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$156.5 million to ease Courts, justice pressures

19 May 2005

Hon Phil Goff - Minister of Justice

$156.5 million to ease Courts, justice pressures

Pressure on Court services and justice policy work will be eased by additional funding of $156.5 million over the next four years, says Justice Minister Phil Goff.

"A baseline review of the Ministry of Justice's operations, carried out last year, found that considerable additional resources were needed to manage a workload that has grown substantially in recent years," Mr Goff said.

"Funding in Budget 2005 will enable the Ministry to invest in staff and infrastructure to deliver more efficient court services, especially in high-volume courts that are experiencing delays in processing cases."

Major aspects of the allocation include:
„h $25.2 million for court operations;
„h $17 million on catch-up maintenance to improve facilities for court users;
„h $59 million on upgrading IT infrastructure and capability;
„h $14 million on policy development; and,
„h $25.3 million on staff and management resources.

"The funding will be targeted at streamlining court processes and improving the timeliness of hearings through better scheduling and technology. More resources will be put into training management and staff in decision-making; the judiciary will gain enhanced research assistance and administrative support, and all court users can expect clearer information," Mr Goff said.

"The Ministry's capacity to undertake more policy work, and advise government on emerging social issues and international developments impacting on future policy decisions will also be strengthened. A well-functioning justice system is the foundation of a healthy democracy, and this government is committed to ensuring that all New Zealanders involved in the justice system find it fair and accessible.

"Improvements have been made already in the delivery of services since the Ministry merged with the Department of Courts 18 months ago, and today's announcement will ensure those improvements continue," Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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