The NZ Herald editorial is bang on the money this morning:
Justice Minister Judith Collins will not be endearing herself to some of her legal colleagues now in the judiciary, but she is right. The judges’ long service leave entitlement negotiated with the previous Government is “generous”. She might have used a stronger word were it not for the restraint that parliamentarians and judges are supposed to exercise when commenting on the work of the other.
“Excessive” would be a better description of the perk that gives judges five months leave every five years, in addition to the seven weeks’ holiday they have every year. The deal was done for District Court judges five years ago but has only now come to public notice thanks to Ms Collins’ determination to find out why, despite falling crime rates, the courts remain so slow.
“Troughing” is a another word. I wonder who 5 years ago set that landmine up?
Labour’s Attorney General, Sir Michael Cullen, cannot recollect the reason he agreed to extend the judges long service leave from 65 to 100 days in a package of conditions negotiated in 2008, Labour’s last year of office.
As someone familiar with academic “sabbaticals”, Sir Michael supposed judges would spend the time catching up with developments in their field. The Chief District Court Judge, Jan-Marie Doogue, justifies the leave as recognition of increased jurisdiction and complexity of the work of district courts these days. She says it brings the judges’ terms and conditions closer to those of the High Court and similar international jurisdictions. Read more »