21 Jan 2020

Diverse intake of 21 new District Court judges

4:14 pm on 21 January 2020

Another 21 new District Court judges have been appointed in a move the government says is to improve access to justice and boost diversity in New Zealand's courts.

No caption

David Parker Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

The appointments include 11 judges filling the positions of judges who have retired from the District Courts but 10 positions are new, as provided for in last year's Budget.

The appointees include 10 new Māori judges, eight Pākehā, one Māori/Chinese and two Samoan. Twelve of them are women.

Attorney-General David Parker said there was an increasing workload for District Court judges.

"It's partly because of population increase, partly because the trials are more complex than they used to be and partly because we're trying to take an approach to therapeutic courts where we're trying to deal with the underlying drug and addiction issues of some of the offenders so they don't reoffend."

He said the extra judges would help manage the increasing workloads coming through the District Court and "reduce the toll that long delays" had on people needing access to the courts.

"It's pleasing to see high quality appointees coming forward from diverse backgrounds" he said, as it was "important that the judiciary reflects the make-up of the community it serves".

The names of 14 of the new judges were released today, with the rest to be announced later this year.

Once the new judges are sworn in, the number of District Court judges will increase from 155 to 172.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs