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Secret Court Judge Heard – In Secret

Secret Court Judge Heard – In Secret

Wednesday 16th May 2001 Stephen Franks Media Release -- Social Welfare

ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman is condemning the decision of Parliament’s Social Services Committee to close the doors to the public on a briefing from principal Family Court Judge Patrick Mahony today.

“I see bitter irony in us discussing behind closed doors a court which is being publicly criticised for the fact it operates in secrecy.

“I pressed for the whole of Judge Mahony’s briefing to be open to the public, as many New Zealanders are concerned about and vitally interested in the operation of the Family Court.

“Earlier this year I put before Parliament a private members bill which would have changed the presumption of the Family Court from closed to open. Not only did this Government vote it down but today we even saw them close down open discussion in a select committee of Parliament.

“In a free democracy open justice is in the public interest. This is a Government – which in spite of election promises to the contrary – is demonstrating no commitment to either,” Dr Newman said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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