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

 


Barker Speech to Central Region Regional JPs

Rick Barker: Speech to Central Region Regional Justices of the Peace Seminar, Little Theatre, Stafford Street - Feilding, Saturday 19 July

Speech to Central Region Regional Justices of the Peace Seminar, Little Theatre, Stafford Street - Feilding, Saturday 19 July

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen and thank you for the opportunity of attending your regional seminar today to discuss proposed changes to the administration of JPs.

This government recognises the important contribution that JPs make to their local communities and the fact they are often the first port of call for people seeking assistance on matters across a broad spectrum.

It is for that reason that the Government is committed to enhancing the standing of the office of JPs, particularly in relation to their ministerial functions.

We have decided to move forward with reforms of the Justice of the Peace Act and The Royal Federation of Justices of the Peace Associations has already made a valuable contribution to the policy process underpinning that.

We are also continuing to make improvements to the appointments processes for JPs because we need to ensure that JPs are genuinely representative of their communities and that quality JPs are appointed.

I would also like to see a good gender and age balance in JP nominations from a full range of ethnic communities.

My predecessor, the Hon Paul Swain issued new guidelines on JP nomination and appointment policies.

The guidelines placed increased emphasis on ensuring an adequate distribution of JPs across electorates and on improving the representative mix of JPs within an electorate. The guidelines also ensured that there were letters of support from community groups for JP nominees.

The proposed reforms of the Justices of the Peace Act focus on the important role that JPs perform in their ministerial responsibilities. There are two main areas of change, primarily:

· New training requirements and · A new disciplinary and removals regime.

It is proposed that all newly appointed JPs would undertake training before taking their oath. This would ensure that they fully understood the significance and responsibilities associated with their new role when they take their oath of office.

The Government supports the need for initial training and thinks this should be a requirement in law.

Ongoing training is important but will not be mandatory. The Royal Federation would continue to be an important source of ongoing education for JPs.

All JPs would be able to access training on a voluntary basis if they have identified gaps in knowledge that need addressing.

The new Justice of the Peace Act would also contain clear grounds 1for the removal of members.

The current Act only provides that the Governor General may remove a JP from Office but gives no grounds. This maintains a lack of clarity for JPs and the public about what is expected.

The government has agreed that the grounds for removal should be: · An inability to perform the functions of the office; · Neglect of duty; · Behaviour or conduct that is inappropriate or undesirable; · Conviction of a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment; · Bankruptcy.

These grounds recognise the high standard of behaviour that is expected of JPs as community role models.

In addition, the Governor-General and the Secretary for Justice would be able to impose sanctions short of removal.

This would ensure that behavioural issues that do not warrant removal but still need some sort of remedial action are dealt with appropriately.

As with the new grounds for removal, the focus is on ensuring the integrity of the office of Justice of the Peace and maintaining public confidence.

The new legislation would provide the Governor General or the Secretary for Justice with the ability to:

· Require a JP to apologise for his or her conduct; · Issue the JP with an official rebuke; · Require the JP to undertake further training in an area relevant to his or her duties; · Require a JP to undertake appropriate counselling; · Suspend a JP from office for a period of not exceeding 90 days.

The legislation would require that the disciplinary regime would observe the principles of natural justice.

JPs who have served the community but wish to withdraw their services and retire would be allowed to use the title "JP (retired)."

This title would be available to JPs who have served in office for at least 10 years.

This proposed change to the Act recognises the significance of the contribution made by retired JPs.

The Government has not yet made any decisions about the roles of Judicial JPs or Community Magistrates, but that may change after the Law Commission's review of the structure of the courts is finalised in November. The future of JPs in the District Court needs to be considered in the light of broader issues relating to the structure of the Courts.

The policy development process for the Review of the Justices of the Peace Act is now largely complete. The Parliamentary Counsel Office has been instructed to draft a bill.

When the Bill is introduced into Parliament is dependent on competing priorities. As you are all no doubt aware, parliamentary time is a scarce resource relative to the number of Bills.

However, the fact that we have achieved Government decisions and the Bill is in preparation represents significant progress.

After the Bill is introduced and reaches select committee stage, I hope you will consider making submissions.

I have asked my officials to keep you in touch with progress and we will be happy to consult you on the draft Bill.

Thank you once again for inviting me here today to address your seminar and I'm happy to take any questions you have on the points I've just discussed.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

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>>

ALSO:

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>>

ALSO:

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>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news