Risk management on best for project basis

International trends are away from hard letter, fixed price, lump sum, prescriptive contracting to more collaborative approaches where the parties acknowledge that most risks are project risks best managed on a cooperative basis by the parties.  This has resulted in more creative strategies involving earlier contractor involvement, mixtures of fixed price, remeasure and cost-plus elements in contracts, and early identification of compensation events through a more creative use of risk register and programme tools.

John’s background in major international projects has put him at the forefront of developments in large-scale energy, water and wastewater, transportation and ICT projects in New Zealand.

Advice on all types of procurement

John is experienced drafting and advising on all types of procurement, from traditional tendering of standard contracts like the NZS3910, NZIA, FIDIC and NEC3 forms, though to the more imaginative approaches like those adopted for private-public-partnerships (PPPs), build-own-operate-transfer projects (BOOT), early contractor involvement contracts (progressively moving from cost plus reimbursement contracts to lump sum design and construct) and negotiated and competitive alliance contracts.

Each approach has its benefits, and each needs to be adapted to the particular requirements of the project.

“There really is no reason for major projects not to be delivered on time and within budget – the issue is setting a realistic time and budget, and managing the changes which occur in any major project”.
John Walton



  • Crest Energy’s Kaipara tidal generation project – strategic advice on project delivery
  • Advising on a major gas supply contract
  • Mokai Stage 2  – review and advise on Ormat Industries supply and EPC contracts for the second stage of the Mokai geothermal project
  • Vector’s acquisition of United Networks – review and advise on network management contracts
  • Mokai geothermal project – review and renegotiate supply and EPC contracts with the Tuaropaki Tribal Trust and Ormat Industries
  • Government of Kenya’s emergency power project 2000, and on electricity sector reforms – managing tender and award process for the emergency supply of electricity for Nairobi, and advising on prucrement strategies as part of the energy sector reforms
  • Watercare’s cogeneration plant at the Mangere wastewater treatment plant – acting for Watercare on its bio-gas generation plant, and securing gas supply
  • Contact Energy Limited:
    • Otahuhu B  394 MW combined cycle power plant – draft special conditions for the design and construct construction contract (FIDIC Orange Book), assist with tender negotiations and contractor selection, draft and negotiate long term maintenance contract, and assist with contract administration (including dispute management)
    • Te Rapa cogeneration plant  – negotiate power supply agreement with NZCDC, draft construction contracts (FIDIC based contract) and assist with tender negotiations, advise on contract administration (including dispute management)
    • TCC Stratford acquisition – review and advise on EPC contract and maintenance contract
    • Oakey power station – review and advise on project management and operation and maintenance agreements
    • Southern Hydro acquisition – assist with due diligence on acquisition and purchase agreement
    • Otahuhu C – draft design and construction contract (one-off tailor made contract)
    • Standard project documentation – prepare standard form tender procedures and contract documentation for all Contact Energy’s asset management programme expenditure
Information & Communications Technology (ICT)

  •  peer review Auckland’s integrated ticketing system project (ARTA)
  • Northland Regional Council IT projects, and its Northland broadband project
  • Southern Cross Cable, Pacific Ocean fibre optic project
  • Vector’s Tangent broadband fibre optic network
  • traffic control system for Hong Kong’s Route 3 interchange (Lantau Fixed Link, Route 3 Country Park Section Toll Road & Airport Highway interchange)
Water and wastewater

Watercare Services Limited:

  • Hunua 4 watermain project (NEC3 engineering and construction contract)
  • Hobson Bay sewer rehabilitation (a project specific tunnelling contract, based on FIDIC)
  • Waikato River water treatment plant (design and construct contract, base don FIDIC)
  • Mangere Wastewater Treatment Plant – treatment and disposal of biosolids, and plant upgrades (a mix of FIDIC based and one-off contracts)
  • network management and procurement projects (including standard amendments to NZS3910, FIDIC and NEC3 forms of contract)


  • probity audit and project mediation Auckland rail electrification project
  • Infrastructure Auckland on funding Auckland’s public transport network
  • Government of Hong Kong’s new airport projects, including the development  of the new Chek Lap Kok airport platform and all associated infrastructure projects
  • Northland Regional Council’s Marsden Point rail link
Building and Property Development

  • Northland Regional Council’s Northland Events Centre for the 2011 Rugby World Cup
  • Buddle Findlay’s anchor tenancy in the PricewaterhouseCooper’s Tower on Auckland’s waterfront
  • Waitakere City Council’s Waitakere Central and new library (Henderson Hub) projects
  • Clear Communications building on Taharoto Road, Takapuna
  • development of Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour for the America’s Cup
Marine Industry Construction (Superyachts)
Advised the owners and yards on construction issues of a number of superyachts, notably – Aria (Sensation Yachts), Mea Culpa (Sensation Yachts & McMullen & Wing), Imagine II (Alloy Yachts), Big Fish (McMullen & Wing), Star Fish (McMullen & Wing) and a Tripp 85 metre yacht under construction by Vitters Shipyard BV.