John Green, Managing Director of Building Disputes Tribunal, Arbitrator,
Mediator and Adjudicator
John is a leading figure in dispute resolution in New Zealand. He is a
Chartered Arbitrator and has extensive experience in the design and
delivery of dispute resolution processes and the resolution of building,
construction and infrastructure disputes.
Gareth Kiernan, Chief Forecaster, Infometrics
Gareth heads up the forecasting team at Infometrics, managing the
preparation of the company’s regular forecast publications. Within the
forecast process, he is responsible for the macroeconomic overview and
building and property forecasts. Gareth has completed a range of consulting
projects, many focused on the housing market and construction industry,
and he regularly provides presentations that provide relevant economic
information in an accessible, clear, and entertaining manner. He is also
frequently sought out by the media for comment on topical economic issues.
Michael Taylor, Partner, Russell McVeagh
Michael Taylor practices in commercial litigation with a particular focus on
construction, infrastructure and information technology law. He practiced at
the London Commercial Bar for 15 years before joining Russell McVeagh.
Michael ranked as Leading Junior Counsel in The Legal 500 UK and
Chambers & Partners UK, and now represents principals, contractors and
professionals on major construction and project disputes. Michael is a
committee member for the Society of Construction Law.
Joanna Trezise, Senior Solicitor, Russell McVeagh
Joanna Trezise is a commercial litigator at Russell McVeagh. She acts on a
broad range of matters, including construction disputes, contractual and
statutory interpretation issues, applications for judicial review, and regulatory
investigations. She is also the editor of Russell McVeagh’s quarterly
construction disputes publication, Breaking Ground. Joanna previously
worked as a prosecutor, undertaking criminal prosecutions on behalf of
regulatory agencies and the Crown. She is a member of the Society of
Construction Law, the National Association of Women in Construction, and
the Women’s Infrastructure Network.
Julien Leys, Executive Director, Construction Strategy Group and Chief
Executive, New Zealand Building Industry Federation
Julien Leys is a very experienced communicator with over 23 years working
in both the private and public sectors including the New Zealand
Government. He was the legal and communications adviser to the Minister
of Local Government in New Zealand’s first MMP Parliament. Julien ran his
own award-winning communications consultancy PR Partners for 10 years
before merging his business with Trans-Tasman consultancy SenateSHJ
where he was the General Manager and a senior Partner for several years.
He is a specialist in Government relations, advocacy and reputation
management. Julien has provided strategic counsel to a range of New
Zealand and global organisations including in the infrastructure and
construction sectors. He has a particular interest in contracting procurement,
solutions for housing affordability and ways to achieve consistent
productivity in the construction sector. He holds a first-class Honours
Master’s degree in Law and is a Qualified Member of the Auckland District
Law Society. He is also the Chair of the College of Fellows, and a Fellow of
the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (FPRINZ).
Katrina Van Houtte, Partner, Dentons Kensington Swan
Katrina in a partner in the Construction and Major Projects Team at Dentons
Kensington Swan, and advises clients on both front-end and back-end
construction matters. Katrina joined Dentons Kensington Swan in July 2019
from the in-house legal team at Fletcher Building. Katrina has also recently
been appointed as a board member for Infrastructure New Zealand.
Katrina has significant experience advising on projects facing cost and time
overruns and enjoys advising her clients on how to best set up projects for
success from the outset.
Natasha Possenniskie, Director, Urban Outcomes Limited
Natasha is a construction industry professional with more than 20 years’
experience in large scale construction projects for both the public and
private sectors in New Zealand and abroad. Natasha’s career has
developed in varied roles as a client, consultant, main contractor and
subcontractor. She has established herself as a commercially astute
director, with extensive strategy development experience and a successful
track record of implementation, delivery and growth. Natasha now
specialises in providing independent Engineer to the Contract, project
recovery and advisory services on infrastructure projects. Natasha is the
sole Director of Urban Outcomes Limited, a construction consultancy
focusing on the outcomes of a project from the outset. She also sits on the
Board of Site Safe New Zealand and the NZIOB Central Chapter
Gary Walker, CEO, Leighs Construction
Gary Walker has a wealth of experience across a wide range of senior
construction and design-related roles, both in New Zealand and
internationally. He has a long history of leading large, site-based
construction teams, internal departments, regional business units,
multidisciplinary design teams, and multiple stakeholder environments.
