15 Feb 2013

Court change consultation cursory, says Labour

9:12 am on 15 February 2013

The Government is being accused of running a sham consultation on its plans to close or downgrade 13 regional courts.

Official papers obtained by the Labour Party show the Government opted against public consultation because it believed there would be little change to court services for the majority of people in affected communities.

Labour's justice spokesperson Charles Chauvel says only cursory consultations were undertaken with affected court staff, lawyers, mayors and MPs.

He says the Government never bothered holding meetings to hear what locals think, and simply went ahead with its plans unchanged.

But Courts Minister Chester Borrows says the Ministry of Justice undertook extensive and significant consultation, alongside media publicity.

Mr Borrows says there was also wide discussion in the legal fraternity and among the public about the plans.