• Winston Peters
Deputy Prime Minister

Deputy Prime Minister and Tauranga MP Winston Peters has welcomed applications for Community Magistrates to serve in Tauranga.

Parliament passed legislation recently providing for the appointment of up to 20 paid Community Magistrates to replace unpaid Justices of the Peace in district courts in Tauranga, Whakatane, Hamilton and Huntly.

The pilot scheme is expected to run for 18 months after a training programme for successful applicants in November and December.

"This programme will increase community participation in the justice system and improve the efficiency of the courts which is good for everyone," Mr Peters said.

"Community Magistrates will maintain the high standard of the criminal justice system and the strict criteria for appointments will ensure this.

"Community Magistrates must have a good education, a reputation for honesty and integrity and be very effective communicators."

The new magistrates will sit in pairs in the district court with the power to impose sentences for minor offences such as careless driving, wilful damage or trespassing. They cannot imprison, but can give a range of other sentences, including reparation, community service and disqualification from driving.

Applications close on 21 August.