Jobs to go as courts are restructured
Wed, 03 Oct 2012 6:30p.m.
By Emma Jolliff
Nearly 70 jobs are set to go, with the Government announcing a restructure of the courts and moves towards more use of technology.
Nine courts will soon only open when there's a case to be heard, and four others will close altogether.
Serial sex offender Stuart Murray Wilson is one of those who recently attended court via video link – an electronic alternative to attending in person.
It's something Courts Minister Chester Borrows wants to see more of.
“Lawyers will be able to sit in their offices and make appearances before the Family Court with their client sitting next to them,” he says. “That means they're not travelling to court and charging clients for travel, they're not sitting around waiting in court.”
In another move to cut costs, four courts have been marked for closure: Upper Hutt, which has been closed since last year because of earthquake risk, Feilding, Warkworth and Whataroa.
“Let's talk about Whataroa at the bottom of the West Coast," says Mr Burrows. "It's open for about 11 hours a year on four days as 30 people appear, and most of them don't come from Whataroa."
Nine other under-used courts will be open for hearings only: Dargaville, Waihi, Te Awamutu, Te Kuiti, Opotiki, Marton, Waipukarau, Oamaru and Balclutha.
The Justice Ministry has also released a proposal to cut district court managers.
It says: “Overall, we propose to move from around 170 to 74 management positions and remove two layers of management.”
It later insisted it's proposing a net loss of 68 jobs.
Public Service Association national secretary Richard Wagstaff says the scale of the cuts is surprising.
“There's a feeling that they didn't know it was going to be this much, this big, this soon,” he says.
The acting head of law at Canterbury University says the cuts will further deny people access to justice.
“I think it could have a significant impact on justice being seen to be done in small communities in New Zealand,” says Chris Gallavin.
The changes will take effect early next year.
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4/10/2012 12:43:23 a.m.
Well said Kev.
As Mr Keys likes technology replacing kiwi jobs why not use it for the MPs? I'm sure they can have meetings via technology too. We, the tax payers, will be saving on travel expenses, accommodation expenses and living allowances that are paid to them.
3/10/2012 9:37:45 p.m.
Savings....There may be a few taxpayer dollars moved from the Court budget, but suddenly the social service budgets will need more for all the people displaced. Rather than cut the low paid jobs within Courts, reduce the legal aid rates, reduce the Judiciary salaries - but keep the courts they provide a service. Take away the court, you not only loose jobs for the staff within, you loose cleaners, tradespeople who provide maintainance and services, and provide another empty building in a small town. The only thing that this sort of thing s doing, is ensuring that the wealth stays with the rich, and does not flow down....
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