Deirdre Watson


I am a lawyer of nearly 30 year’s experience, with a substantial practice in franchise disputes. I have acted for many well-known New Zealand franchisors. I have been involved in preparing submissions on legislative changes, am well-read on franchising decisions from the Courts and have often freely shared my knowledge on request, via LinkedIn, and other media outlets. I believe I bring a wealth of knowledge and legal skill to the Board.


New Zealand is a highly regulated society. As the franchising industry grows, it will continue to face challenges in terms of legislative proposals and the fall-out caused by unscrupulous operators. The Association has, as one of its objects, the need to encourage best practice and increase public confidence in franchising. There have been some nasty blows dealt to the reputation of franchising in the Australian jurisdiction, where disgruntled franchisees have brought large actions against franchisors. I believe the Association needs to ensure this does not also become a New Zealand phenomenon, by continuing to find ways to improve standards and to improve the reputation of the FANZ brand, as well as responding appropriately to proposed legislative changes.


I also believe it is easy, where changes in a Board occur infrequently, for an industry association to lose its way, fall out of touch with what members want and make forays into areas which are not really core business. FANZ is largely populated by franchisors, with membership numbers remaining relatively stagnant. As such, it is harder than ever to get the flow of new blood and ideas coming through. I believe the Association should continue to work at addressing what members want, looking at ways to ensure it is providing value to members, and to improve the lines of communication between itself and members generally.


I warmly thank the outgoing Board members for the committed service and time they have freely given to the Association. I welcome the opportunity to be part of a changing of the guard.