Electorate short of JP services

SARAH ARGYLE
Last updated 05:00 24/01/2014
Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross and Botany Justice of the Peace James Lee
Sarah Argyle

HELP WANTED: Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross and Botany Justice of the Peace James Lee are calling for more JPs to serve the area.

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Calling all potential Justices of the Peace - Botany needs you.

The electorate's MP Jami-Lee Ross is looking for more JPs to serve his area after discovering a severe shortage.

He says Botany has just 62 JPs to help people with the witnessing of official documents and various other duties compared with an average of 134 in other New Zealand electorates.

MPs are charged with nominating people who are held in "good stead" in the community to take up the post.

But Mr Ross says the shortage means existing JPs are being overworked because they're unable to keep up with the rapidly growing population.

"The feedback we are receiving is that more JPs in the area would be helpful and that people are struggling to find a JP.

"Look at the way Botany has grown and the recent strong migration to the area. JPs are on the low side and so we're looking for more to serve the community."

Mr Ross is seeking nominations from people of all age groups and ethnicities to represent the changing makeup of Botany where more than 57,000 people live.

"One third of the population in Botany is of Asian descent and half are born overseas. It is one of the most diverse electorates in the area."

The MP says boosting the number of JPs will be a long-term project over the next three to five years.

Applicants should be esteemed members of the community who are willing to commit to the training and put in a few hours each week.

Semi-retired businessman James Lee has been serving Botany as a JP for the past year.

He was nominated by Mr Ross for his volunteer work at several organisations.

Mr Lee says working as a JP lets him meet people from all walks of life.

"I help them with the service they require and if they are happy I am happy too."

He says the work takes four hours a week on average but it depends on the demand.

Go to jpfed.org.nz/Becoming+a+ JP.html to learn how to nominate yourself or someone to be a JP or contact Mr Ross' office at botanymp @parliament.govt.nz or 271 3255.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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