New Zealand's chief coroner says he welcomes what he
describes as ''bitter criticism and some praise'' in an Otago
study on the coronial system.
Chief Coroner Judge Neil MacLean said the system could use
both work and resources to make it more effective.
University of Otago Legal Issues Centre acting director Dr
Jennifer Moore released the study yesterday.
Judge MacLean said last night he welcomed the feedback
''whether it's good, bad or indifferent''.
Dr Moore had been in contact as the study developed, and the
coroners' office had already been considering what it could
One criticism in the study was of untargeted recommendations
following an investigation into a death, meaning those who
needed the information did not receive it.
''We took that on board and the coroners have really got that
message,'' he said.
''You need to take the trouble to say: `Where's the best
person to send this recommendation to?' so
they can respond, and we know it's not disappearing out into
the ether and nobody reads it,'' Judge MacLean said.
On criticism about under-resourcing, he said the office was
in the same situation as others in the judicial system.
''We've got to live with the reality we've got shrinking
budgets; that there is no more new money.''
He agreed with a suggestion of mandatory reporting for
organisations receiving coroners' recommendations, making
sure they made a formal written response saying what, if
anything, they proposed to do.
''I've been plugging [that] with no success.''
''At the moment, it's a lost battle as far as I'm concerned
because the minister's [Courts Minister Chester Borrows] made
it plain the Government's not interested in that; they don't
think it's a good idea. I continue to think it's a good