February 26, 2015
As our functions and workload have been progressively increasing, we've now come to a point where we've outgrown our current Wellington premises - so we're on the move. Fortunately, our new premises are in the same building and only a few floors down. From next Tuesday, 3 March 2015 you will be able to find us on Level 7, Solnet House, 70 The Terrace, Wellington 6011. Our email and telephone contact details will remain the same. Our Wellington Office will be closed on Friday 27th February and Monday 2 March for our busy shifting weekend. However, our Auckland and Christchurch offices will be operating as normal and any phone calls will be re-routed to these offices. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
February 10, 2015
The Ombudsman has released his opinion on a complaint about a requirement imposed on tradesmen by the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board to complete continuing professional development courses (CPD courses) each year as a pre-condition to being re-licensed. Professor Paterson considered that it was reasonably open to the Board to conclude that the gazetted notices promulgating the CPD requirements were valid; that the Board had consulted adequately about its proposal to require completion of the CPD courses each year; and that it was reasonably open to the Board to conclude that the courses were "necessary", and did not "impose undue costs" on tradesmen, in terms of section 32 of the Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Act 2006. The Ombudsman noted that "the public protective purpose of the legislation, and the potential impact on public health, mean that a niggardly approach should not be taken to srutinizing the validity of CPD requirements prescribed by the Board". You can read the opinion here.
January 30, 2015
Responses to the first part of our agency and Ministers survey were due by today (30 January), but we have granted a number of extensions where necessary. We are now expecting to have received all responses by 16 February, and the second part of the survey will be sent out before that date.
We are also finalising our plans for inviting public input to the review, and we will provide another update on that shortly.
January 14, 2015
The Chief Ombudsman has released her opinion on a complaint about the withholding of information relating to Whanganui River Iwi Treaty of Waitangi negotiations. While some information was released during the investigation because of progress in the negotiations, the Chief Ombudsman found the remainder was properly withheld. There was a real risk that release would harm the relationship between the Crown and the Whanganui Iwi and thus detrimentally affect the Crown’s ability to finalise its negotiations with the Iwi. You can read the full opinion here.
December 24, 2014
Our offices in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch will close on Wednesday 24 December 2014 at 12pm and will reopen at 8.30am on Monday 5 January 2015. We wish you all a very happy Christmas and a safe and peaceful New Year
December 17, 2014
The Chief Ombudsman, Dame Beverley Wakem, has begun a wide ranging review of Official Information Act (OIA) practices in the public sector. Read the full media release here. The Project Summary can be read here. The Survey of Agencies can be read here. The Survey of Ministers can be read here.
December 17, 2014
The Ombudsman has released his opinion on a complaint about a DHB’s decision to withhold information about a surgeon, including the number and types of procedures he had performed. Professor Paterson concluded that there was good reason to withhold some, but not all of the information, in order to protect the surgeon’s privacy.
In relation to the surgical statistics, Professor Paterson commented that disclosure of work-related information is an important aspect of a DHB’s accountability for the work of its general surgeons and other senior medical officers. Surgeons are highly qualified specialists employed in the publicly funded health system to provide health services for patients.
There is a public interest in members of the community and the media being able to access data about the types of procedures and quantity of work performed by specialists in New Zealand’s public hospitals. Professor Paterson recommended that the DHB release information relating to the number and type of procedures performed by the surgeon. You can read the full opinion here.
December 9, 2014
The Human Rights Commission has today released the OPCAT Annual Report for 2013/2014. You can read the full report here.
November 30, 2014
The Spring edition of the Ombudsman Quarterly Review is now available.
November 26, 2014
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Committee) is a body of independent experts which monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Convention).
All countries are obliged to submit reports to the Committee on how disability rights are being implemented. Each nation must report within two years of adopting the Convention and thereafter every four years.
The New Zealand Government's most recent report to the Committee was reviewed on 15 and 16 September 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Committee's Concluding Observations on disability issues in New Zealand are now available.
Members of New Zealand's Independent Monitoring Mechanism (which comprises of the Human Rights Commission, the Convention Coalition Monitoring Group and the Office of the Ombudsman) were in attendance to observe the examination. The Independent Monitoring Mechanism closely watches the disability rights situation in New Zealand, and recently published its second major report entitled Making Disability Rights Real which reviews domestic implementation of the Convention.
The Independent Monitoring Mechanism also made a number of recommendations in its most recent report, and presented these to Committee Members in Geneva in a briefing. Members of the Committee commented that they found the briefing useful as it assisted them to formulate questions to ask the New Zealand Government, and helped to inform Concluding Observations.
The Independent Monitoring Mechanism will encourage the Government to give credence to the Committee's Concluding Observations, along with our own recommendations, so that rights of persons with disabilities in New Zealand continue to improve.
New Zealand's next examination before the Committee is scheduled for 2018.
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