David Parker

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Retaining his position from last year, Attorney General David Parker has had a mixed year, ranging from trade and export issues to environment issues and the gun control legislation brouhaha.

Perhaps his most significant current role is unravelling the complex mess of decision-making in the Resource Management arena from the country’s surplus of local authorities, a problem in desperate need of a lasting solution. The Attorney General is preparing to – at last – truly reform the RMA in what the Environmental Defence Society says is “arguably the most important environmental review panel of our times.”

Lead by retired judge Tony Randerson, the 53 page discussion document released in November provides a framework to begin the process and the Attorney General has a penchant for involvement in public policy issues like this.

Most recently he has also been involved as Deputy Finance Minister in moves to block foreign investors buying into key infrastructure assets, military technology companies and media groups.

But as senior law minister he continues to have a powerful influence over the appointments processes to both the Bench ande Bar, noting that the 2019 QC appointments would reflect his view on a reduced number to the ranks of QCs.

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The guidelines for taking silk now include the new criterion of a commitment to improving access to justice, one of the key criteria that he and Justice Minister Andrew Little have embraced.

“In recommending barristers to take silk I want to have a good understanding of each applicant’s personal contribution to improving access to justice for those who need it. It will be an important factor in my decisions,” David Parker said.

He said he expected fewer successful applicants than in recent years.

An Otago Law & Business graduate, he subsequently blended his community involvement with both business and law.  He co-founded the Dunedin Community Law Centre, worked for Anderson Lloyd (when it was Anderson Lloyd Caudwell and then entered business working as manager of biotech company Blis Technology.

A part from his key legal role, David Parker has also been a key figure handling trade issues at a tense time regarding the future of the World Trade Organisation, given the US criticisms of the WTO. 

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