Inspectors gather information on the treatment and conditions of detained people in those places of detention for which the Chief Ombudsman is the designated NPM. Find out more about our inspection powers on this page.
Inspectors and other staff are authorised by the Chief Ombudsman to assist him in carrying out his National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) function. They are authorised by the Chief Ombudsman to exercise his powers to enter premises and gather the information needed to examine and monitor the treatment and conditions of detained people in the relevant places of detention.
This authorisation means that, when assisting the Chief Ombudsmen, Inspectors may enter relevant detention facilities, at regular intervals and at any other times (which may include after hours and at weekends). Inspections may be announced or unannounced, which means Inspectors do not need to give detention facilities notice before they arrive. Inspectors may gather any relevant information about the treatment and conditions of any detained person in any designated place of detention in New Zealand (refer section 27(a) of COTA).
It also means that Inspectors must be provided with:
Unrestricted access to information about the number, treatment and conditions of detained people in a place of detention (refer section 28 of COTA).
In addition, Inspectors may also require any information, documents or anything else that, in the Chief Ombudsmen’s opinion, relates to the examination being conducted, even where there may be a legal obligation of secrecy or non-disclosure (refer sections 19(1), 19(3), and 19(4) of OA).
The right to speak, without witnesses being present, to anyone who may be able to provide relevant information, either personally or through an interpreter (refer COTA, section 30(1)).
The NPMs’ function is formally recorded in the New Zealand Gazette (published most recently on 6 June 2018) and the Chief Ombudsman’s NPM powers are set out in the Crimes of Torture Act 1989 (COTA) and the Ombudsmen Act 1975 (OA). The COTA gives effect to the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT), that New Zealand ratified in 2007.
The NPM function is one of the Chief Ombudsman’s functions. To find out more about his other delegations and powers, click here.Back to top ↑