16 Mar 2009

Financial help a 'reprieve' for Maori legal services

2:17 pm on 16 March 2009

Maori legal services are celebrating a financial lifeline for community law centres.

The Government is topping up a $7 million shortfall in the operating budgets of the country's 27 centres, caused by a slowdown in the housing market.

Community law centres are funded by interest on money in lawyers' trust accounts, which mostly comes from conveyancing.

Justice Minister Simon Power says the government will cover the cost until a more secure funding source is found.

Samantha Tamanui from Wellington-based Maori legal service Te Ratonga Ture told Waatea News the centres were facing cuts of up to 50%, but the funding gives the service a reprieve for at least another year.

Ms Tamanui says Te Ratonga Ture helps at least 100 clients a month, mostly with Treaty claims and employment issues.