Who is the Ombudsman?
The Chief Ombudsman is Peter Boshier. The Ombudsman has a unique role within New Zealand.
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What is the Ombudsman?
The Ombudsman is an independent Officer of Parliament. They are not part of the Government. The Ombudsman is appointed by Parliament to investigate complaints about public sector agencies.
Staff of the Office are not public servants and are independent from the government.
The word Ombudsman is Swedish and loosely translated means grievance person. Ombudsman is a gender neutral term. Dame Beverley Wakem was the previous Chief Ombudsman and there have been several women Ombudsmen.
Does it cost anything to complain to the Ombudsman?
No, an Ombudsman’s investigation is free.
Will a complaint be considered in private?
The Ombudsman, and all staff members, take an oath to keep confidential all information they become aware of in their work. Information will only be disclosed if this is necessary for the purposes of an investigation.
Who can make a complaint?
Under the Ombudsmen Act, anyone can complain to the Ombudsman about an act or decision of a government agency, including an individual member of the public, a group of people or a company, whether they are in or outside of New Zealand.
Anyone who is concerned about the response they have received to a request for official information can complain to the Ombudsman under the Official Information Act (OIA) or Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA).
Anyone can make a request for official information under LGOIMA.
There are some eligibility requirements for requests under the OIA. You need to be a New Zealand citizen or resident, or be in New Zealand, or be a corporate entity registered or with a place of business in New Zealand.
If a person isn't eligible to make a request for official information under the OIA, they can still request information from a government agency and a complaint can be made to the Ombudsman about the response. This is because the Ombudsman can investigate the reasonableness of the response by an agency under the Ombudsmen Act.
Where can I find out more about the Chief Ombudsman?
Read more about the Chief Ombudsman, Peter Boshier, below.