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Wilkinson wrong (but consistent) Says Barker

Wilkinson wrong (but consistent)

National MP Kate Wilkinson used Question Time today as yet another opportunity to mislead with misinformation and draw wrong conclusions, Court Minister Rick Barker said.

"Kate Wilkinson's attacks on the New Zealand Court system are ill-judged and plain wrong," said Rick Barker.

"In a press release last week Kate Wilkinson said the number of High Court Judges has risen to three. In fact we have increased the number to thirty-three.

"In the same press release she stated that the median waiting times for High Court Jury Trials have increased in every South Island Court. Wrong again. There were no outstanding High Court Jury trials in Blenheim, Nelson or Invercargill as at 30 June 2006.

"Today during Question Time Kate Wilkinson said I put out a press release to the Marlborough Express. I did not.

"Mrs Wilkinson spends her time worrying about the appointment of six additional staff for the Christchurch District Court. She's taken the unusual step of directing the National Party Research Unit to phone around Courts to find out when these new staff start. If she wanted to know she should have just contacted me - the positions will be advertised later this month.

"She showed in the House today that she's fascinated by a receptionist job being advertised at the Christchurch District Court. I want her to know that she's welcome to apply for this, or the six new jobs that will be advertised shortly at the Christchurch District Court. She needs to be mindful however that we employ on merit.

"It's time the Kate Wilkinson stopped attacking our court system and acknowledged that this Labour-led government is putting right what the National Party made wrong.

"Labour inherited a collection of run down buildings, a paper based registry and some decisions were even made in triplicate with carbon paper! National had carefully preserved our Courts in Victorian trim and there was no hint that the digital age had arrived.

"Labour by comparison has installed computer case management systems, are modernizing and replacing 100 year old courts, are adding extra judges and staff, and most recently provided video conferencing facilities.

"More improvements are to come," said Rick Barker.

ends

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