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JPs must do the task - or go

JPs must do the task - or go

National's Justice spokesman Richard Worth is calling for closer scrutiny of the work undertaken by Justices of the Peace.

His comments follow claims by the Auckland Justice of the Peace Association's president that many JPs are ignoring their responsibilities to the public. Some are reportedly refusing to carry out tasks unless they are paid.

"JPs aren't allowed to accept payment for their services. They're appointed to carry out a community duty, not to just sit smugly on a title," says Mr Worth.

"The Justice Minister must look into this. It's estimated that only about 400 of the 1800 JPs in the Auckland region are diligent in their duties - doing such tasks as document certification, issuing search warrants and the judicial duties of appointment to Court panels.

"The work of a JP is critical and I'm appalled that some won't perform their ministerial tasks unless they receive payment," says Mr Worth.

"If they're not prepared to fully take on the role, they should resign.

"Maybe the prospect of a change to the law resulting in closer scrutiny of JPs' warrants is the answer," he says.

"There are 10-thousand JPs in New Zealand, but unfortunately some are letting down the rest by damaging the institution and an ancient office which dates back to 1361," says Mr Worth.

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