John McKay John McKay

John McKay


Litigation & dispute resolution

John is a senior commercial litigator specialising in construction law, insurance law and media law.

With over 30 years' experience in commercial litigation, John appears as counsel and advises on complex and high value construction disputes, professional indemnity claims, defamation proceedings, product liability litigation and rent review arbitrations.

He acts for clients from all sectors of the construction industry, including contractors, principals, engineers, financiers, suppliers and manufacturers.

One of the few true specialist media lawyers in New Zealand, John has extensive experience advising on media law issues, including acting for a major publishing company for many years in high profile defamation proceedings.

John is recognised as a senior statesperson by Chambers Asia Pacific 2023, a leading lawyer by Chambers Global 2020​ and in the Hall of Fame by Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2023.

Recent highlights

  • Representing BlueScope Steel in defending a large High Court claim relating to the sale of an ironsands mine.
  • Provided dispute resolution and strategic advice to numerous infrastructure projects including tunnels, power stations, wastewater treatment plants, state highways, airports, commercial high-rise, ocean outfalls, event centres and wastewater and stormwater networks.
  • Representing James Hardie in relation to class action leaky building claims.
  • Acted for leading New Zealand and Australian engineering consultancy firms on matters in New Zealand, Australia and several other offshore jurisdictions.
  • Acted for landlords and tenants in multi-million dollar rent review arbitrations.
  • Represented the media, high net worth individuals and politicians in defamation cases.
  • Acted for parties in High Court cases relating to unsuccessful takeovers involving publicly listed companies.


  • Member of the New Zealand Society of Construction Law.
  • Arbitrators and Mediators Association of New Zealand.

Others in the team

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