Our People - Mark Nutsford

Mark Nutsford


Although Employment Relations Consultants has retained the services of private consultants in the past, the Principal of the company and Senior Consultant, Mark Nutsford, is the mainstay of the business.

With extensive management experience in such companies as The Petrochemical Corporation of New Zealand and Coca-Cola Amatil (NZ) Ltd, Mark is an experienced and dynamic businessman.

He first gained an interest in Employment Law in the 1970’s when, as a young sharemilker, he formed and chaired the Sharemilkers Association in Northland and went on to chair the Sharemilkers Sub-Section of Federated Farmers for the same region.  In this position Mark assisted with on farm disputes between farmers and their employees bringing affordable representation to many who would otherwise have been unable to defend themselves.

After deciding on a career change, Mark undertook a business management course and was successful in obtaining a position with Feltex, based in Northland, where he introduced an extensive range of products to the Northland farming community.

Throughout his career Mark has held a variety of positions as well as launching a number of successful private ventures along the way. Over the years Mark has maintained an interest in Employment Relations and undergone a number of courses to stay abreast of law changes and common law precedents.

In the year 2000 Mark was offered the opportunity to act as an Advocate in the field of employment law.  The laws were evolving quickly at that time and the introduction of the Employment Relations Act 2000 created a surge of interest in “lay practitioners” who, unlike lawyers, could offer their services on a contingency basis.

In 2002, Mark joined forces with a national employment relations company and was prominent and successful in Northland until his relocation to Auckland in 2004 where he was employed by Employment Relations Consultants Limited.

In early 2006 Mark and his wife Rosemary purchased the company and built it to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and most recognised employment advocacy services.  The company’s brand, 0800 WE HELP, has become iconic in the field of employment dispute resolution.

Mark’s experience and knowledge in employment law is rarely equalled in the ranks of New Zealand’s Employment Law Advocates.  His one on one negotiating skills see around 85% of all cases which pass through his hands settled without the need for mediation or any kind of judicial intervention.

In mediation he is respected by mediators and legal adversaries alike.  His knowledge of process is such that mediations he takes part in are rarely unsuccessful.

It should be recognised that only an extremely small minority of cases proceed to the Employment Relations Authority.  However, in The Employment Relations Authority Mark’s rate of success is very high.   Of the many cases Mark has been involved with in the Authority, a list of very recent cases (since June 2008) can be viewed here.

Cases which have been dealt with by the Employment Relations Authority can be appealed in the Employment Court.  This is a rare occurrence but an area where Mark, as an Advocate, has more experience than the average lay representative.  Mark has even assisted with the preparation of submissions for the Court of Appeal.  One such case which took around three years to resolve and required no less than five formal appearances is detailed here

In a recent judgement of the Employment Court (AC 1A/08 ARC 42/07), Judge AA Couch said at [5]   “…..I was considerably assisted by the detailed written submissions made by Mr Nutsford and by his succinct oral submissions.  Their quality justifies the rate charged.”

In an earlier judgement (AC 37A/07 ARC 76/06) the same judge said at [11]  “Taking into account Mr Nutsford’s experience and the nature of the proceedings, that is not unreasonable.  I there find that the total costs of $7,350.00 plus GST incurred by Ms Chin were reasonably incurred.”

Mark was invited as a guest speaker to the Lexis Nexis “Industrial and Employment Relations” Conference held at the Heritage Hotel, Auckland over three days in February 2009.  He addressed the subject of “Pathways to Resolution” and conducted a short workshop on the same subject.

A long standing member of the Employment Law Institute of New Zealand, Mark was elected to the board of the institute in April 2009.

In 2011, Mark was elected Vice President of the Employment Law Institute of New Zealand.