The Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier is visiting Auckland this week as he continues a series of targeted engagements in some of the regions hit hardest by recent extreme weather events.
Mr Boshier began his programme in Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay where he heard first-hand of the challenges the region is facing as a result of devastating flood and storm damage.
“My team and I benefited enormously from the face-to-face interactions we had with people in Gisborne, Wairoa, Napier and Hastings. We met with a wide range of community leaders, iwi leaders, local mayors and chief executives of councils.
“We were also very pleased to be able to offer advice about what the Ombudsman can do to help them in this very trying time. One of my most important tasks is to make sure government and councils are responding to requests for official information according to the law.
“Rather than working in Wellington, we made the decision to go out to communities to talk about our work and to see things first hand - kanohi ki te kanohi. What I’ve seen and heard has given me a really good basis for the future.
“I am now speaking face-to-face with Auckland civic leaders and iwi and community organisations so I can understand the issues and concerns facing them as well.”
In Auckland, Mr Boshier will meet Auckland Council chief executive Jim Stabback, Ngāti Whātua, disability rights organisations and various community agencies including Community Law.
“As well as offering advice and guidance on how to make good decisions that affect people, my team and I are looking forward to learning about the issues and challenges following the recent floods. This will inform my office’s strategic planning and prioritising.
“The programme will also help us get ahead of an anticipated spike in complaints. It will assist in our engagement with people who may need my Office by making them aware of what the Ombudsman can and can’t help them with.
“Some issues are outside of my jurisdiction and there are certain situations where I don’t have the power to investigate a particular agency. I’ll be in a good place to explain that once I have more detail.”
Peter Boshier plans to continue his engagement and outreach programme in Coromandel and Northland in the coming months.
Source: National Ombudsman New Zealand