Trials are temporarily adjourned and a local framework has been put in force
The local solutions framework is now in force in all District Courts in Auckland, Northland, and Thames, following the MetService issuance of Red weather wind and rain warnings for Auckland and Northland in response to Cyclone Gabrielle. The Chief High Court Judge and Chief District Court Judge have also adjourned Auckland and Whangarei jury trials for 13 and 14 February, to resume on Wednesday, 15 February.
The announcement from the Chief Justice meant that the three criminal jury trials in the Auckland High Court originally set to begin on Monday, 13 February, had to be reset to Wednesday, 15 February. Two civil hearings in the Auckland High Court likewise due to begin on Monday were likewise affected and had to be rescheduled to Wednesday, with the Court contacting the counsel for the parties to update them on the matter. Civil and criminal fixtures of one day or less took place remotely where appropriate, while those lasting more than one day did not sit at all.
The sole Whangarei High Court jury trial scheduled in the last Monday was reset to Wednesday. The Ministry of Justice contacted the jurors already called to attend to attend on Wednesday instead.
The local solutions framework currently in force throughout Auckland, Northland, and Thames would also allow courts to set priority work only and reschedule non-priority work amid a Red weather warning in their location. Parties affected by the rescheduling will be contacted by their counsel or police.
On Tuesday, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty signed a declaration of a national state of emergency in light of the “unprecedented weather event” that was Cyclone Gabrielle. The national state of emergency initially covered the six regions that had previously declared a local state of emergency: Northland, Auckland, Tairāwhiti, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, and Hawkes Bay. Later that afternoon, McAnulty signed a further declaration extending the state of national emergency to the Tararua District.
The only other times a national state of emergency was declared in New Zealand were in March 2020, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in February 2011 post the Christchurch earthquake.