A protest group claiming it is shedding light on an "abuse of power" occurring in the Family Court system says the Minister of Justice and Courts has it wrong.
The Herald revealed today that police are protecting judges at their family homes as angry protesters gathered outside with placards and megaphones.
It is understood the protests, which have largely taken place during weekends over the past few weeks against about three judges, have so far been peaceful with no reports of trespassing or property damage.
Minister of Justice and Courts Andrew Little called the protests "very disturbing" and said there was no excuse for people taking their case to the front door of a judge.
However, Families 4 Justice group founder Steve Evans said the protests were to highlight an "abuse of power" occurring in the Family Court.
Last Friday, protesters also marched on the Law Society in Auckland and Parliament.
Evans called the protests a "lawful rebellion" and told the Herald it would take place not matter what government was in power.
"Do you seriously think we are going to take the foot off the throat?"
He said there had been "complete family destruction" because of the at times financially expensive Family Court process.
When Families 4 Justice, which Evans said included men and women and was a non-gender-bias organisation, marched against the Law Society, he said lawyers brushed them off as a group of "crazies" - a title he resented.
One father, who phoned Newstalk ZB on air this morning, said he has been involved in several of the protests.
He said he'd been through the courts 25 times for alleged breaches of a protection order over the past decade.
"I've come out of that with no criminal convictions, no charges, so either I'm the Teflon Man or someone's lying."
Referring to Little's comments to the Herald, Evans added that Little had the "wrong end of the stick".
The politician said he "would not be persuaded or convinced by anybody who thought it was okay to target judges and their families in this sort of way".
"The reason for that sort of protest is to create some level of intimidation and that is entirely unacceptable," he added.
The former Labour leader did, however, express sympathy for parents involved in the Family Court system but said there will always be those who found the court process and its decisions distressing and upsetting.
Kirsty Swadling, the chairwoman of the Family Law Section of the New Zealand Law Society, also called the protests targeting judges disturbing.
"We are also concerned about the effects of protests and any other security issues on court staff, psychologists and lawyers," she said.
It is the nature of family disputes requiring determination by the courts that there is generally a winner and a loser, she explained.
A third review into the Family Court has been ordered by the Government.
A review panel and expert advisory group will talk to families who had been through the Family Court process, Little said.
More details of the review were expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Changes to the Family Court were introduced by the former National Government in March 2014, aimed at empowering families to resolve their matters outside court and without lawyers.
The reforms were also intended to help the Family Court focus on those cases which required immediate legal attention, such as those involving family violence.
Little said the review would evaluate whether the reforms had achieved their objectives.
Swadling said there were "significant problems" introduced in 2014 when legal aid was removed and lawyers became unable to represent parties for some court processes.