Kuchenbecker family overwhelmed by offers of help

The family of murdered Karl Kuchenbecker says it has been overwhelmed by offers of help to pay their legal aid bill.

The 29-year-old father of two was killed by Graeme Burton during a rampage in the Wainuiomata Hills on January 6 last year.

Taxpayers funded the family's representation at the inquest into Mr Kuchenbecker's death last November but the Legal Services Agency, which administers legal aid, has now asked his partner to repay the bill of up to $19,000.

The woman, living on the domestic purposes benefit while she raises two young boys, has been told to pay off the account at a rate of $25 week which could take 14 years.

She has asked not to be identified.

Since news of the request was revealed on Saturday, the family has been flooded with offers to help pay the bill, as the Government promises to make the system fairer on victims.
   
Mr Kuchenbecker's father, Paul Kuchenbecker, told The Dominion Post his phone was running "pretty hot" with people offering to help pay off the outstanding bill.
  
"We've had strangers come up with envelopes of money."
  
The family had rejected all offers to date, but were overwhelmed at the kindness shown.
  
He would not say how much the offers of donations had totalled, saying it was the gesture rather than the amount which was important.
"Whether it's five cents or $50,000 it's about the generosity New Zealanders have felt about the whole thing."
   
Justice Minister Annette King said she was "alarmed" by the demands being made on the family, promising an urgent examination of the legal aid system.
 
"(The ministry) will examine what changes are needed to ensure that victims are treated in a caring and compassionate way," she said.
   
Paul Kuchenbecker said he was heartened by Ms King's comments as the possibility of repaying legal aid bills could deter other victims from seeking help for representation.
 
NZPA

source: newshub archive