Shakeup cuts jobs in courts NZ-wide

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 07:38 17/12/2012

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A major shakeup of district courts will result in the loss of 33 jobs throughout the country.

The new management structure was outlined to court staff last week and is due to take effect in April.

While there will be no change to staffing levels in New Plymouth, the Hawera District Court is to lose one management position.

This has changed from proposals earlier this year that would have resulted in at least two management jobs disappearing in Taranaki.

"We have been talking to staff about these changes for months and they are supportive of what we are trying to achieve and the need to change. We've made some improvements to reflect their feedback," a Ministry of Justice spokesman said.

"More than 1000 staff work in the courts and this structure has 33 fewer positions. While there will be 51 fewer management positions, we are increasing the number of frontline positions by 18."

Affected staff will now have an opportunity to apply for a position in the new structure, he said.

"The vast majority of people who work in the courts are not impacted by these decisions," he said.

Courts Minister Chester Borrows announced last week that four courts will be closed, and nine others turned into hearing courts.

The decision had been made against a background of decreasing crime, Mr Borrows said.

The new structure would be "better focused on the needs of our customers, the frontline, victims and the people we work with.

"Now's the time to make these changes," Mr Borrows said.

"Official police statistics show crime is at a 30-year low and there has been a 25 per cent drop-off in criminal summary cases over the last four years."

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