Parliament

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

 

Legal Aid Bill Passed

The Legal Services Bill which passed its third and final reading this evening will ensure that the public gets the best return possible from the money spent on legal aid, Justice Minister Phil Goff said today.

The Bill overhauls the administration of legal aid through the establishment of a new Legal Services Agency. The changes will take effect on 1 February 2001.

"Access to justice is a fundamental principle underlying our justice system," Mr Goff said. "No New Zealander should be denied legal representation solely because of their inability to pay.

"We spend $100 million annually upholding that principle. Legal aid increased in cost alarmingly during the 1990s. 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 now 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.

"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.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

General Assembly: Ardern Rejects Trump Call For War On Drugs

New Zealand will not be signing the United States' document calling for global action on the war on drugs, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

Ms Ardern is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly this week, along with about 140 other world leaders.

US President Donald Trump is kicking off his week at the UN by holding an event to promote the US document called the Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem. More>>

 

Hunting v Pest Control: Tahr Control Needed To Protect Alpine Habitats

A cull of introduced Himalayan tahr browsing conservation land in Kā Tiritiri o Te Moana/ the Southern Alps is needed to protect special alpine plants and their habitats, Conservation Minister, Eugenie Sage said. More>>

ALSO:

Protest At Sea: Judge Discharges Greenpeace Activists

The judge today discharged Norman and Howell without conviction, saying the cumulative consequences of a conviction would be out of proportion to what was “low level” offending off the Wairarapa coast in April 2017. More>>

ALSO:

Meth Testing Report: Housing NZ "To Right Wrong"

Phil Twyford “Housing NZ acknowledges that around 800 tenants suffered by either losing their tenancies, losing their possessions, being suspended from the public housing waiting list, negative effects on their credit ratings or, in the worst cases, being made homeless.” More>>

ALSO:

No Reshuffle: Meka Whaitiri Removed As A Minister

Meka Whaitiri will be removed as a Minister with immediate effect... The decision was made after receiving a report into an incident that occurred on 27 August in Gisborne, involving Meka Whaitiri and one of her staff. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Equity Bill: Making History For Women’s Pay

The Equal Pay Amendment Bill, introduced to the House today, will make it easier for workers to make a pay equity claim , using a more simple and accessible process within New Zealand’s existing bargaining framework. More>>

ALSO:

Asylum: Refugee Quota Increasing To 1500

“The quota increase will take place from July 2020. In the meantime, we will work to increase the number and spread of refugee resettlement and support services. We need to make sure we’re prepared for this change in policy.” More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels