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Community Law Welcomes “Small But Important” Budget Increase

Community Law Centres have received a $2.05m funding boost in Budget 2020 which will improve free legal services available to communities across New Zealand

“It may be a small amount of money in a government budget which features such substantial expenditure, but it will make a positive difference for those in need of support,” says Community Law Centres O Aotearoa CEO, Sue Moroney.

The increase will fund three initiatives:

  • a new case management system across the 24 community law centres,
  • the establishment of a Pro Bono Clearing House to maximise the use of volunteer legal expertise nationwide and;
  • better wages so that community law can recruit and retain experienced staff.

“All of these initiatives will improve Community Law’s ability to improve access to justice for those who would otherwise be unable to afford legal support,” says Sue.

“NZIER found that for every dollar invested in Community Law services, the community gets $3-$5 worth of value, so it’s a wise investment from Government. There is much potential for Community Law to do even more to address unmet legal needs with additional resources in the future.”

The Budget 2020 increase comes in addition to an interim funding increase of $2.18m for Community Law services in Budget 2018.

“A funding increase for Community Law was a commitment made in the Coalition Government Agreement and Budget 2020 adds to an important increase in baseline funding for our services during the term of this Government,” says Sue. “It is welcome relief for a service that struggled with flat-lined funding and increased demand for the previous decade.”

“We thank NZ First and Labour for making it a feature of the Coalition Government Agreement and for ensuring it was honoured, even in the current tough times.

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