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Barker bungles his way through courts funding

Kate Wilkinson MP
National Party Associate Justice Spokeswoman

15 September 2006

Barker bungles his way through courts funding

National Party Associate Justice spokeswoman Kate Wilkinson says Courts Minister Rick Barker should get on top of his portfolio, after conflicting statements about spending on courts.

“In his rush to defend a failing court system where waiting times are growing and legal aid is in crisis, a confused Mr Barker has revealed a lack of attention to his portfolio.”

On September 7 Rick Barker said Labour had put $165 million into courts. The same day, he issued a statement saying he’d put $156 million into courts. A week earlier he’d said $156 million had gone into both courts and justice.

“When I asked him which was correct in Parliament, he said they all were.

“I shouldn’t have to tell him this, but they can’t all be correct.”

Ms Wilkinson says issues like the crisis in legal aid, where battered women are being forced to represent themselves because lawyers won’t take their cases, and the backlog in court cases, deserve more attention.

“This is a Minister who publicly disagrees with the view that justice delayed is justice denied. It’s truly worrying that he doesn’t appear to accept the negative impacts of long waiting times on victims and those who are accused.”


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