Court video calls ‘ef­fec­tive’ for Q-town

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - DASHA KUPRIENKO

A plan is un­der­way to con­nect district courts in In­ver­cargill and Queen­stown via video.

In Queen­stown last week Jus­tice and Courts Min­is­ter Amy Adams said video con­fer­ences would deal with call-over is­sues in a more ef­fec­tive and sim­ple way.

Peo­ple in­volved in the court sys­tem, such as work­ers or de­fen­dants, who were dis­abled, had young chil­dren or lived out of town could ac­cess the court too.

‘‘It’s a more ef­fi­cient sys­tem,’’ she said.

Adams said video con­fer­ences were al­ready op­er­a­tional in other parts of the coun­try and they were yet to pro­vide the fa­cil­i­ties to the court­rooms in Queen­stown and In­ver­cargill.

The new sys­tem would also mean prison­ers wouldn’t have to be moved to a dif­fer­ent town for a hear­ing.

‘‘[Na­tion­ally], we’ve re­duced pris­oner’s trans­port by 20 per cent which ob­vi­ously isn’t just a cost and time serv­ing but is a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment in terms of safety.’’

The ini­tia­tive also aimed to re­duce the num­ber of peo­ple trav­el­ling to re­mote lo­ca­tions and re­duce weather de­lays.

‘‘Growth of video con­fer­enc­ing ini­tia­tives has po­ten­tial for ben­e­fits na­tion­wide with more than 4500 pro- ce­du­ral events held in our more re­mote courts over the past 12 months re­quir­ing a judge or par­ties to travel to a re­mote site,’’ Adams said.

The min­is­ter said less trav­el­ling would also make a small im­pact on the traf­fic at the re­sort.

Queen­stown busi­nesses could also look to in­crease re­mote work­ing and re­mote ser­vices to make a ‘‘more sig­nif­i­cant’’ dif­fer­ence, she said.

‘‘There might be a big­ger amount of res­i­dents that would see their bank, their lawyer or their doc­tor from home.’’

Ar­eas of North­land, South­land and Cen­tral Otago were iden­ti­fied as ar­eas that would ben­e­fit from the court’s video con­fer­enc­ing ini­tia­tive.

‘‘Mod­ernising the courts is about mak­ing the en­gine room of our jus­tice sys­tem fit for pur­pose, in­clud­ing through the smart use of tech­nol­ogy, that serves all court users,’’ Adams said.

While in Queen­stown Adams of­fi­cially cel­e­brated the Ul­tra Fast Broad­band roll­out which has given 7,000 house­holds and busi­nesses in Queen­stown the abil­ity to con­nect.

DASHA KUPRIENKO

Jus­tice and Courts Min­is­ter Amy Adams says video con­fer­ences for Queen­stown and South­land courts are com­ing.

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