News Item

July 2011

NZ Students win award at International Negotiation competition

Law Foundation-sponsored Waikato Law students were rewarded for their negotiating skills at an international competition in Denmark.

Ben Gilbert and Andrew Cameron were representing New Zealand at the international negotiation competition in Copenhagen, and came home with the Joint Maximising Plus Award.

In the competition, each team is given a party or client and must represent them in an international transaction or in the resolution of an international dispute. They then negotiate with a team from another country with judges assessing their performance. Twenty teams were in the competition and New Zealand faced Northern Ireland, Japan and The Netherlands.

“Our award, shared with The Netherlands, was for the two teams that successfully negotiated the best result for both parties,” says Andrew Cameron, a mature student in the final year of his law degree.

“The complexity of the problems, cultural differences and different negotiating styles made the competition more challenging than we’d experienced in New Zealand and Australia, so to come away with the award was extremely satisfying.”

Gilbert and Cameron won the Buddle Findlay sponsored New Zealand negotiation competition last year and their trip to Denmark was supported by the Law Foundation’s annual funding grant for this competition, and by the University of Waikato. The financial support also enabled law lecturer Christina ter Haar to accompany them as coach and mentor.

She says the pair equipped themselves admirably. “They responded well under pressure and what made it even more challenging were the different judges, who, depending on their backgrounds, had different priorities. Judges were high profile industry executives, commercial lawyers and some were academics and each one seemed to apply the criteria differently. This experience – competing in a lively international environment – can only enhance their career opportunities.”

Ben Gilbert and Andrew Cameron will graduate with honours degrees at the end of the year.