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From the new National President …

Ric Carlyon - Monday, March 21, 2016

New President, Denise Hutchins, is just one month into her Presidency. She was invited, through this column, to talk to Auckland Justices of the Peace. 

What a pleasure to meet with Justices of Peace from around Aotearoa - New Zealand, including the large contingent from Auckland, at the recent National Conference/AGM in Dunedin. It was a meeting of old friends and those experiencing a national gathering for the first time. We all learnt something new, did the business end of things, networked, had some fun, and above all enjoyed the fellowship of colleagues.

Welcoming new Justices is everyone’s responsibility. For Federations vision of ‘Excellence in the provision of accessible justice services’ to be realised, Federation has a responsibility to put in place the tools and processes that enable Associations to continuously improve this vital role. Associations have the responsibility to look after new Justices, supporting them to become fully functioning and active members of the wider Justice of the Peace network. Individual members within that Association likewise have the responsibility to mentor and support new Justices, teaching them the practical realities of providing a service to the public.
The Justice of the Peace population around the country is falling. Some amongst us are alarmed by this. It does not overly concern me (yet!). I can live with fewer, better trained/educated and active Justices. Along with this must go constant attention to how we deliver what we do. The extensive Service Desk network in the Auckland region is a sound basis from which to grow.
We play an important role in the Justice system, most people are likely to require the services of a Justice of the Peace at some stage of their life. The vast majority of New Zealanders will not venture any further into the Justice system. We are a key ‘cog’ in a very large wheel. Celebrate that, but remember along with it comes responsibility to maintain and grow our competence and communicate with the people we serve in a pleasant and professional manner.
We all have a part to play in a positive future for Justices of the Peace in our country. The Board of the Federation in seeking out new service opportunities, Associations in growing the competence of their members and individual Justices in providing a sound service to the public. Remaining relevant to the society we serve is the key to a bright future.
I wish all Auckland Association members well for the 2016 – 17 year and look forward to meeting as many of you as I can during the year.
Denise Hutchins
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