Scepticism over extra legal aid funding

9:31 pm on 3 February 2017

The Law Society is welcoming an increase in legal aid funding, but is sceptical as to how much difference it will actually make for frontline defence lawyers.

The Ministers of Justice and Corrections have announced a funding increase of more than $100 million, including $16 million for legal aid.

It follows yesterday's announcement of a boost in police numbers.

The convenor of the Law Society's legal services committee, Liz Bulger, said the devil would be in the detail, including how much of the money will be available for criminal legal aid.

She said the society was excited about an increase in legal aid funding about 18 months ago, but the ultimate impact was watered down by the long timeframe of its implementation.

More pest control funding

Meanwhile, Forest and Bird says new pest control funding announced this week will be enough to pull the Russell State Forest back from the brink of collapse.

The Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has made an extra $380,000 available to tackle the possums, stoats and rats that are killing birdlife and trees, taking Northland's pest control budget to $1.5 million for the year.

Forest and Bird's Northland spokesperson Dean Baigent Mercer said more money was expected to follow as hapu, who owned forests, saw the impact 1080 had on other estates like Warawara, which was now recovering.

Mr Baigent Mercer said 1080 was an essential tool and 47,000 hectares of Northland native forests were close to collapse for want of pest control.