The Government is moving ahead with new courthouses in Tauranga and Whanganui, which the Justice Minister says provide an opportunity to redesign court facilities that help put victims at the heart of the justice system.
“These courthouses are part of the 10-year infrastructure investment plan to restore and modernise Ministry of Justice buildings,” Kris Faafoi said.
“The buildings will address the safety needs of all participants, including victims, be more family-friendly, and meet physical accessibility requirements for all building users.
“We want to create court facilities which meet the physical, social, emotional, cultural and spiritual needs of New Zealanders. They will also support the Chief District Court Judge’s Te Ao Mārama vision for transforming the District Court,” Kris Faafoi said.
The Minister for Courts, Aupito William Sio said that as well as improving the traditional services of a courthouse, these new courthouses will support the delivery of wrap-around services for both victims and offenders through the potential co-location of social and community sector agencies on their premises.
“For the first time in Aotearoa New Zealand, courthouses will be designed in partnership with the local community, the judiciary and local iwi and hapū,” Aupito William Sio said.
“The Tauranga and Whanganui courthouses will reflect local tikanga Māori as well as Te Ao Māori values.”
Justice Minister Faafoi said the new courthouse projects would also bring jobs and associated economic activity to the Tauranga and Whanganui regions.
New Tauranga Courthouse:
Over $150 million has been approved to build a new courthouse for the High Court and District Court in Tauranga on land next to the current courthouse between Monmouth and McLean Streets.
After considerable community consultation by the Ministry of Justice, building on a new site has been identified as the best option. The current courthouse site is too small to accommodate forecast future demand. Additionally, construction can proceed without any disruption to court operations.
The new building will increase the number of courtrooms, meaning that High Court cases currently being heard in Rotorua will be heard in Tauranga in the future.
The new courthouse is expected to be completed by 2026.
New Whanganui Courthouse:
More than $50 million will be spent building a new courthouse on the former UCOL campus site in Whanganui. The new courthouse will house four courtrooms instead of the three in the current courthouse.
The Ministry of Justice is working closely with local iwi, the community, the Whanganui District Council, New Zealand Police and other agencies to ensure the new courthouse is designed with the principles of community led wellbeing outcomes being central to its design and build.
The new courthouse is expected to open in 2025.