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

"New Faces, Wise Heads": Andrew Little Announces New Labour Line Up

Labour Leader Andrew Little today announced a bold new caucus line up which brings forward new talent and draws on the party’s depth of experience.

“Labour has many new and highly capable MPs who will have the opportunity to prove their ability. At the same time our senior hands will be on deck to take the fight to the National-led Government and support our upcoming stars,” Andrew Little says.

“I am pleased to announce Annette King will be my deputy for the coming year. In recent weeks she has shown how crucial her wisdom and strength is to Labour. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Gordon Campbell: On Rick Ellis As Te Papa’s New CEO

The recent appointment of former TVNZ boss Rick Ellis to head Te Papa has copped a fair bit of criticism. Much of it has been inspired by the suspicion that Ellis has been hired to pursue the same purely commercial goals as he did at TVNZ, while similarly neglecting the serious cultural side of his mandate. More>>

Passport Cancellation, Surveillance: Draft 'Foreign Fighters Legislation' Released

The final draft of the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill contains proposals previously announced by Mr Key in a major national security speech earlier this month. More>>

ALSO:

Related

Joint Statement: Establishment Of NZ-China Strategic Partnership

At the invitation of Governor-General Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae and Prime Minister The Rt Hon John Key of New Zealand, President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China made a state visit to New Zealand from 19 to 21 November 2014... More>>

ALSO:


Savings Targets: Health Procurement Plan Changes Direction

Next steps in implementing DHB shared services programme Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the Government has agreed to explore a proposal put forward by DHBs to move implementation of the shared services programme to a DHB-owned vehicle. More>>

ALSO:

More on Health Policy:

Auckland Unification: 'No IT Cost Blowout' (Just More Expensive)

Following discussion of an update on Auckland Council’s Information Services Transformational Programme at today’s Finance and Performance Committee, council has released the report publicly. More>>

ALSO:

Other Expensive Things:

Gordon Campbell: On The SAS Role Against Islamic State, And Podemos

Only 25% of the US bombing runs are even managing to locate IS targets worth bombing. As the NYT explains at length, this underlines the need for better on-the-ground intelligence to direct the air campaign to where the bad guys have holed up... More>>

ALSO:

Public Service: Commission Calls For Answers On Handling Of CERA Harassment

EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On Andrew Little’s Victory

So Andrew Little has won the leadership – by the narrowest possible margin – from Grant Robertson, and has already been depicted by commentators as being simultaneously (a) the creature of the trade unions and (b) the most centrist of the four candidates, which would be an interesting trick to see someone try in a game of Twister. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news