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Supreme Court costs

27 September 2006

Supreme Court costs

National MP Kate Wilkinson's comments on the cost of the Supreme Court are another example of her comparing apples with oranges, Courts Minister Rick Barker said today.

"In 2002 $19 million was allocated to renovate the old High Court. This was an initial estimate of what it would take at that time, solely for restoration and to house the Supreme Court," said Rick Barker.

"It soon became apparent however that a functional Supreme Court would not fit in the old High Court building.

"The old High Court was built in 1881 and it just cannot meet the requirements of a modern Supreme Court when future proofing our courts is a priority for this government.

"You can't just knock down the old High Court, it's a heritage building. That's why we are building a new building that will house the main courtroom and be sympathetic to the historic old High Court building.

"Instead of the 2002 figure of $19 million we've allocated $25.3 million to restore the old High Court building to its former glory. A significant cost in the restoration of the old High Court building is base isolation for seismic protection.

"The $39.8 million represents the amount allocated for the new Supreme Court building, the design of which has been praised by groups such as the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

"The building has been designed using energy efficient technology and this will reduce future operational costs.

"The Supreme Court is now firmly established as a cornerstone of New Zealand's constitutional arrangements and this building will reflect that.

"National neglected our Courts in the Nineties. This Labour-led Government is building and modernising courts throughout the country and I'm proud of our record of achievement.

"Kate Wilkinson is opposed to this and every other Courts initiative. What she needs to do is tell us what she is in favour of", said Rick Barker.

ENDS

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