Published 5 November 2008
Minister for Courts Rick Barker released details last week of the Ministry of Justice’s Auckland service delivery programme and the Auckland District Court upgrade project, both of which have significant property impacts.
The programme aims to address workload pressures & capacity issues, and create a vision for the future delivery of services in Auckland, where 35% of New Zealand’s reported crime occurs.
Funding of $6.3 million, announced in the 2008 Budget, has enabled the Ministry of Justice to engage in detailed design & planning. Mr Barker said key initiatives being explored included new facilities to support specialist courts & tribunals and civil & family work, a service centre for inbound & outbound calling & bulk processing, purpose-built jury trial facilities and new technology to support court processes.
Expected benefits resulting from the programme include faster justice, especially for victims & defendants in criminal matters, as the capacity to meet forecast demand for court services for the next 15 years is delivered.
The programme also aims to improve safety & security through more effective separation of the various parties attending court, including victims, jurors & witnesses. More space will be provided for criminal matters at all major Auckland district courts. This includes more cells, allowing better segregation of young & vulnerable people in custody, and improved facilities for victims, jurors, agencies & other court users.
“A fundamental component of the plan is obtaining stable property solutions. Priorities are to obtain court precincts in Auckland Central, Manukau & Waitakere.”
The Auckland District Court upgrade project began in September, is targeted for completion in 2010 and is a component of the wider Auckland service delivery programme. Changes will include provision of a multi-defendant courtroom, 3 more jury-capable courtrooms, 2 extra custody-capable courtrooms, more court holding cells, secure witness facilities, additional space for victim advisors and technology upgrades.
"Action needs to be taken to increase capacity for the needs of court users now & into the future as Auckland grows. The funding to deliver the redevelopment of Auckland District Court, the lease of the Gen-i Tower and for land purchases in Manukau & Waitakere are the first steps on a pathway forward."
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Attribution: Ministerial release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.