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


New Era For Legal Aid

A major change in the administration of legal aid with the Legal Services Act coming into effect from today.

"The Act will ensure the public gets the best possible return from the money spent on legal aid," said Justice Minister Phil Goff.

The Act overhauls the administration of legal aid with the establishment of the new Legal Services Agency, which replaces the Legal Services Board.

Mr Goff said "The new system is designed to deliver greater efficiency and accountability in the provision of legal services. It aims to give the taxpayer and legal aid recipients a better deal for the $100 million we spend on legal aid every year.

"The previous system relied heavily on volunteers. Despite valuable work contributed by the vast majority of volunteers involved, the system suffered from inefficiencies, inconsistencies and occasional rorts."

Problems included failures of subcommittee meetings to be well enough attended to have a statutory quorum and backlogs in processing applications.

"For example, delays reached 11 weeks in Auckland last year representing a backlog of 2000 files, or $3 million in unpaid accounts."

The Minister said the move to the Legal Services Agency structure was not a cost-cutting measure but a better way of making use of the money being spent.

"The level of expenditure requires that we ensure that we get value for the money we are spending. Savings made by a more efficient administration also allows us to consider extending legal aid eligibility to other applicants. This being considered in a review to be completed this year," Mr Goff said.

The Agency will utilise local knowledge through the establishment of a network or regional offices. This will complement the advice available from the Public Advisory Committee.

"This is a significant improvement on the design of the Agency as proposed by the previous government and it will help ensure that it is responsive to local needs," said the Minister.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>


More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news