Jus­tice precinct open day a hit

The Press - - News - TINA LAW

Thou­sands of peo­ple queued for up to an hour to see in­side Christchurch’s new $300 mil­lion jus­tice and emer­gency ser­vices precinct yes­ter­day.

One queue, to see the po­lice watch­house and cells, snaked up and down both sides of Lich­field St be­tween Colombo and Durham St.

A man who was look­ing at the queue said ‘‘you have got to be kid­ding’’, be­fore walk­ing away, but many others de­cided the wait was worth it.

There was a car­ni­val at­mos­phere at the open day, which at­tracted about 14,000 peo­ple over five hours. Bands were play­ing and peo­ple got to test out riot squad gear, pat a po­lice dog and sit in a po­lice van and car.

Christchurch res­i­dents June and Ray Stan­bury, who had queued for about an hour, said they wanted to see the build­ing be­cause it was some­where they would not get to see again.

‘‘Peo­ple won’t see this in the fu­ture un­less they are locked up,’’ Ray Stan­bury said.

The 42,000-square-me­tre precinct, which is made up of three build­ings, will house the Min­istry of Jus­tice, Po­lice, Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions, Fire and Emer­gency New Zealand, St John and Civil De­fence.

The Min­istry of Jus­tice was ex­pected to start op­er­at­ing from the build­ing about mid-Oc­to­ber and agen­cies would now start fit­ting out their of­fices be­fore pro­gres­sively mov­ing in.

The build­ings, which have been re­peat­edly de­layed, were of­fi­cially opened on Tues­day.

The open day was a chance for peo­ple to look in­side be­fore it is fit­ted out.

De­nis Puha, who had just fin­ished check­ing out the court­rooms, said he was im­pressed with the build­ings’ ar­chi­tec­ture and the qual­ity of the fix­tures and fit­tings, which in­cluded na­tive tim­bers and cop­per balustrades.

Min­istry of Jus­tice chief ex­ec­u­tive Andrew Bridg­man said he ex­pected there to be a lot of in­ter­est in the precinct, but more peo­ple than an­tic­i­pated had shown up.


Peo­ple wait in line to see what is in­side Christchurch’s new jus­tice and emer­gency ser­vices precinct dur­ing yes­ter­day’s pub­lic open day. The cen­tral-city precinct is made up of three build­ings and will soon house the law courts and emer­gency ser­vices, among others.

Peo­ple of all ages vis­ited the precinct yes­ter­day.

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