By Annette Lambly
About 150 people have attended a demonstration march in Dargaville this afternoon to protest against the downsizing of court house services.
A 1200 signatory petition has also been compiled in a last ditch attempt to halt the Government's proposal to make Dargaville `a hearings only' court.
Attending today's protest demonstration outside the Dargaville court house, Winston Peters backed his former hometown's opposition.
The New Zealand First Party leader said he applauded the community for standing up for what they wanted.
``Provincial New Zealand is the engine room of this country's economy and its wishes and needs are being ignored... rural communities are tired of cutbacks and more cutbacks to balance the books... Justice is more than a matter of dollars and cents....'' he said.
Around 150 people turned out to the midday demonstration.
Green MP David Clendon agreed with Mr Peters, saying the proposal would not make savings - it would only shift the costs elsewhere.
"Justice is a core service - an absolute function of the Government, and services should be being increased - not reduced,'' he said.