10 Jul 2010

Power worried by impact of Justice Ministry cuts

5:02 pm on 10 July 2010

The Justice Minister is worried that cost-cutting measures in his ministry will put the quality of services at risk.

Simon Power's concerns are revealed in Budget papers released by the Treasury.

The ministry is expected to produce the same outputs this year as last, but because of a drop in the number of staff, Mr Power says it has an extremely limited capacity for new activities.

That problem has been compounded by cuts to areas such as travel and training, he says.

Mr Power says that the ministry will also have less capacity to sustain existing service levels and respond to unexpected events.

The papers show that following restructuring, the Ministry is keeping 150 positions vacant.

The Labour Party says resources for the ministry have been pared back to a level not seen before and the impacts on staff and services will be huge.

Justice spokesperson Lianne Dalziel says Ministry staff are under huge pressure with a busy legislative programme, electoral reform, and a project aimed at simplifying the operation of the courts.

Meanwhile, because of budgeted cuts to property maintenance over the next three to five years, the visual appearance of court properties is expected to deteriorate.