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Coroners Bill Significant To Maori

10 March 2005

Coroners Bill Significant To Maori

New Zealand First is urging Maori to make submissions on the Coroners Bill, which will give greater recognition to the cultural and spiritual needs of Maori in times of bereavement.

“The shortcomings of the current Coroners Act (1988) were identified in a study by the Law Commission in 2000, which highlighted the need for more understanding of cultural beliefs and values, particularly those of Maori,” said Maori Affairs spokesperson Pita Paraone.

“Increasing the effectiveness of the coronial system will enhance public confidence in the system. This involves striking a balance between the needs of families and the duty of the coroner to identify the cause and circumstances of the death.

“Appointing a chief coroner, and moving to a dedicated team of full-time, legally qualified coroners will help achieve this balance, and will enable a consistency of practice that is lacking under the current Act.

“Maori can voice their concerns about current procedures and contribute to the formulation of this legislation by making submissions to the Justice and Electoral select committee. The closing date for submissions has been extended to 1 April. I urge Maori to take this opportunity to be heard,” said Mr Paraone.

ENDS


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