• Wyatt Creech

The new Minister for Courts Wyatt Creech today announced a major programme to upgrade courts in the Auckland region.

"The Government has given the go ahead for new courts to be built in Manukau and North Shore, to meet the demands of the growing population in both areas. We're planning for the next 50 years.

``We want the new courtrooms and facilities to be more user friendly. The new courts will provide justice in the community that meets the needs of local people, the Judiciary and court users,'' Mr Creech said. ``Well designed and modern court facilities will mean better service and more efficient processing of cases."

The new Manukau District Court will put civil, criminal and family court services together under one roof. The new court will be built in the city's central business district in the heart of the community. It will replace the Otahuhu District Court, presently operating on four sites. Nearby Papakura District Court will continue as a satellite court.

"For witnesses, victims and their families it is often a trying and difficult time having to front up to court. In addition to the range of new courtrooms, the Manukau Court will include segregated waiting areas for privacy and security reasons," Mr Creech said.

A site for the new North Shore Court is still to be decided, but Takapuna is the favoured location. Present court facilities are in two separate buildings, several minutes walking distance apart.

Both courts will take about two years to build.

``The unsuitability of both Otahuhu and North Shore to cope with today's demands are well known,'' Mr Creech said. ``They are too small, on multiple sites, and in the case of Otatuhu and Papakura not in the main population growth centre."

An investment of more than $20 million will be made in the new Manukau Court and more than $15 million for North Shore. The Department for Courts already owns the Manukau site, at Wiri Station Road opposite the Manukau City shopping centre. Courts staff will be keeping in touch with their local communities as the projects develop.

``I am delighted that one of my first acts as Courts Minister is to make this announcement,'' said Mr Creech. ``Both new buildings will be assets local communities can be proud of.''