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Meet our Support Groups

Ric Carlyon - Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Beginning a periodic feature… a look at some of our Support Groups...
First up it’s Waiheke Island introduced by local Coordinator, Gillian Reeve.

Our Waiheke Island Support Group started up in January last year as a meet-and-greet social gathering to find out 'who's who' in our area. Initially on paper there were 22 Justices of the Peace on Waiheke but the contact list was very out-of-date, so we've had a sort-out to establish who is still on the island, who's left the island, who's new to the island etc. It's great having a clearly defined, small area and a water boundary that can't leak into any other suburb!

It's been a stuttering and faltering start in many ways. As with other Support Groups we have a long-term and ongoing problem - i.e. some Justices of the Peace have never once been to a meeting (or, in some instances, even bothered to reply to Support Group emails). They appear to be inactive and are certainly not up-to-date with training and all the changes in today's world (certifying of electronic documents, online learning etc) yet they continue in the community, appointed but not capable of proper public service, untrained and out of touch.

Nevertheless, we've continued meeting socially, at a dinner gathering, every 3 months, and at these gatherings we've covered any business / planning in an informal way and have sometimes had a guest speaker - the local police sergeant for example and, in January 2015, our local MP Nikki Kaye.
Every 3 months, alternating with the dinners at 6-weekly intervals, we have a training session on a Sunday morning at the Oneroa CAB with a trainer who visits from the outskirts of Waiheke (Auckland City !) as part of the Active and Trained initiative.
One clear 'hiccup' is that many of those who aren't active in our group are younger Justices of the Peace who have long work-hours, including weekends, either in Auckland or on Waiheke. Some have never been to a Support Group meeting or to a training session or offered for the Service Desk roster. It's all very well saying we need more young Justices of the Peace, but if they're virtually never available because of work commitments, wouldn't it be better value to appoint older, more available people, even if for a shorter time ?

It’s a pity more do not attend our Group’s activities, especially training, to maintain their confidence and competency to serve the community. So it’s good that a few Waiheke Justices of the Peace have opted to resign recently, possibly in response to a letter from MP Nikki Kaye asking their intentions. 

Our main success story however, has been the establishment of a Service Desk which now operates every Saturday morning at the Oneroa CAB from 10-12 noon. Whereas before it was left solely to the manager of the CAB (also a Justice of the Peace) the Saturday morning duties are now rostered.  One of our members is doing great work towards getting publicity for this in the local newspapers.

       A trio of J.P.s at Waiheke's Service Desk at the CAB in Oneroa: L-R Lomond Brown, Greg Ogg and Gillian Reeve

Waiheke Justices of the Peace made the 'big time' recently when, with much-appreciated assistance from Roger Brookes to get the wording right,  we were delighted to have the remit below accepted by the Auckland Association then forwarded to the National Conference in Takapuna, where it passed ! Now the Ministry of Justice will be asked to act on it.

At our last meeting it was agreed to try a more formal approach, so a meeting format will be followed for the April 29th meeting at the CAB in Oneroa at 7pm, with a get-together and bite to eat at the Oneroa Boating Club (restaurant) beforehand for those who would like to continue the social connection.

New Service Desk at Devonport

Ric Carlyon - Monday, April 20, 2015

A new Service Desk opens today at Devonport, situated in the new library on the waterfront in the heart of the harbour suburb. Justices of the Peace will be available at the library every Monday afternoon between noon and 2 p.m.

The Devonport Support Group, sponsor and organiser of the new Desk, has been anxious to provide this service for their community but with the demolition of the old public library JPs lost an appropriate “home” to set up in. With the new 7.8 million dollar library opened, the Support Group made arrangements to establish a Desk. Library staff  members have welcomed the move.

“We are still a small group” says Support Group Coordinator, Jo Cliffe, “but the Service Desk will give a whole new focus for us all”.

(JPs may be lucky enough to meet Benjamin, the Library's resident cat, who in this State of the Art Library has his personal micro-chipped cat-door!)

Auckland Round Up

Ric Carlyon - Monday, August 18, 2014

Otara Support Group – Has appointed Rosie Brown, J.P. as Pacific Liaison Officer to help the many Pacific Island J.P.s who work in the district.

Mt Albert Support Group – Last meeting was addressed by a Police Sergeant who spoke on identity crime and fraud, passing on useful tips on what to look out for, as well as advice for personal safety when strangers come to our home.

