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


Govt's approach to tribunal reform released

Hon Rick Barker
Minister for Courts

14 July 2008

Government’s preferred approach to tribunal reform released

Courts Minister Rick Barker today launched a consultation document aimed at improving New Zealanders satisfaction with tribunal services.

Tribunals in New Zealand: the Government’s Preferred Approach to Reform outlines the government’s preferred approach for reforming tribunals, and seeks feedback on the proposals by August 29, 2008.

“Tribunals are a vital part of our justice system. They generally provide relatively cheap and quick ways to resolve certain types of disputes. 52,000 cases were filed last year in our tribunals, showing how important they are to New Zealanders,” Mr Barker said.

“There are many positive aspects to tribunals. The people that adjudicate in them and work in them are by and large capable and committed, and users surveyed said the tribunals were the most appropriate way to settle their dispute. However, there are some issues that have developed over many decades, as tribunals have been established on an ad-hoc basis to provide a means for resolving a certain type of dispute.

“There is no overall guidance or leadership of tribunals, there is duplication of resource, and inconsistencies in how they do their work, and what kind of powers they have. Too often users don’t get the information they need to let them participate effectively in hearings.”

Minister Barker said given the range of issues identified, the government was proposing different types of reform.

“The preferred approach keeps what is good about tribunals, and works to fix systemic issues and provide better support to users and tribunal members. I would like to commend the staff at the Ministry of Justice and the Law Commission and the members of the reference group for their efforts in delivering the proposal thus far”

The consultation document proposes a new legislative framework to bring more consistency and introduce basic minimum standards.

“A large group of tribunals would be brought together in one structure to enable better support and use of resources, and enhance coherence and leadership across tribunals. Having one unified tribunal structure means we can put in place helpful services like a freephone number and website, and provide the public with better information from the outset.

"The proposed tribunal changes are just one part of a wider package of reform. We are also restoring infrastructure, overhauling the legislation, instituting a process for continuous improvement, and constructively working with justice sector partners to enhance the access to justice and the justice experience for New Zealanders."

Under the government’s preferred approach to tribunal reform, comprehensive guidelines would be developed to ensure that new tribunals are not established in an ad hoc way and that the system remains strong and cohesive into the future.

“I want to see that tribunals encapsulate the hallmarks of courts, that they are independent and focussed on making sound, robust and fair decisions for New Zealanders,” Mr Barker said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And Times Of Peter Dunne

In the end, Mr Pragmatic calmly read the signs of impending defeat and went out on his own terms. You could use any number of clichés to describe Peter Dunne’s exit from Parliament.

The unkind might talk of sinking ships, others could be more reminded of a loaded revolver left on the desk by his Cabinet colleagues as they closed the door behind them, now that the polls in Ohariu had confirmed he was no longer of much use to National. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>


Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>


Deregistered: Independent Board Decision On Family First

The Board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable... More>>


Transport Policies: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>


Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election