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Robbing The Northern Wairoa To Pay Key

Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
10 December 2012

Speech: Protest Meeting at cutback of services of Dargaville Courthouse
Dargaville Courthouse, Hokianga Road, Dargaville
Monday 10 December 2012, 12.15pm.

Robbing The Northern Wairoa To Pay Key

The Dargaville District Court is to become a ‘Hearings Only’ Court.
All the services offered over the counter now will only be offered on the ‘Hearings Only’ days.

Staff will be cut back here whose services will now be done by two Whangarei staff. On the no hearings days the people of this area will simply have to travel to Whangarei.

The Whangarei staff are already under serious pressure which will only get worse.

The Whangarei Court staffs are not as familiar with the Northern Wairoa or Kaipara as the current staff here.

Travel from Dargaville to Whangarei, plus parking, is likely to take an hour.
Travel from parts of the Northern Wairoa will take a great deal longer than that and for some up to almost two hours, in the case of Pouto residents for example.

Justice is more than a matter of dollars and cents. The cutting of costs and so called savings are bogus. Yes – a Government department will save some money but the extra costs will fall on local communities.

The significant closure of services of the Dargaville District Court hits at the core of rural New Zealand communities.

Much of the Kaipara region or Northern Wairoa is low decile with entrenched poverty, high Maori population and a depressed rural economy, so cuts in any of the government services will hit these residents hardest.

Politicians cannot make decisions like businessmen where they only have to consider a financial bottom line.

There is an imperative to consider which includes social, ethical, and environmental bottom lines and treating society as a whole.

Closing services from district courts which serve rural communities, to save money, will only shift the burden to those most vulnerable in society.

That in this case includes defendants, complainants, witnesses, law enforcement officers, local legal staff and lawyers.

The detrimental effects will be felt in social costs such as an increased burden on poorer families already struggling with unemployment.

The Minister uses falling crime statistics in past years to close down courts; but we all know crime rises with recession and the outlook for the future does not indicate a prospering economy.

To the contrary New Zealand’s economy is faltering badly and will worsen in the year ahead.

This serious closure of Dargaville court services will force all manner of victims to travel to Whangarei. Those who can least afford the time, cost, inconvenience and emotional stress.

There will also be increased costs in time and money chasing up those who fail to appear for court.

Cost cutting should not be at the expense of disadvantaging access to justice in rural communities.

Government cuts to services to rural New Zealand weakens the fabric of our society.

Conclusion

This is the thin edge of the wedge – the softening up for full closure of all court services here - for that is the way this governments thinks.

Rather than running a sound economy as this country once did when it was a world leader they persist with their beady eyed, myopic, mindless, monetary policies and make cutback after cutback to try and balance their depleted books.

What’s next – the local hospital?

Provincial New Zealand which is the engine room of our exports, creating wealth for the family New Zealand, is now in the third decade of being ignored.

But you do have an alternative.

Rather than you letting them close down services to you why don’t you close down your electoral support for them.

If you do that then this will be a serious protest meeting which after all is what we are all here for.

If the government thought you were serious, then they would halt these closures today.

Ladies and Gentlemen as John Wayne said “let’s give them to know that our intention is serious”.
--
nzfirst.org.nz | twitter.com/winstonpeters | facebook.com/winstonpeters

ENDS

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