Former Mayor Joins Mai Chen in Auckland


hardaker >Hamilton mayor Julie Hardaker’s new role is as a principal with Mai Chen’s Chen Palmer, as she decides not to pursue a further term at the mayoral table.

As someone with a variety of roles in life, she will now be embarking on a new adventure with Chen Palmer.

Deciding against returning to McCaw Lewis Chapman where she had previously been partner, she is to work from the firm’s Auckland office during the week, handling the firm’s traditional employment and public law work, following an announcement from the firm in early August.

She had also lived and worked in retail in Australia during the 1980s before running for the Hamilton mayoralty in 2010 and winning re-election in 2013 becoming the first mayor of Hamilton in nearly two decades to survive their first term in office. She was returned to the mayoral chamber capturing 43.6% of the valid mayoral votes cast.

Wikipedia described her greatest challenges and  successes in Hamilton –

. . her greatest challenge during her term as Mayor as opening the books on the financial status of the V8 Super Car Racing, a major event which was entered into by the previous Council. Her leadership and resolve during the process, which included establishing a City financial recovery plan moving the Council out of a 9-year run of operating deficits, received accolades from across the political spectrum. [14] In 2010 City debt was $422 million and forecast to increase to $830 million. By 2016 the Council was running operating surpluses and debt had reduced to $348 million.[14]

‘ll work in Auckland during the week, specialising in employment and public law, and many of her former clients have been back in touch already,” she told Fairfax media recently.

Having had 17 years’ experience in dispute resolution and employment law, she has taken on the new challenge with the political experience to presumably enhance her ability to handle public law work too.

She decided on Chen Palmer when assessing what opportunities existed for a lawyer with her background and experience.

“I looked around at the opportunities across New Zealand to do the kind of law I’m skilled to do and that would be challenging and exciting,” she said.

“[Chen Palmer is] a fantastic law firm. It’s got great opportunities.”

Onward and Upward

Part of her new role with Chen Palmer will be working with Mai Chen’s Superdiversity Centre, which delves into how to maximise the benefits of a diverse workforce. That aligns well with Hardaker’s recent research paper on gender stereotypes, leadership and workplace conflict, which she did to complete her master’s in management at the University of Waikato.

Unconscious bias leads to assumptions made every day, she told Fairfax.  “They are based on traditional views and views from the past.”

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