Bell Gully acts for NGCC and CIP on $1.4 billion Public Safety Network

12 December 2022

Bell Gully acted for Next Generation Critical Communications (NGCC) (a division of New Zealand Police) and Crown Infrastructure Partners Limited (CIP) on the procurement of a new public safety communications network for New Zealand's emergency services agencies. The Public Safety Network - Te Kupenga Marutau will deliver a secure nationwide digital land mobile radio network and multi-network priority cellular services and roaming capability. This will allow emergency services responders to effectively communicate with each other with more reliable and secure nationwide coverage, and enable them to deliver better outcomes for New Zealanders.

The team at Bell Gully was extensively involved with the technical and commercial teams of CIP and NGCC (as the lead procuring agencies), with significant collaboration with the four emergency services agencies, to understand the core needs of the agencies and the heightened risks in an emergency services context.

Leading the corporate team that advised on the digital land mobile radio aspects of the procurement, partner Anna Buchly commented, “We are thrilled to have been part of this important transaction and to work with the CIP and NGCC teams to enhance communications infrastructure and technologies provided to New Zealand’s frontline emergency responders for years ahead.”  Partner Laura Littlewood, who advised on the services procurement arrangement, shared “This network will allow emergency service agencies to be more efficient and effective in the services they provide to communities across the country.”

Partner Angela Harford led the team advising on the priority cellular aspects of the procurement, which will enable first responders to have priority cellular communications (including by roaming across mobile networks) when mobile networks are congested or degraded.

“We’re delighted to have had the opportunity to work closely alongside the CIP and NGCC teams on this transformational project.  All those involved have worked exceptionally hard to reach agreement on the project documents, which will ensure that Aotearoa’s front line emergency service responders will be well served for the critical work they do,” Angela said.

The structure of the transaction was highly bespoke involving a large number of stakeholders. Under the agreements, NGCC and CIP have contracted with a joint venture established between Tait Communications and Kordia (for land mobile radio infrastructure and services) and Hourua Limited, a joint venture between Spark and Vodafone (for priority cellular and roaming capabilities). Going forward, NGCC will act as a lead agency on behalf of the New Zealand Police, Hato Hone St John, Wellington Free Ambulance and Fire and Emergency NZ, as well catering to future agencies that may join the network under the open syndicated procurement model.

The Bell Gully team consisted of partners Anna Buchly, Laura Littlewood and Angela Harford, with support from senior associates Jared McIntosh, Melissa Ahlefeldt, Josephine Fok and lawyers Joyeeta Bhakta and Matt Fowler.

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