Court­house re­mains open

Piako Post - - FRONT PAGE - KA­T­RINA TANIRAU

The Min­is­ter of Jus­tice and Courts An­drew Lit­tle has given his as­sur­ance the sta­tus quo will re­main for the Mor­rinsville Court­house.

The build­ing, which ad­min­is­ters district court du­ties, would not be closed or reestab­lished as a hear­ing court, Lit­tle said.

Le­gal prac­ti­tion­ers in Mor­rinsville and Mata­mata raised con­cerns about the court- house’s lack of fa­cil­i­ties to deal with in­creased work­loads.

Lit­tle said while the court­house would re­main, there were no cur­rent plans to up­grade or re­build the Moor­house St build­ing.

Those mat­ters would be de­ter­mined by a long term plan be­ing pre­pared by the Min­istry of Jus­tice, for all court­houses in New Zealand.

Lit­tle said once that plan was fi­nalised, the min­istry would be in a po­si­tion to out­line a time- ta­ble for court up­grades.

‘‘While these are op­er­a­tional mat­ters for the Min­istry of Jus­tice I am ad­vised it has no plans to close the Mor­rinsville Court­house or to turn it into a hear­ings cen­tre,’’ he said.

He ac­knowl­edged a let­ter sent to Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern by lawyer Jen­nifer Raleigh, on be­half of le­gal prac­ti­tion­ers in Mor­rinsville and Mata­mata, ad­dress­ing the cur­rent is­sues with the court­house build­ing.

He said Raleigh noted in her let­ter, that the min­istry had made some im­prove­ments at the court­house and would be up­grad­ing the cell area of the build­ing in the near fu­ture.

Raleigh had hoped the Mor­rinsville District Court would meet the cri­te­ria of the Re­gional De­vel­op­ment (Provin­cial Growth) Fund to be up­graded.

Lit­tle said ap­pli­ca­tions to the fund were be­ing han­dled by the Min­istry of Busi­ness, In­no­va­tion and Em­ploy­ment.

The min­istry man­ages a wide range of prop­er­ties in al­most 100 lo­ca­tions that re­quired con­sid­er­able in­vest­ment and main­te­nance, and a num­ber like Mor­rinsville were his­toric build­ings.

In Fe­bru­ary, 2015, Mor­rinsville’s Ngati Haua Iwi Trust pur­chased the Mor­rinsville Court­house and en­tered into an agree­ment to lease the prop­erty back to the Crown.

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