Minister opens Tauranga Public Defence ServiceJustice
Justice Minister Judith Collins officially opened the Tauranga Public Defence Service (PDS) office today.
The PDS provides an in house legal aid service, through the use of salaried staff who work along side contracted legal aid lawyers.
“The Public Defence Service is an important component of the cost-effective, high quality legal aid system this Government is working towards,” Ms Collins said.
Tauranga is the eighth PDS office to open. The PDS was piloted in Auckland and Manukau courts in 2004 and, after its success, was rolled out to cover all courts in Auckland (four offices), Wellington, Hamilton and Dunedin.
Ms Collins said the PDS is only being established in areas where it can successfully operate alongside the private bar, where it can provide choice and allow benchmarking of quality and cost.
“The PDS delivers quality defence services to some of the most vulnerable New Zealanders.
“It is well regarded by judges, prosecutors and court staff. And it is cost-effective and delivers great value for money,” Ms Collins said.
The PDS will also open an office in the Hawke’s Bay later this year and in Christchurch when circumstances permit.