Courts Matters Bill and Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation Bill- First Reading – Video 7

they give us a speaker I called Dennis O’Rourke mr. speaker New Zealand first will support these two cognate bills to the Select Committee for further scrutiny in fact we think that they are very good bills which have been a long time coming they’re part of a program is the minister said in her speech a programme of legislation to improve the operation of the courts generally and we’ve seen some pretty substantial legislation along those lines come forward during this term but they are non-political in nature their work which has been done over many many years and I think whoever had been in government they would be bringing these bills forward to improve the justice system but they these two are both very substantial bills when you look at them there’s quite a lot of detail in them and they’ll certainly need scrutiny at the Select Committee stage and they’ll also need good public consultation because in particular the tribunals bill covers things which the public have a great deal of interest in and they have a great deal of interest in them because the public themselves take a direct part in the justice system through the tribunals Network and there certainly are plenty of tribunals some I’m sure that will get a lot of submissions and we’ll need to look at those very closely so tuning fears to the court matters bill this is possibly the the most important of the two although they’re both very important we in New Zealand first totally agree with the objectives of the bill which is to ensure that the court system is independent fair and efficient I would myself aid accessible to that list because that’s probably the most important of all the principles upon which this sort of legislation needs to be based and when when the objectives include to reduce time we also have to bear in mind that that is not an objection objective by itself that also we must provide a full proper and fair process to all of the participants of the system so reducing time has to be balanced by that I do think though that as is stated in one of the objectives the greater use of modern technology will be welcomed by everybody there’s not much point in having modern technology if it’s not going to be used and the court seems to lag behind the application of those technologies so it’s good to see that being spared up I do think it’s just as important though that forms and templates need to be simpler they need to be in plain English so that not only lawyers but also participants in processors can take a proper part I’ll have a bit more to say about access to justice when I come to their tribunals bill if I get time to give it far but I’d like to make some comments about part one which includes amendments to the court security system and I agree in part with thought what David Clinton said about that we do in New Zealand first support the expanded powers for the court security officers because there are many cases of an unruly behavior in the courts and it’s important for security reasons that those officers have those powers but they do need to be applied with some discretion so that we don’t get infringement of people’s rights to take part infringement of people’s rights to observe what’s going on in to support other people now this that’s a fine line to treat often but I hope that in giving these powers the court securities officers will be trained how to use them so that those rights are not infringed but overall we’re New Zealand first do support those powers we think it’s it’s actually necessary and those powers include the right to remove or detain people who are intimidating abusive or otherwise causing disruption and it’s only for those reasons and that’s important as I say that the the officers need to be trained to make sure they don’t go too far also the the authority for these officers to detain people who they believe have committed or attempted to commit a wider range of offenses are included and they include include things like carrying illegal drugs and its associated paraphernalia committing or attempting to commit an offense that would threaten the safety or security of people in the courts refusing to give their name and refusing to leave the court when asked to do so because of their behavior and refusing generally to obey a direction we think those are those are necessary and desirable additional powers that will support them concerning part 2 of the court matters bill those are the parts that refer to the Criminal Procedure Act and there are some good improvements there that will for example improve the the ability to put offenses and categories which are more appropriate such as the one relating to category one and to offenses where for example defendants and kateri category two cases required to appear in court those are the sorts of simple things that do make the courts work better I want to I can see the time ticking on there were some other things I had wanted to say about the courts matters built but I prefer to go on now to the the tribunals bill and the first thing I want to say is this mr. speaker that the one thing that this bill doesn’t address in the one thing that the government hasn’t addressed in this tomb of Parliament the legal aid eligibility thresholds now those haven’t been been changed for some time the thresholds are too tough many people fall outside them so people with very few means are not able to get legal aid that needs urgent attention and this government hasn’t done that is the most important way that we can improve access to justice it applies in the Disputes Tribunal and currently what it says is this for a single applicant with no dependent children the threshold for income is 20 only twenty three thousand three hundred and twenty-six dollars per year for a single applicant with one dependent child or an applicant with a spouse or partner in no dependent children it’s only thirty six thousand nine hundred and forty dollars a year and for a single applicant with two dependent children or an applicant with a spouse or partner in one dependent child it’s still only fifty three thousand one hundred and nineteen dollars per year I think most people would agree that though that those are thresholds are too tough that too many people would fall outside them and I know from people who come into my office and for many other sources that this is a real problem mr. speaker this is something this government should have addressed it by this time and could have done so as part of the consideration of this bill however there are many other things in the tribunals bill which we do think worthwhile and they they include such things as creating an offense of contempt of a tribunal with substantial penalty now I was many years ago in fact decades ago a Disputes Tribunal referee and I know that this isn’t really a problem it can be a real problem when you have a couple of parties there in front of you they’re emotionally charged and all sorts of unfortunate things can happen so to have those powers would be important similarly the offense of failing to comply with the summons and new offense they’re issuing practice notes for for for people who are involved and operating the the tribunal system would also be a useful addition and one that I think is very important is the liability to publish decisions now people may assume that that’s always been done in fact it hasn’t especially in tribunals that’s actually another XE another aspect of access to justice because when decisions are readily available then actually assists a lot of people in a lot of different circumstances so I’m glad to see that there and also the greater use of electronic hearings especially by telephone that’s already possible in the Disputes Tribunal it needs to be across the board for other tribunals as well the additional house concerning summoning of witnesses allowing the awarding of costs and other other measures to deal with contempt are also all welcome additions to the tribunal system so mr. speaker New Zealand fish does welcome these two bills we think that they’re going to need to be some changes and there are certain some certainly some things as I’ve said that I would wish to pursue I called dr. Shane Ricky Thank You mr. speaker it’s a pleasure to take a short call on this the court matters

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