Catriona Maclennan

Catriona MacLennan is a barrister, journalist, author, report writer, television presenter, media commentator and project director.

Catriona has practised law in the areas of consumer credit, family, domestic violence, employment, traffic, criminal, benefit and immigration law. She was a Duty Lawyer for eleven years. Catriona was a political reporter for six years in the Press Gallery at Parliament. She writes opinion pieces for The New Zealand Herald and The Dominion Post and has written extensively for legal publications over the past 14 years. She is the author of five books and has presented six television series. Catriona has written reports for the Parliamentary Counsel Office and the New Zealand Law Society and worked on a report for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. She helped establish and was the first lawyer to work at Nga Ture Kaitiaki ki Waikato Community Law Centre and was the Project Director for Nga Tangata Microfinance Trust, a scheme to provide affordable loans to low-income families. Catriona was the co-winner of the Bruce Jesson Foundation’s Senior Journalism Award for 2015 for a report on the feasibility of Auckland Council paying a Living Wage to employees and contractors. Click on the tabs for more details of work in specific areas.

latest blog posts


27 Mar 2018
  Rodeos are against the law in New Zealand.   Yet, each year, more than 30 rodeos take place.   How can this be ?   I’ve written a report, The Legal Status of Rodeo in New Zealand, which is published by the New Zealand Animal Law Association and was launched at Parliament in March.   It explains for the first time how codes of welfare are being used as a cloak to permit unlawful conduct in rodeos.   The Animal Welfare Act aims to ensure that owners…
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28 Oct 2017
Congratulations to the new Government on taking office. Now, it’s time for it to get down to the urgent business of fixing our broken and punitive welfare state. Both Labour and the Greens campaigned on reforming the benefit system, and an overhaul of welfare is one of the items in the Labour-Greens Confidence & Supply Agreement. Here are 15 steps that are needed – 1 Set benefits at liveable levels. This is the most urgent and important action required. 2 Begin an immediate review of al…
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25 Oct 2017
Beneficiaries who borrow money to feed their children should have their benefits cut but those who borrow to buy shares should be entitled to benefit support, according to the Ministry of Social Development. The Auckland High Court will hear the closing day of argument in a test case about benefit entitlement on 27 October. MSD argues that loans taken out by beneficiaries to survive comprise “income,” and accordingly disqualify them from benefit support. The hearing started in Jul…
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