15 Jun 2009

$300,000 spent on judges' conferences amid job cuts

1:45 pm on 15 June 2009

Justice Ministry papers show it spent more than $300,000 on conferences for judges, a month before jobs cuts were announced at the ministry.

Ministry staff were sent a restructuring paper at the end of April proposing that 88 jobs within the courts be cut and 51 new positions be created.

In March, almost $200,000 was spent on a three-day conference for District Court Judges and $107,000 on a conference for Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court judges.

The Public Service Association says the Justice Ministry should make retaining jobs a priority ahead of having conferences for judges.

Union national secretary Richard Wagstaff the ministry's baseline funding was cut by $2.1 million in the Budget delivered in May.

Mr Wagstaff says he would have thought the first priority was to retain as many people in jobs as possible.

Justice Minister Simon Power could not be reached for comment on Monday.