding mechanisms. We are experienced advisors for major infrastructure projects, including:

  • design-build
  • design-build-operate
  • design-build-fund-operate
  • public private partnerships (PPPs). 


Funding mechanisms are important for water and irrigation projects. Often local and regional authorities have funding constraints. We can help you address these quickly so that you can get your project started on time and meet your delivery objectives, taking pressure off rates and borrowing limits.

Consenting process

We work proactively with you to identify any consenting roadblocks and will realistically assess the consenting risks. Highlighting the risks at the start of the project allows us to work with you to develop a plan to address them in the most cost-effective and timely way.

Iwi representation

We understand the importance of freshwater resources to Maori and their aspirations and expectations on how their interests should be provided for. We have acted for iwi on consenting and planning issues involving freshwater resources, including irrigation initiatives.


Kensington Swan has extensive experience advising local authorities on the laws relating to solid waste. This includes statutory obligations under the Waste Minimisation Act and negotiating complex commercial agreements for waste collection, transport, and disposal.

Recent experience


We advised on three wastewater projects involving the Thames Coromandel District Council. We assisted Downer with the negotiation of wastewater contracts, which were procured using the FIDIC standard conditions of contract, to achieve commercially acceptable outcomes in each case.

UGL Limited and Downer

We advised our clients (UGL Limited and Downer) on the terms of design / build wastewater treatment projects, advising on the interpretation of the contracts and on disputed claims that arose under the contracts. These disputes were all successfully resolved to the satisfaction of our clients.

Auckland Council

We advised on all arrangements for the tendering, contract drafting, and negotiation of the first major shared services contract for solid waste collection services. This included the implementation of mobile recyling bins for recyclable collections, and the establishment of a materials recycling factility at the Waitakere Refuse Transfer Station. This was New Zealand’s single largest solid waste contract at the time, and the approach was subsequently adopted by other local authorities in similar initiatives. This was a high-profile project, and we ensured the process ran smoothly and all aspects of the arrangements came together to meet the required timetables.

Wellington Wastewater Plant

We acted for Mainzeal in the construction of this significant wastewater build-own-operate-transfer project by Anglian Water.


We acted for Downer on a high-profile discharge prosecution relating to a wastewater plant on the Manawatu River. We worked closely with the co-defendant district council to trace the planning history of the plant and established that the discharge was authorised under a historic water regulation permit, resulting in the charge against Downer being dismissed.

Waikato River Co-management Deed

We acted for Raukawa iwi on their negotiations to develop a co-management deed establishing a new governance arrangement for the Waikato River. The arrangement includes enhanced input by iwi into the resource management planning documents governing the use of the river, as well as consenting arrangements. We successfully worked with the iwi to negotiate suitable frameworks with the Crown and local authorities under the RMA and Conservation Act.

Rangitaiki River Forum

We acted for Ngāti Manawa to negotiate redress for the Rangitaiki River in their deed of settlement with the Crown This redress included the establishment of a river forum, which included iwi and government representatives, and provided an opportunity for enhanced input by Ngāti Manawa into the resource management planning documents governing the use of the Rangitaiki.

Hawkes Bay Regional Council Joint Planning Committee

We act for several Ngāti Kahungunu hapu in development of a statutory Joint Planning Committee to oversee and monitor natural resource planning processes that affect the region, in particular the rivers, and include drafting, and recommending to the Regional Council, plan and policy changes that affect natural resources in the region.

Ministry of Social Development (MSD)

We advised MSD on the process to install a sewer line under a Maori roadway. This required an application to the Maori Land Court to seek the granting of an easement for this purpose. This matter was of particular importance to MSD as, without the Māori Land Court order, they would have had to use an alternative route at significant cost.

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