Manukau court upgrade a big step
"Crusher" Collins took to a digger last Friday to break ground for the $40.6 million Manukau District Court upgrade.
The redevelopment will include a new four-storey extension as well as extensive alterations and a complete refurbishment of the existing court building.
When complete it will provide four new jury trial courtrooms with provision for more expansion.
Justice Minister and Papakura MP Judith Collins says she enjoyed getting back behind the controls of a digger.
"It was fantastic - that's a great job."
She won't be quitting politics anytime soon but "it's good to have something to go to" if she needs something to fall back on, she says.
Manukau District Court is one of the busiest in the country.
It serves New Zealand's youngest and fastest growing population which is expected to grow by around 38 per cent over the next 20 years.
The upgrade is one of the largest single investments the district court network has seen in some years, Ms Collins says.
It forms a key part of the Government's plan to create accessible, modern courts that are fit-for-purpose now and into the future.
"While crime is falling and has reduced significantly in the Manukau area, the redevelopment will ensure we have the right infrastructure in place to cope with growing demand for all court services both in Manukau and across the region over the next 20 years," Ms Collins says.
The upgraded facility will improve safety and security for court users and staff and ensure the court can provide the full range of services people expect, she says.
The redevelopment is part of improving how the justice system delivers services in Auckland "alongside changes to how family and civil cases are managed, centralised calling and other projects to deal with the workloads and the increasing population in the region".