As CEO of Leighs Construction, Gary is responsible for all aspects of the
Leighs Construction business from setting the strategic vision and direction,
to overseeing operational delivery. Gary is passionate about sustainability;
his focus is on the built environment and is responsible for the overall
management and wof projects nationwide, driving improvement in project
Gary actively promotes a holistic, all encapsulating, and human factor-based
thinking: “I work to foster a team environment by making sure people
understand one another’s roles, our principles and culture, and that
innovation and idea sharing through collaboration is always encouraged and
supported. It is important that our teams have the tools and technology to
work as effectively and efficiently as possible, so I am focussed on ensuring
that as a business we are embracing new thinking and technology in ways
that will empower our staff.”
Gary is involved in several industry bodies which includes his role as Board
Director of SiteSafe, and Chairman of the Construction Strategy Group
(CSG). Both roles allow Gary to pursue his goals for sustainability of people
Catherine Green, Executive Director, Building Disputes Tribunal
Catherine is the Executive Director of the Building Disputes Tribunal (BDT),
New Zealand Dispute Resolution Centre (NZDRC), New Zealand
International Arbitration Centre (NZIAC), and the New Zealand Family
Dispute Resolution Centre (FDR Centre). She also has her own practice
working as a barrister, arbitrator, adjudicator, and mediator.
Prior to starting her private dispute resolution practice, Catherine gained a
wide range of experience in commercial litigation matters both onshore and
offshore, including with Russell McVeagh (Auckland), Field Fisher
Waterhouse LLP (London), and Mourant Ozannes (Cayman Islands).
Whilst working in leading law firms both onshore and offshore, Catherine
has gained extensive experience in a wide range of commercial litigation
matters, including fraud, insolvency, contractual, financial services, tax
avoidance and regulatory issues.
Mark Colthart, Barrister
Mark was admitted to the bar in 1994 and has over 25 years’ experience in
civil and commercial litigation. He has particular expertise in commercial
arbitration, construction law and property disputes. Mark regularly advises
and represents some of New Zealand’s most well-known construction
companies, property developers, and professionals in the building and
construction industry. He has extensive experience as counsel in
arbitrations and adjudications, and advises clients on construction law and
Helen Macfarlane, Partner, Hesketh Henry
Helen is a partner in the Hesketh Henry Litigation and Dispute Resolution team with specialist expertise in construction law. She has over 25 years of legal experience. She read law at Oxford and was admitted as a barrister in London, before moving to New York where she worked as a litigation attorney for 15 years.
Helen has developed extensive experience in the construction sector both in providing front end advice on contract drafting and in addressing issues that arise during the course of a project. Complementing this, Helen also has extensive experience in construction disputes, spanning CCA payment claim adjudications to litigation arising out of defective construction. This provides her with a comprehensive understanding of what can go wrong on a building project.
Helen also has significant experience in commercial property disputes and professional indemnity (construction) matters. She has appeared as sole counsel in the New Zealand District and High Courts.
Stephanie de Groot, Senior Associate, MinterEllisonRuddWatts
Stephanie is a senior lawyer in MinterEllisonRuddWatt’s environment practice, specialising in all aspects of environmental and resource management law. She advises on a broad range of issues from consenting, planning and regulatory compliance through to due diligence for major acquisitions and divestments and environmental dispute resolution. Her clients span both the private and public sector and include government ministries and organisations, private property owners, developers, asset managers and operators in the primary and energy sectors. Stephanie has particular expertise in climate change response and is sought after for her advice on climate change regulation, policy development and compliance with the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.
Aaron Sherriff, Partner, Duncan Cotterill
Aaron specialises in commercial litigation and insurance law and has particular expertise managing large, complex disputes. He has 20 years of expertise, practicing in both New Zealand and Canada. Aaron leads, and provides advice on, a wide array of disputes, including insurance, contract, negligence, construction, director liability, and debt recovery and insolvency. He is a recommended lawyer for insurance as recognised by the Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2021 legal directory, and within the construction sector he often advises on the course of general liability policies, contract works policies, and property policies.