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

 


Simon Power Speech: Opening of the Wellington Public Defence

Opening of the Wellington Public Defence Service

Good afternoon.

I'd like to acknowledge fellow MPs and members of the judiciary and the legal profession for being here today to mark the opening of the Public Defence Service in the Wellington region.

This PDS branch will service district courts in Wellington, Porirua, and Lower Hutt, as well as the higher courts, including the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

It is also from this location that the Public Defender for the southern region will ultimately lead the expansion of the PDS into the South Island.

Over the past two-and-a-half years I've had the privilege of opening a number of PDS branches, but this one's particularly significant as it's the first to open south of the Bombay Hills.

And that is truly a testament to just how far the PDS has come since it was first trialled back in 2004.

The PDS is designed to deliver an in-house, high-quality legal aid service through the use of salaried staff rather than contracted lawyers.

And, two independent evaluations of the PDS pilot at the Auckland and Manukau courts in 2007 showed that it was achieving its goal.

The evaluation found that:

* Stakeholders, including the judiciary, prosecutors, and court staff, noted the quality and preparation that PDS lawyers demonstrated in their cases, and pointed in particular to the mentoring and training opportunities that senior PDS staff are able to provide to junior lawyers.
* The flow of PDS cases through the court system led to a two-thirds reduction in jury trials, with savings in court time estimated at $400,000, not including prosecution cost savings.

* The PDS produced savings compared with the estimated cost of equivalent private provision.
* The PDS maintained or improved the quality of legal services as measured by three indicators - client experience, case handling and outcomes, and stakeholder perceptions.

* Most importantly, the independent evaluations found that cost savings were achieved with no difference in outcomes for clients, as measured by overall conviction rates.

Ladies and gentlemen, I want to make it very clear that I see the PDS as playing a vital role in the new legal aid system we are developing in response to Dame Margaret Bazley's report of 2009, which expressed concern about the quality of legal aid services.

The Government's response to that report is detailed in the Legal Services Bill which is due for its third reading in Parliament in the near future.

But quality is not the only issue facing legal aid.

Legal aid expenditure has grown substantially in the past decade - so much so that it's now forecast to result in a $402 million gap between forecast and baseline legal aid expenditure over five years.

We cannot continue to ignore the substantial cost pressures the system is facing, which is why I'll soon be announcing a package of proposals to get the legal aid growth curve back under control, while ensuring continuing access to justice.

Ladies and gentlemen, 2011 will be an exciting year for the Public Defence Service, with it bedding in in Wellington and establishing itself in Hamilton.

As I have outlined, legal aid is facing some very real challenges but it's a pleasure to be here today to mark the opening of a service which I see as very much part of the solution.

Thank you.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sits at 10.30am today before MPs are summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber.

The speech delivered by the Governor-General on the Government’s behalf outlines its priorities for this Parliament.

After this MPs will return to the House for the presentation of petitions and papers and the introduction of any bills.

The Government has five notices of motion on the Order Paper which can be debated. These relate to relating to the appointment of the Deputy Speaker, Assistant Speakers, the reinstatement of business in a carryover motion and one on “Entities to be deemed public organisations”. More>>

 

Tertiary Education: Students Doing It Tough As Fees Rise Again

The Government is making it increasingly difficult for Kiwis to gain tertiary education as fees continue to rise and access to student support becomes even more restricted, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. More>>

ALSO:

Housing, Iraq: PM Press Conference – 20 October 2014

Prime Minister John Key met with press today to discuss:
• Housing prices and redevelopment in Auckland
• Discussions with Tony Abbott on the governmental response to ISIS, and New Zealand’s election to the UN Security Council More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Review Team Named, Leadership Campaign Starts

Labour’s New Zealand Council has appointed Bryan Gould as Convenor of its post-General Election Review. He will be joined on the Review Team by Hon Margaret Wilson, Stacey Morrison and Brian Corban.

ALSO:


Roy Morgan Poll: National Slips, Labour Hits Lows

The first New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll since the NZ Election shows National 43.5% (down 3.54% since the September 20 Election). This isn’t unusual, National support has dropped after each of John Key’s Election victories... However, support for the main opposition Labour Party has crashed to 22.5% (down 2.63% and the lowest support for Labour since the 1914 NZ Election as United Labour). More>>

ALSO:

In On First Round: New Zealand Wins Security Council Seat

Prime Minister John Key has welcomed New Zealand securing a place on the United Nations Security Council for the 2015-16 term. More>>

ALSO:

TPP Leak: Intellectual Property Text Confirms Risk - Jane Kelsey

The US is continuing its assault on generic medicines through numerous proposed changes to patent laws. ‘These are bound to impact on Pharmac if they are accepted’, according to Professor Kelsey... Copyright is another area of ongoing sensitivity... More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith Plans Reform To Ease Urban Development

Newly appointed Environment Minister Nick Smith has announced Resource Management Act reform to foster urban development, where high land prices and expensive resource consents are blocking efforts to provide affordable housing. More>>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On New Zealand getting involved (again) in other people's wars

Apparently, the Key government is still pondering how New Zealand will contribute to the fight against Islamic State. Long may it ponder, given the lack of consensus among our allies as to how to fight IS, where to fight it (Syria, Iraq, or both?) and with whose ground troops, pray tell? More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On child poverty, and David Shearer’s latest outburst

The politicisation of (a) the public service and (b) the operations of the Official Information Act have been highlighted by the policy advice package on child poverty that RNZ’s resolute political editor Brent Edwards has finally prised out of the Ministry of Social Development. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On the government’s review of security laws

So the Key government is about to launch a four week review of the ability of our existing legislation to deal with “suspected and returning foreign terrorist fighters, and other violent extremists.”

According to its terms of reference, the review will consider whether the SIS, GCSB and Police are sufficiently able right now to (a) investigate and monitor suspected and returning foreign terrorist fighters… More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news