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Courts-Justice Merger Risky Business

Courts-Justice Merger Risky Business

Friday 16 May 2003 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Governance & Constitution

Whether the Government's plan, to merge the Department of Courts and the Justice Ministry, is good or bad for New Zealand will depend on the calibre and ideologies of the bureaucrats who end up as winners in, what will be, a much bigger empire, ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"The old, huge Justice Department was split because of frustration, and some well-founded concerns, that the courts' interests were being subordinated to more pressing political priorities. There is a risk that the independence of the courts, and our separation of powers, could suffer if the same thing happens again," Mr Franks said.

"And if judges - through the integration of courts - become too close to the Justice Minister, we could see an unhealthy alignment of establishment dogma. At least now, there is the prospect of separate sources of advice and advocacy in Cabinet.

"I would feel much less concerned if this was not being promoted by the Attorney General, and her patron Ms Clark," Mr Franks 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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