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More good news from a focussed Budget

Hon Rick Barker
Minister for Courts
Minister of Civil Defence
Minister of Internal Affairs
Minister of Veterans' Affairs

23 May 2006
Media Release

More good news from a focussed Budget

Courts Minister Rick Barker today announced that much needed extensions can be made to the Christchurch District and High Courts as a result of funding for Ministry of Justice construction projects announced in budget 2006.

Mr Barker says "Budget 2006 made provision for $42million over four years to be spent on the extension project. This represents a fulfilment to the Labour-led Government's promise to ensure that facilities are provided that strengthen our ability to respond to and support the demands of New Zealand families and communities.

"New Zealand courts are being strengthened and enhanced to ensure they cope with current and future demands. Communities need facilities that meet their expectations of expeditious justice processes in an environment that is safe and secure, the commitment from this government reflects that expectation.

"The existing Christchurch Courthouse is overcrowded and concerns have been expressed about the building falling short of providing adequate and safe operational facilities. There is a requirement within such a busy courthouse for increased space to meet the needs of the court users both now and into the future," said Mr Barker.

The Christchurch Courthouse was built in 1978 with upgrades and additions being made in 1999 and 2005. A needs analysis has identified the requirement for approximately 5,755 square metres of additional space to meet present needs and a further 3,750 square metres to meet future requirements.

The proposed work will provide approximately 9,500 square metres of additional floor space to be utilised as:

- Additional Judges chambers

- Enlarged staff, administrative and customer areas

- Additional courtrooms

- Additional hearing rooms

- Segregated waiting rooms

- Enlarged public waiting areas

No details of the project are yet available but planning work is to begin immediately and construction is expected to commence around mid 2007.

"I'm pleased that we can respond so positively to the needs identified by Christchurch," he said.

ENDS

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