Construction—New Zealand—Q&A guide

The following Construction practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Construction—New Zealand—Q&A guide
  • 1. If a foreign designer or contractor wanted to set up an operation to pursue the local market, what are the key concerns they should consider before taking such a step?
  • 2. Must foreign designers and contractors be licensed locally to work and, if so, what are the consequences of working without a licence?
  • 3. Do local laws provide any advantage to domestic contractors in competition with foreign contractors?
  • 4. What legal protections exist to ensure fair and open competition to secure contracts with public entities, and to prevent bid rigging or other anticompetitive behaviour?
  • 5. If a contractor has illegally obtained the award of a contract, for example by bribery, will the contract be enforceable? Are bribe-givers and bribe-takers prosecuted and, if so, what are the penalties they face? Are facilitation payments allowable under local law?
  • 6. Under local law, must employees of the project team members report suspicion or knowledge of bribery of government employees and, if so, what are the penalties for failure to report?
  • 7. Is the making of political contributions part of doing business? If so, are there laws that restrict the ability of contractors or design professionals to work for public agencies because of their financial support for political candidates or parties?
  • 8. Is a construction manager or other construction professional acting as a public entity’s representative or agent on a project (and its employees) subject to the same anti-corruption and compliance rules as government employees?
  • 9. Are there any other important legal issues that may present obstacles to a foreign contractor attempting to do business in your jurisdiction?
  • More...

Construction—New Zealand—Q&A guide

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to construction in New Zealand published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: May 2021).

Authors: Hesketh Henry—Christina Bryant; Helen Macfarlane; Nick Gillies

1. If a foreign designer or contractor wanted to set up an operation to pursue the local market, what are the key concerns they should consider before taking such a step?

Some of the key concerns for a contractor setting up business in New Zealand are the following:

  1. considering what type of structure is most suitable and complying with the relevant regulations to establish any entity chosen. Overseas companies and limited liability partnerships must register with the Companies Office if they are 'carrying on business' in New Zealand. This can be done online through the Companies Office:;

  2. researching the market and determining how factors such as geographical distance and currency fluctuations may impact business. Statistics New Zealand has information, tables and tools that can help and these are available online at:;

  3. checking licensing and professional qualification requirements;

  4. understanding pertinent taxation issues, including the following:

    1. goods and services tax of 15 per cent is charged on the sale of goods and the provision of services; and

    2. the Accident Compensation Corporation provides no-fault accident compensation for workplace (and other) injuries, funded by employer levies; and

  5. understanding

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