26 Jun 2016

Crown prosecution system underfunded - Labour

6:22 pm on 26 June 2016

The Crown prosecution system is under extreme pressure from lack of money, says the Labour Party.

David Parker announced his candidacy today in Auckland.

David Parker Photo: RNZ / Carla Penman

Its shadow Attorney-General David Parker said funding cuts had averaged 25 percent, and could go as high as 40 percent for some firms.

He said a Crown Law memo to the government outlined a litany of concerns from solicitors for an agency whose funds had been ruthlessly cut.

Mr Parker said documents obtained under the Official Information Act show one solicitor saying the local council paid a higher hourly rate to prosecute dangerous dog owners than the Crown did to prosecute murderers.

Mr Parker said the memo contained other concerns such as one firm cancelling its cleaning contract just to make ends meet, companies struggling to retain senior staff, and fears pressure would lead to mistakes by junior prosecutors.

However, a Crown Law office spokesperson said the memo was written before the latest Budget, where prosecutors received a $19.7 million funding boost over four years.