Continuing industrial action by Ministry of Justice staff means New Zealanders are being held in jail cells because courts are not open long enough to hear their bail applications, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

Ministry of Justice staff today walked off the job between 11am and 12pm at 21 District Courts and five High Courts.

“It is astonishing that, in a civilised country, liberty is being denied and justice is being delayed simply because the Government is wasting billions on pet projects and isn’t willing to fund a functioning justice system.

“The detention of citizens and the provision of justice is one of the most important roles of the state. Going back to Magna Carta, our traditions require timely justice.

“This Government has wasted billions on degrees for tomorrow’s elite, winter energy payments for well-off pensioners, and corporate welfare for the regions.

“Yet, it appears it cannot perform a core role of any government – providing timely access to justice.

“The Government needs to stop wasting money on corporate and middle-class welfare and ensure that court staff are paid properly so New Zealanders can once again get access to justice.

“It’s time Andrew Little and the Government got their priorities straight.”