Botany Service Desk at CAB - Latest monthly return shows 167 clients, 501 Certified Copies, 70 Statutory Declarations. Not bad business for 3 afternoons a week! 

Helensville Support Group - meetings are divided with the first hour is devoted to local issues and sharing experiences, while the second hour is occupied with in-house training. The group recently celebrated mid-winter with a special dinner. 

Northcote Service Desk - has moved with the CAB to new premises in the local library complex, 5 Ernie Mays Street right in the heart of Northcote.

Waiheke Support Group plans to add to current sessions at the CAB with members rostered on Saturday mornings.

Hibiscus Coast Support Group, growing in number, has held recent meetings with training centred on personal safety and privacy matters.

Remuera Support Group’s next meeting will discuss J.P. roles in the upcoming General Election.

We will catch up with other Support Groups and Service Desks in later Round Ups.  

Mistaken Identity

Ric Carlyon - Monday, August 11, 2014

In initial conversation with the couple in front of me during my session at the Service Desk it was obvious that English was their second language. The document they presented had already been processed as a Statutory Declaration by another J.P.

So, why had they come to the CAB to see another J.P. and what did they want me to do?

The gentleman pointed to Section 18 which in the document followed the Statutory Declaration and stood out as the only section not signed off. Section 18 asked “Is the applicant of sound mind?”

I told the couple that as a J. P. I was not qualified, nor prepared, to sign on the dotted line. Once this had sunk in disappointment was written large over both faces, but the woman dived into her bag, and produced a letter, a guide to help complete the form. She thrust it out, confident this would solve any problem and that, in a flash, I would be signing and stamping the document.

“Section 18….” the notes said “… must be completed by a registered medical practitioner who has known you for at least 6 months”

Right, I concluded, just a small misunderstanding because of the way spoken English sounds, and only one letter out! The applicant needs a G.P. rather than a J.P.!

New Service Desk a Success

Ric Carlyon - Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The new Service Desk at Mangere Bridge library is proving a hit.

“After only 3 Monday afternoon sessions we have been amazed at the growing use of our services”, says one of the organisers, Leo Stafford-Bush, “and we have received many commendations for establishing the service”.

“The Librarians have received glowing thanks from all the users, so we know the J.P.s’ attendances are well-appreciated”, says Leo “and we’ve been so busy there’s been no time for coffee breaks or to browse the library’s expansive range of reading material!”.

“It’s a combined operation. The librarians store our equipment and daily put out the sandwich board advertising our service”.

Leo concludes: “We’ll have a stock-take at the end of August to see if any fine-tuning’s needed but so far it's been most successful”.

Briefs from Council’s May Meeting

Ric Carlyon - Thursday, May 22, 2014

+ Within days of being re-organised, it was reported, and welcomed, that Waiheke Support Group had arranged its first activity: training with Rex Chandler, to brush up on Ministerial duties. This, Dawn Jones, told Council, is typical of Support Groups taking every opportunity to include training in their activities - it’s become an essential part of their meetings

+ Council adopted the document Arrangements for Service Desks which details guidelines for establishing and maintaining Service Desks: facilities fast becoming the most popular way for JPs to serve their community. “The Arrangement provides advice for new Service Desks…” Convener Ric Carlyon advised Council, “…and gives a good base document for those already successfully operating”.

+ Good progress is being made for next year’s Royal Federation Conference which Auckland Association is hosting at Spencer on Byron, Takapuna, February 27, ‘15. Organising Committee Chairman, Selwyn Haworth, told the meeting that budget-setting, setting the programme, arranging partners’ programmes and other plans are well advanced for a successful event. Wallis Walker said the Royal Federation’s Board has approved the programme proposed by the host Association.

+ Auckland’s the venue for another event – Regional Representative, Wallis Walker, also advised that the Regional Ministerial Seminar for JP trainers in the northern part of New Zealand has returned to the calendar after a break, and will be held in Auckland with a tentative date 23rd August.

+ The review of the Association’s Constitution is almost complete, President Colin Davis reported, and in a week or two the final draft will be approved. It will be circulated to Support Groups for comment and will be submitted to this year’s Annual General Meeting for ratification.

+ This year’s Auckland Regional Conference will be held on Sunday 14th September at Alexandra Park. Wallis Walker said an interesting programme is scheduled including the Year of the JP which celebrates the 200th anniversary of the appointment of New Zealand’s first JP, ministerial training and a speaker on population trends in Greater Auckland.
+ Registrar, Roger Brookes, reminded Council that the next swearing-in ceremony at Auckland District Court will be held on Monday 26th May when 7 appointees will be sworn.

