Courthouse remains open
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.