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


Minister fiddles as legal aid slips into crisis

Chris Finlayson MP
National Party Shadow Attorney-General
Kate Wilkinson MP
National Party Associate Justice Spokeswoman

14 June 2006

Minister fiddles as legal aid slips into crisis

The National Party says Labour is allowing the legal aid system to slip further into crisis while it conducts a survey of ‘unmet legal needs’.

“How many people will escape justice, or be wrongly convicted because of Labour’s nonsensical approach to legal aid? Poorer Kiwis have just as much right to the best legal representation as those who can afford to pay top dollar for top lawyers,” says National’s Shadow Attorney-General Chris Finlayson.

The Law Society has confirmed that many law firms are withdrawing from the legal aid scheme because of Labour-initiated changes that make it uneconomic.

“This is about fair representation for those who would otherwise not be able to afford the best legal advice,” Mr Finlayson says.

Yesterday, Justice Minister Mark Burton launched a survey on legal aid, with results expected at the end of the year.

“When Rome is burning around you it’s time to act. Instead, we’ve got a Minister who wants to put his head in the sand and pretend there aren’t major problems in his portfolio,” says National’s Associate Justice spokeswoman, Kate Wilkinson.

“Perversely, what Labour is promoting here is a legal system that allows the rich to get the best advice available, while the poor have to settle for what they’re given.

“At the same time that Labour is forcing lawyers out of the legal aid game, it has opened up the criteria so more people are eligible. Put simply - fewer lawyers - more clients.

“How many people will be denied effective counsel while the Minister fiddles with his survey? Isn’t one preventable miscarriage of justice one too many?” asks Ms Wilkinson.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Corrections Corrected: Supreme Court Rules On Release Dates

Corrections has always followed the lawful rulings of the Court in its calculation of sentence release dates. On four previous occasions, the Court of Appeal had upheld Corrections’ practices in calculating pre-sentence detention. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>


Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news