+ Discussion during Council’s meeting centred on new JPs’ awareness of the expectation that they must be available to serve the public, to complete initial training with a mentor, to join a Support Group and to assist on a Service Desk. It was noted that these matters are mentioned in printed material given to candidates, canvassed again during interview and reiterated once they are sworn in. However, it was suggested that the check-list used during interview with prospective JPs should be amended to make certain that they are in no doubt that, if appointed, they’re expected to serve the public, with special awareness of being rostered at a Service Desk.

Service Desk Opens in South Auckland

Ric Carlyon - Monday, May 05, 2014

The latest JP Service Desk launched today in Manukau. It’s in Friendship House, 20 Putney Way, conveniently situated in the heart of the City Centre.

Justices of the Peace from South Auckland will be available at Friendship House on Monday and Wednesday mornings for those requiring the services of a JP. As with other Service Desks it’s a walk-up facility - no appointment necessary.

The JP Service Desk adds to the long list of amenities and wide range of services available to the community within Friendship House.

JPs will be available on two days each week, Mondays and Wednesdays, between 10am and 1pm.
This newest Service Desk is one of more than 50 operating across Greater Auckland under the auspices of the Auckland Justices of the Peace Association

Waiheke Gets into Gear

Ric Carlyon - Friday, May 02, 2014

There’s a quiet but determined revival going on at Waiheke, confirmed at last night’s meeting of the local Support Group.

A number of the island’s JPs, some of whom had not met before, gathered to hear proposals for regular support meetings, training and, importantly, plans to increase present JP availability to their community with an enhanced Service Desk. It’s planned to create a roster so there can be regular sessions attended by JPs at the Citizens’ Advice Bureau in Oneroa.

Auckland Association Council members Dawn Jones (Support Groups), Ric Carlyon (Service Desks) and David Grove(Immediate Past President), advised the meeting of experiences where other Groups have been established.

The 3 Council members left the island confident that the volunteers’ enthusiasm and dedication will result in the delivery of more efficient JP services on Waiheke.

Latest Council Business

Ric Carlyon - Thursday, April 10, 2014

Briefs from Council’s Monthly Meeting held on 9th April 2014:

CONSTITUTION – President, Colin Davis, advised steady progress has been made on the review of the Association’s Constitution.

YELLOW PAGES – Registrar Roger Brookes reported that new JPs will no longer be listed in Yellow Pages under ‘Justices of the Peace’ nor will any further amendments be made by the Auckland Association’s office. JPs who want a listing, or to alter existing entries, should do so themselves.

THANKS – Considerable past experience and service was acknowledged when it was reported that 12 JPs have recently retired and will soon be receiving appropriate lapel badges.

2015 CONFERENCE – Is being hosted by Auckland Association, held at Takapuna’s Spencer on Byron in February next year. Advice was received that the organising committee’s on target planning the big event.

IT UPGRADE – Lion Foundation has donated funds enabling the Registrar’s office equipment to be upgraded.

WEBSITE – Work continues to create a communication link and information platform for our members and the public, and it was reported that ultimately the dynamic news updates will replace the quarterly hard-copy newsletter.

CONFERENCE EXPENSES – Council will suggest to Royal Federation that when it submits its 3 yearly funding request to the Minister of Justice that it includes an annual allocation to assist Associations stage the annual conference.

SERVICE DESKS – Three new Service Desks are planned – one in Manukau City at Friendship House should be operating before month’s end while Support Groups plan desks in Devonport and on Waiheke Island.

New Service Desk - Half Moon Bay, Pakuranga

Ric Carlyon - Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Auckland's latest Service Desk at Half Moon Bay is the first to be situated in a supermarket. 

Norma-Jean Van De Rheede, J.P., will be in attendance at a desk which is set up in the alcove at the main entrance of Freshchoice supermarket every Tuesday between 11.30 and 12.30.

“This is a start” she says, “we may have to expand if there’s demand for JP services”. Freshchoice management has been very supportive hosting the Service Desk, adding to local community activities the store is already closely involved with.

This is the 13th Service Desk operated and overseen by the Eastern Districts JP Support group.

You can check out a map of the location and the current open times for the Half Moon Bay Service Desk here

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