INDEPENDENT NEWS

Better Funding Needed For Community Law

Published: Thu 27 Jun 2019 12:53 PM
June 27, 2019
Today’s Post-Budget announcement extending last year’s interim funding boost to Community Law services is the second step in honouring the Coalition Government Agreement to increase funding to Community Law.
“The final step is yet to come,” says Community Law Centres o Aotearoa CEO, Sue Moroney.
The additional $2.18m was put in place as an interim funding boost last year, while Community Law worked through a funding review with the Ministry of Justice to identify the proposals that would satisfy the Coalition Government commitment.
“After 10 years of suppressed funding, Community Law services were on life support – the $2.18m has ensured the survival of our centres and today’s announcement confirms that. Now we are working on the funding needed to improve access to Justice and the wellbeing of our communities,” says Sue.
“Our current resources only allow us to get our services to 30% of low-income people with unmet legal need.
“Access to Justice is fundamental to the wellbeing of society and our services are a cost-effective way of reducing crime and its effects on people,” says Sue.
Of the $13m in total funding now being received from Government, around $10million is currently provided by the Lawyers and Conveyancers Special Fund.
“We look forward to the full implementation of the Coalition Government Agreement for Community Law being realised in Budget 2020. It can’t come soon enough for communities that need free legal support.”
Background
Twenty-four Community Law Centres work out of over 140 locations across New Zealand to provide free legal help and advice to those who are unable to pay for a private lawyer or who do not have access to legal aid. This advice covers all aspects of New Zealand’s legal system, including family law, employment issues, housing problems, consumer advice and criminal law. As well as around 170 staff, Community Law’s services are boosted by over 1,200 volunteer lawyers who run clinics and deliver free advice and assistance.
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