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


Minister applauds work of courts supporting Christchurch

Hon Georgina te Heuheu
Minister for Courts
2 November 2011 Media Statement

Minister applauds work of courts supporting Christchurch

Court Registrars and court staff across Christchurch and Canterbury had given extraordinary service to ensure the continuity of justice services for Christchurch following the February 22nd earthquake, Courts Minister Georgina te Heuheu said today.

Mrs te Heuheu made the comments as she visited courthouses at Timaru, Ashburton and Rangiora to talk with staff and thank them for their work since the earthquake.

“The impact of the Christchurch earthquake on court and justice services has seen the Ministry of Justice innovate and respond with new ways of working,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

“This has meant moving away from the traditional way of working, with its focus on single jurisdictions, and courtrooms used for specific purposes.

“It has involved looking beyond traditional court boundaries, and seeking the co-operation of courts outside of Christchurch to help maintain access to justice for the people of Christchurch.

“Keeping justice services running has required a high degree of co-ordination and collaboration. Staff have shown a willingness to work in different jurisdictions, and to relocate for limited periods of time, to ensure service continuity.

“The efforts of staff across the region have been outstanding. I am incredibly impressed by the level of support and hard work that has been provided over the past eight months,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

Timaru District Court has played a key role in providing Christchurch court services, and has been the primary mainstay for Christchurch jury trials since April.

An additional 51 jury trials have been held in Timaru between April and October, and a further 15 are scheduled before the end of the year.

"The Timaru community have also played their part in performing their civic duty as jurors at these trials," Mrs te Heuheu says.

Ashburton District Court is being used by a variety of different jurisdictions including the District and High Courts, the Family Court as well as specialist tribunal hearings such as the Accident Compensation Appeal Authority and the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal.

Rangiora District Court has been used as Christchurch’s arrest court since March. Its proximity to Christchurch means it has played a vital role in keeping justice services available.

“The single courtroom at Rangiora District Court had previously been in use for around two days a week, but that swiftly moved to six days of sitting time after the earthquake," Mrs te Heuheu says.

"It is the only facility in the wider Christchurch area with secure custodial facilities/cells, and is also used for criminal defended hearings and custodial sentencing hearings."

Visiting court staff and thanking them for their sterling effort in challenging times had been very worthwhile, Mrs te Heuheu said.


• The Ministry of Justice is supporting the full range of court and justice services in Christchurch. In spite of the challenging environment and far from ideal courtroom and hearing space that is in use, most jurisdictions are keeping pace with the volume of cases coming into the system.

• District Court services are held within two courtrooms at Ngā Hau e Whā marae, as well as at Aoraki House/Māori Land Court which opened for court services on 15 June 2011.

• High Court, Family Court, Disputes Tribunal and other civil matters are heard in multi-jurisdictional venues such as Wigram Air Force Museum, Riccarton Racecourse, Aoraki House and courts outside of Christchurch.

• Youth Court hearings are held at New Brighton Community Board each Friday and Youth Drug Court sits at Odyssey House each fortnight.

• Victim Services: Victim Advisors are contacting victims to offer services. In addition, victims can phone the Victim Information line 0800 650 654 for further information.

• Enquiries from the Christchurch area and for help with court matters, fines or any other justice-related service should be made to freephone number: 0800 324 627.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

RNZ Live Updates: SkyCity Fire Brings Auckland CBD To A Halt

The fire at Auckland's SkyCity international convention centre has been raging for more than a day resulting in nearby offices being shut, roads closed and health warnings being issued...

• The fire broke on the roof of the SkyCity international convention centre just after 1pm Tuesday.

• Fire and Emergency manager Ron Devlin says the plan is to "sacrifice the roof". Once materials from the roof have fallen in, crews can go into the fifth floor and put the fire out, he says. Photo: RNZ / Danielle Street More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Simon Bridges And Political Correctness

Having failed all year at being a credible alternative Prime Minister, National leader Simon Bridges has lowered his aspirational target this week to something more within his range. More>>

Bullying: Police Commissioner Announces Review

Police Commissioner Mike Bush has today announced an independent review of the systems and processes NZ Police has in place to address complaints of bullying. More>>


PM's Post-Cab: Now We Are Two

Questions covered Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters' comments on the potential closure of Mediaworks' television channels, the Auckland light rail planning process, the select committee report on the Zero Carbon Bill and its methane target range... More>>

Court Issues New Guildines: Revamp Of Meth Sentencing Welcomed

The court accepted submissions by both the New Zealand Bar Association and the New Zealand Law Society that rather than solely focusing on the quantity of meth involved, there should be greater focus on the role of the offender. More>>


'Armed Response Teams': Armed Police "Will Cause American-Style Shootings"

The Police Commissioner's announcement that squadcars of officers with automatic rifles will patrol New Zealand's streets is dangerous and unnecessary, according to the criminal justice community organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa. The ... More>>


Control Orders: Amnesty Says Don't Rush Terrorism Bill

"The problem is, we often see the word “terrorism” being applied broadly by oppressive regimes to detain innocent people who're simply rallying for a better life." More>>


Expert Reaction: $17 million To Fight Online Extremist Content

The Department of Internal Affairs will double its work investigating and preventing violent extremism online. Funding will also help bolster the Chief Censor's work to make fast decisions about harmful content. More>>





InfoPages News Channels