Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


MPs briefed on community law worries

Media Release 25 September 2012

MPs briefed on community law worries

More than 30 MPs from across the political spectrum have responded to an invitation from Community Law to attend a briefing this evening on the issues currently confronting community law.

Elizabeth Tennet Chief Executive of Community Law Centres o Aotearoa says the country’s 24 Community Law Centres face an uncertain future as they confront cuts to current number of contracts, competitive tendering for services and the likelihood of reduced face-to-face services for clients.

“We will be telling the MPs that we think there is a real danger in meddling with what has proven to be a very successful public private partnership for the provision of Community Law throughout the country. This is a model that has built up over 30 years which is reliant on lawyers volunteering their time to ensure access to justice in their local communities,” Ms Tennet says.

“The number of MPs attending the briefing is pleasing and we assume it reflects the level of concern and anxiety they are hearing from their constituents about legal services for those in need. The Government has made clear its intentions to change Community Law services although it has not yet announced details of what it proposes to do.”

With some 250,000 people receiving information and advice from Community Law Centres in the last year, there is real concern about how this need will be met. The most frequent areas in which people seek advice relate to family and employment law.

A study released last month, carried out by the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research showed that for less than $11million, that is less than .01% of the Ministry of Justice budget, Community Law delivers over $36million of legal services to New Zealanders who could not otherwise afford legal services. When other legal information services are factored in, the cost benefit ratio is one to five for casework.

Ms Tennet say Community Law Centres are particularly concerned at the potential loss of face-to-face services.

“If 24 contracts are halved, as we understand the Government proposes, it is inevitable many towns will be left without face-to-face services. Lawyers are busy people who donate their time where they live and it wont be feasible for them to travel as a volunteer.

“In addition, we have had a clear message from Maori and Pacific people who are high users of Community Law, that they are most comfortable with face-to-face services and don’t want to get advice from the Internet or an 0800 number, Ms Tennet says.

The briefing is taking place on the eve of the organisation’s first annual hui which takes place over the next three days in Wellington.

The Associate Minister of Justice Chester Borrows will address the hui and the conference opening address will be given by the eminent Maori Judge, Sir Eddie Taihakurei Durie.

On Friday afternoon (1.30pm), Principal Family Court Judge Peter Boshier will speak on family law and Kate Stone, the Co-Chair of JustSpeak, a network of young people interested in justice issues will follow (2.30pm) with a youth perspective on justice issues.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On National Being Shafted By Its Own Creation

As it licks its wounds, let’s hope the National Party can still find time to look back with some pride at what it has achieved in Epsom. The Act Party’s nationwide success on Saturday night has been a tribute to National’s foresight, and to its ability to pick winners. Others would have looked at the dying remnants of the old Act Party and written it off. Yet National needed an MMP partner and it saw the potential where no-one else did. And so it re-grew the Act Party in a petri dish in Epsom, and carefully nurtured it back to life... More>>


Green Party: 'Fruitful Discussions ... Further Discussions To Have'

The Green Party says there is a negotiation going on with the Labour Party, but there are more discussions to be had. More>>


Border: No Changes To Border Exemptions After Fishing Crew Test Covid-19 Positive

The cases were detected after routine day three testing but the immigration minister and air commodore agree there's no need to change border exemptions. More>>

PSA: Labour-Led Government Has Mandate For Transformation, Equality And Transparency

The Public Service Association welcomes the progressive electoral landslide New Zealand voters delivered on Saturday, and the union says its members look forward to implementing policies that reduce poverty and inequality, support affordable housing ... More>>


Poll: Labour On 46%, National 31%, While Greens And ACT Both On 8%

Tonight's political poll puts Labour on 46 percent and National on 31 percent with just one day remaining until election day. More>>


Stats NZ: New Report Shows Significant Changes To New Zealand’s Climate

Climate change is already happening in New Zealand and could have a profound impact on future generations of New Zealanders, a new report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ says. Our atmosphere and climate 2020 , released today, includes analysis ... More>>


Judith Collins: Obese People Must Take Responsibility For 'personal Choices'

National Party leader Judith Collins has described obesity as a weakness and says people should not 'blame systems for personal choices'. More>>

Māori Party: Poll Reveals Tamihere On Cusp Of Historic Māori Movement Election Victory

John Tamihere’s election campaign is on the rise and on track to return the Māori Party to parliament, a new Māori TV poll has revealed. The poll released on 11 October during the seventh and final Māori TV Maori Electoral campaign coverage has Tamihere ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Four-Year Terms Of Parliament, And On How The US Courts Are Dismantling Democracy

Last week, the issue of four-year parliamentary terms surfaced again. Infuriatingly, it is being discussed purely in terms of its convenience for political parties. They’d get so much more time to enact their policies, free of scrutiny or sanction by voters ... More>>





InfoPages News Channels