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What the Ombudsman does

Ngā mahi a te Kaitiaki Mana Tangata

The Ombudsman handles complaints about and investigates the administrative conduct of public sector agencies, including official information requests.

They also carry out a range of roles that contribute to protecting your rights, such as monitoring places of detention, and implementing the UN Disabilities Convention. 

They provide advice, guidance and training to public sector agencies, and promote awareness of their role to the wider community.

Outside of New Zealand, they work across the Asia Pacific region to help develop international best practice.

What the Ombudsman can do - in two minutes

This video explains the role of the New Zealand Ombudsman. 


The Ombudsman helps people deal with central and local government in New Zealand.

They handle complaints about government agencies, seek resolution and carry out investigations and inspections.

They give feedback and guidance to agencies to help them improve, and initiate wider investigations where they see the need.

The Ombudsman is independent from both government and the public.

They have five main jobs:

1. Fair treatment by government agencies. If you think you have been treated badly by a government agency, and you aren’t happy with their response to your complaint, the Ombudsman might be able to help you.

2. Official information requests. You can ask for information from a government agency or a Minister. If you’re unhappy with the response to your information request, you can complain to the Ombudsman.

3. Listening to reports of serious wrongdoing. If you think someone at your workplace (at a public or private organisation) has done something very wrong, you can talk to the Ombudsman. This is called whistleblowing or making a protected disclosure.

4. Monitoring places of detention. The Ombudsman monitors places of detention such as prisons and mental health facilities, to make sure they are looking after people in the right way.

5. Making sure disabled people are treated fairly. The Ombudsman makes sure the government is making the rights in the Disability Convention real for disabled people.

You can find out more about what the Ombudsman does:

Protecting your rights

The Ombudsman doesn't just investigate complaints. They have a range of other roles that contribute to protecting your rights and ensuring that you're being treated fairly.

Serious wrongdoing at work (whistleblowing)

Monitoring places of detention

Fair treatment for disabled people

Improve fairness for all

The Ombudsman provides advice and guidance, offers training to public sector agencies, conducts outreach activities and speaking engagements.

Advice and training

Resources for agencies

International best practice

The Ombudsman provides support to international counterparts through training, advice and resource development.

New Zealand Ombudsmen have held key leadership roles in the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI).

The current Chief Ombudsman, Peter Boshier, is the incumbent president of the Australasia and Pacific region of the organisation.


The powers and functions of the Ombudsman are contained in five main pieces of legislation.

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