Mahuta addresses Diplosphere: ours is a liberal democracy, she says, and other nations can learn from our experience

Buzz from the Beehive

Measures to raise eligibility thresholds to help more than 90,000 New Zealanders that currently are denied access to legal aid were announced today

Changes to the Legal Services Regulations 2011 and the Legal Services Act 2011 will give  effect to $148.7 million of funding in Budget 2022.

The changes are:

  • increasing the income eligibility thresholds by 15% from 1 January 2023, making 93,000 more people eligible for civil and family legal aid in the first year,
  • removing the legal aid user charge, payable by most civil and family legal aid recipients,
  • removing interest on repayment of unpaid legal debt,
  • increasing the debt repayment thresholds by 16.5% for debt established from 1 January 2023, relieving financial pressures for around 16,000 low-income and vulnerable New Zealanders, and
  • increasing the civil and family legal aid eligibility thresholds and debt repayment thresholds by an additional 1.9% per year with the last increase on 1 July 2025.

Just one other new item was posted on the Beehive website when we checked this morning, this one a speech – the second in four days – by Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

This time she used a word – “democracy” – that had been missing from the speech on space policy which she delivered on July 1. Continue reading “Mahuta addresses Diplosphere: ours is a liberal democracy, she says, and other nations can learn from our experience”

Buzz from the Beehive: Budget announcements are still flowing but criminals will pay for Poto’s new law and order initiative

Ministers continue to beat the drum for the goodies dispensed in the Budget, a week after Finance Minister Grant Robertson delivered his Budget speech and the Government published a raft of documents and press statements to tell the nation who got how much. 

Some of the ministerial post-Budget announcements relate to services that are being provided for all who need them.  Or rather, all who need them until the money runs out, presumably.

In addition to the $15.5 million spent each year to help people battling with eating disorders, for example, $3.9 million in extra funding over four years has been secured as part of Budget 2022.

“This will help increase the capacity of eating disorder services and reinforces our continued focus and commitment to improve mental health and addictions support in Aotearoa,” Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: Budget announcements are still flowing but criminals will pay for Poto’s new law and order initiative”

Eight new Queen’s Counsel are appointed – but must we pay a king’s ransom to pay for their services?

Eight Queen’s Counsel have been appointed under a process that includes the new criterion of a commitment to improving access to justice, Attorney-General David Parker announced this week.

The new criterion, he explained,

” … emphasises that excellence and leadership in the profession can be seen through a wider, community lens.

“It is pleasing to see the profession is making a good contribution to access to justice.”

At Point of Order, we feel he should have done much more explaining.

What does he mean when he talks of improving access to justice and what have the new QCs done to facilitate this?

We ask because – according to our understanding – anybody can contact a lawyer and make an appointment for advice.

Whether they can afford to do this is a moot point. Continue reading “Eight new Queen’s Counsel are appointed – but must we pay a king’s ransom to pay for their services?”