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National attack on Courts misguided

Hon Rick Barker
Minister for Courts


16 Novemeber 2007
Media Statement
National attack on Courts misguided

Courts Minister, Rick Barker has called Simon Power's attacks on the Courts misguided.

"After eight years of constant improvement, leadership and investment from the Labour-led government our Courts system is being transformed," Mr Barker said.

"Our Courts provide timely and top level access to justice in the face of increasing workloads. Labour has invested heavily in Court buildings, staff and technology. In fact, only yesterday I was in Taupo to officially reopen the completely refurbished Courthouse – a $3m project.

"We've appointed 25 new Judges with additional support staff across all courts since 2000, we’ve improved training resources for staff, we are digitising records, we have introduced video conferencing, introduced the electronic filing of infringements, and all of this is contributing to the improved performance of our Courts.

“Despite more cases coming before our courts our investments are making a difference. Both the High Court and District Courts are dealing with and disposing of more cases each year.

"In the High Court disposals have increased by 9% in the last two years. In the District Court disposals have improved by 8%. This in the face of a significant increase in the number of cases being brought to the courts as a result of our strong stand on crime and on the effectiveness of our police force.

"These are exceptionally good figures and a much better measure of Court performance than the number of cases on hand – which is in many situations beyond the control of Courts.

"Nationwide, Labour has completed five new courthouses and 28 major courthouse refurbishments in the last six years. A further two new courthouses are currently being planned and eight more major refurbishments are either planned.

"Simon Power should recognise the hard work of Court's staff and the investments made by this government instead of launching misguided attacks.

"Courts have a good record of service and improvements and the public can look forward to Courts continuing to deliver improved access to justice for all New Zealanders," Mr Barker said.

ends

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