Balclutha’s newest justice of the peace (JP) says the training and appointment is just the ticket for helping out the community.
Legal executive Donna Buxton began JP training about 18 months ago, was appointed in November last year , gazetted (appointment officially listed and announced) in December, and sworn in last month.
‘‘I like to be involved in and part of the district and I’ve always believed ‘strangers are friends waiting to meet’.
‘‘My grandmother, Rona Barnett, started Clinton’s New Views group among other things many years ago. She lived to help. I was inspired by that, and becoming a JP is another effective avenue to give back to the community,’’ she said.
Mrs Buxton adds JP services to 10 years of volunteering with Rotary Club, 10 years inspiring young people with the Big Buddy programme, the Drive My Life driver’s licensing programme as well as spending most of her Tuesday lunchtimes in 2021 tutoring arts and crafts at Rosebank School.
The new responsibility was complementary to her position as a legal executive working in conveyancing general law, she said.
Contrary to popular understanding, JPs do not perform the marriage services of a celebrant but are kept busy with helping fellow citizens by witnessing and certifying documents such as statutory declarations and affidavits, obtaining citizenry and residency and accessing KiwiSaver for first-home buyers.
‘‘Everybody will need a JP’s help from time to time but JP numbers are actually declining, and I’d certainly encourage people to think about getting trained and joining in.’’
In order to apply, would-be JP’s should visit the office of their local member of Parliament.
The process involves application, nomination, interview and provisional approval by the Associate Minister of Justice.
After that, there is face-to-face online training and a test.
Once an application has been signed-off by the Governor-General, the new JP is sworn in by a district court judge.
‘‘A lot of local people put in huge effort improving the community, and becoming a JP is an excellent way to be recognised and access more ways to help other local people. You can make an appointment to see a JP and find out all you need to know with Ministry of Justice — Justices of the Peace Association Inc online.’’
‘Becoming a JP is another effective avenue to give back to the community