Who is the Ombudsman?
There are currently two: Dame Beverley Wakem DNZM CBE and Dr David McGee CNZM QC.
Dame Beverley Wakem DNZM CBE
Dame Beverley was appointed Ombudsman on 1 March 2005 and Chief Ombudsman on 23 April 2008.
Dame Beverley’s background is in broadcasting, public relations, and consulting for both the public and private sectors. Her broadcasting career culminated in her appointment as Chief Executive of Radio New Zealand in 1984 – a post she held until 1991. During this period Dame Beverley was also President of the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union.
In 1991, Dame Beverley was appointed Commercial Director for Wrightson Limited, then a fully owned subsidiary of Fletcher Challenge Limited. In 1992, she became the company’s General Manager of Human Resources and Corporate Affairs.
From 1996 to 1997, Dame Beverley was Executive Chairman of Hill & Knowlton New Zealand, and in September 1997 she was appointed by the Government to the Higher Salaries Commission (now the Remuneration Authority). She was reappointed to that body in 2001 and again in 2004, until her appointment as Ombudsman.
Dame Beverley was awarded a CBE in 1990 for services to broadcasting and the community. In 2012, she was made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the State (DNZM).
In October 2010, Dame Beverley was appointed President of the International Ombudsman Institute. She is the first woman and the third New Zealand Ombudsman to hold this position.
David McGee CNZM QC
David McGee was appointed an Ombudsman on 19 November 2007. Mr McGee joined Parliament’s Office of the Clerk in 1974 and worked in several roles, including with Select Committees.
He was appointed Clerk of the House of Representatives in 1985. In that capacity he was the principal advisor to the Speaker and Members of Parliament on parliamentary law and practice. He was a member of the committee which reported on New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements, and devised the legislation that became law as the Constitution Act 1986. He was also a member of the panel which arranged and oversaw the public information campaigns organised for the electoral referendums held in 1992 and 1993.
He is the author of Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand, now in its third edition, which is the authoritative guide to parliamentary procedure in New Zealand. He has also written extensively in the area of parliamentary and constitutional studies. He was admitted as a barrister and solicitor in 1977 and appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 2000.
In 2002, Mr McGee was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM). He was made a Doctor of Laws (LLD) by Victoria University of Wellington in 2009.