3 Sep 2010

Treaty claims push up legal aid bill

2:49 pm on 3 September 2010

Treaty of Waitangi claims have led a multi-million-dollar rise in the annual legal aid bill.

The Legal Services Agency paid $161.7 million to help 67,000 people with their cases in the year to July - $30 million more than the previous year.

The agency's general manager, Stuart White, says the largest increase - of 40% - was in applications for Treaty-related cases.

He says the Government's goal for settling Treaty claims by 2014 appears to have been behind the boost.

Justice Minister Simon Power says the increasing size of the legal aid bill is unsustainable, and he will be taking further options for change to Cabinet in November.