Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Legal Aid overhaul

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Justice
Media Statement
4 October 2000

Legal Aid overhaul

Justice Minister Phil Goff today signalled the Government's determination to pass the Legal Services Bill which he said will ensure that the public gets the best return possible from the money spent on legal aid.

"Access to justice is a fundamental principle underlying our justice system. No New Zealander should be denied legal representation solely because of their inability to pay, " Mr Goff said as the Bill came back to the House after the Select Committee stage.

"At $100 million annually, legal aid doesn't come cheap and it increased in cost alarmingly between 1994 and 1999. It is important, therefore, that legal aid services are delivered consistently and efficiently.

"The present system, which relies primarily on volunteers, is no longer adequate. Despite the valuable work contributed by the vast majority of the volunteers involved, the system has suffered from inconsistent decision-making, poor expenditure control and serious processing backlogs.

"The volunteers will be replaced by a professional agency, the Legal Services Agency.

"The Labour Alliance Government has made a significant change to the structure of the new Legal Services Agency proposed by the previous government. It will now draw on the major strength of the subcommittee system - that is, local knowledge - through the establishment of a network of regional offices.

"The Select Committee has also recommended that the Agency should be able to establish local consultative groups to advise on the general delivery of legal aid.

"This extra source of advice complements that offered by the Public Advisory Committee and together they will ensure that the Agency will be responsive to local needs.

"I have now appointed an establishment Board for the new Legal Services Agency. This board has held an initial planning workshop and has recommended that the changes to legal services administration take effect on 1 February 2001. The Bill's passage will allow this to occur.

"Reform in legal aid will progress in two legislative stages. This Bill reforms administration of legal aid. A separate exercise next year will address questions relating to legal aid eligibility criteria," Mr Goff concluded.

Details of new LSA Board Members attached.

New LSA Board members: Following extensive consultations with Ministerial colleagues as proposed by the Bill, and a number of other parties, including the New Zealand Law Society and the Coalition of Community Law Centres, I have identified the six members who will form the establishment Board of the Legal Services Agency. They are:
 Stephen O'Driscoll (Chairperson) - a Dunedin lawyer and current Presiding Member of the Legal Services Board;
 Margaret Boyd-Bell - an Auckland accountant, current member of the Legal Services Board and acting Presiding Member of the Auckland District Legal Services Committee;
 Harete Hipango - a Wanganui lawyer with the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services;
 Joanne Morris - a Wellington lawyer, member of the Waitangi Tribunal and former Law Commisisoner who authored the 1999 study on "Women's Access to Legal Services";
 Bob Perry - a Christchurch lawyer, current member of the Legal Services Board, and Presiding Member of the Canterbury District Legal Services Committee;
 Pauline Winter - the Auckland-based Chief Executive Officer of Workbridge which provides specialist job placement for employers and for people with all types of disability._

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Supreme Court: Worksafe Decision On Whittall Pike River Prosecution Unlawful

The question in issue on the appeal was whether WorkSafe New Zealand acted to give effect to an unlawful agreement of this nature when it offered no evidence on charges against Peter William Whittall for breaches of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992...

The Supreme Court... has found that the decision to offer no evidence was made under an unlawful agreement to stifle prosecution. It has granted a declaration to that effect. More>>


Cullen To Chair: Tax Working Group Terms Of Reference Announced

Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Revenue Minister Stuart Nash today announced the Terms of Reference for the Tax Working Group and that the Group will be chaired by Sir Michael Cullen. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them. More>>


Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>


Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>


Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election