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National warned about Judge's past last year

Judith Collins MP
National Party Associate Justice Spokeswoman

27 February 2004

National issued warning about Judge's past last year

National Party Associate Justice spokeswoman Judith Collins says she warned Margaret Wilson and the Government about the appointment of Anthony Christiansen in February last year.

Under the headline 'National Questions Appointment of Former Judge' Ms Collins said that the Judge had been the subject of a complaint from a female court worker about an inappropriate advance.

"It's deeply troubling that the Government and the Solicitor-General chose to ignore the warning," says Ms Collins.

"At the time of his resignation from the District Court, Justice Minister Phil Goff said that the former Judge could have brought the judiciary into disrepute.

"I was surprised when Margaret Wilson and Terence Arnold then decided to make him a Master of the Court," says Ms Collins, who is a former vice-President of the New Zealand Law Society.

"This was, and remains another controversial appointment by Margaret Wilson, who will soon have the power to appoint the Supreme Court's top judges in one sweeping move.

"It is unusual for a Judge to return to the judiciary. Margaret Wilson needs to tell New Zealanders why it occurred in this case, when a Judge had left previously under controversial circumstances," Mrs Collins says.

Ends

(Attached: Answers to written questions lodged February 14, 2003)

Parliamentary Questions

330 (2003). Judith Collins to the Minister of Justice (14 February 2003):
Was he consulted by the Attorney-General prior to the appointment of Anthony Christiansen to be a Master of the High Court; if he was, what form did that consultation take?

Hon Phil Goff (Minister of Justice) replied: Yes. The Attorney-General notified me of her intention to make this appointment.

331 (2003). Judith Collins to the Minister of Justice (14 February 2003):
Does he stand by his statement that it was appropriate for Anthony Christiansen to resign as a District Court Judge as "he could have brought the judiciary into disrepute"?

Hon Phil Goff (Minister of Justice) replied: Yes


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