Senior advisor leaving PM’s office, moving to Wellington law firm

Press Release – Franks and Ogilvie
John Harbord will join the Wellington-based law firm Franks & Ogilvie as a consultant next month. John brings with him the intense experience of work at the heart of government. John is currently senior advisor in the Office of the Prime Minister.

From 2008 to 2011 John was ministerial advisor to Christopher Finlayson QC. He was heavily involved in the Mixed-Ownership Model process leading to the float of Mighty River Power and was part of the high-level team that negotiated the deal with Warner Brothers that led to the Hobbit production remaining in New Zealand. John also chaired the Government’s Technical Advisory Group for the Review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004. His negotiating and management skills have been honed on Treaty issues.

Principal, Stephen Franks, says “John Harbord has been where decisions are made, where official advice, ministerial preferences, party policy, lobbying, media interest and political pressures are thrashed out. We will value the direct realism he’ll be able to offer clients who think that persuading a government should be just a matter of showing a Minister the most logical argument”.

John Harbord says it is the range of Franks & Ogilvie’s work that decided him. Harbord says “I’ve been lucky enough to work for years where I could apply my legal qualification and my passion for getting political processes to work well. But since I left farming to come to Wellington, I’ve seen the exercise of power only from the inside. At age 40 I knew I should get balancing high level outside experience, with clients who do not know the game. So I was delighted when this opportunity presented itself”.

Principal, Rob Ogilvie says of Harbord, “Advising the Prime Minister and working with Ministers managing the relationships with senior officials and key stakeholders is a particularly good fit for Franks & Ogilvie. On the other hand, what attracted John is the strong commercial side of the firm”.

Mr Ogilvie says that with Mr Harbord the firm will have six lawyers, and is looking for up to another three over the next year or so.

John holds an LLB and MA in Political Studies from the University of Otago.

Franks and Ogilvie

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