Five new Community Magistrates have been appointed for the Christchurch, Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton regions.
They are Terence Bourke (Auckland, who will also sit in Hamilton), Shaun Cole (Tauranga), Lucy Daniels Whineray (Auckland), Simon Heale (Christchurch) and Sally O'Brien (Christchurch).
Community Magistrates are judicial officers who deal with a wide-ranging body of work. They can impose sentences on persons who have been found guilty or plead guilty to certain minor imprisonable offences, and can conduct defended hearings for a range of non-imprisonable offences.
The Community Magistrate scheme was piloted in 1999 and approved for permanent implementation in the Waikato/Bay of Plenty region in 2008. The scheme was extended to the Auckland region in 2009. Two appointments have now been made to Christchurch.
Associate Justice and Courts Minister Aupito William Sio says the appointment of Community Magistrates increases the judicial resource available to the courts.
"As Magistrates tackle offending at the lower end of the spectrum, District Court Judges become free to provide their expertise on more serious and complicated cases," he says.
Swearing-in ceremonies have been arranged at Tauranga District Court (23 October), Auckland District Court (25 October) and Christchurch District Court (26 October). All three ceremonies will commence with a powhiri at 4:00pm, followed by the swearing in at 4:30pm.