October 01, 2012
Fee raises wrong course for Maori Land Court
A lawyer with extensive experience in the Maori Land Court says fees in the court should be lowered, not raised.
The Government is consulting on a plan to raise fees in all courts and tribunals.
The fee for seeking an appeal to the Maori Appellate Court would quadruple to $550, and a $20 fee would be imposed for a wide range of administrative tasks that are now done for free.
Charl Hirschfeld says a major part of the court’s work is maintaining accurate records of Maori land ownership, and anything that discourages people from using the court will make that job harder.
He says rather than a narrow focus on cost recovery that could end up costing more than the fees it generates, the government should look at ways to beef up the court’s resources so the judges can do their jobs more efficiently.