Ombudsman funding

February 16th, 2012 at 11:32 am by David Farrar

Adam Bennett in the NZ Herald reports:

The Office of the is in “crisis”, says the Chief . …

Appearing before Parliament’s government administration committee, Ms Wakem said the office, which investigates complaints from the public stemming from their dealings with central and local government, was under “considerable pressure” in terms of staffing and funding and had been for the past three years.

She said the office’s baseline funding had been established on the basis it would be actively working on 800 to 1000 cases at any one time.

At present it was dealing with about double that. The office had about 300 cases it was unable to work on because of a lack of available investigators.

Its workload had also been boosted by about 270 complaints stemming from quake victims’ dealings with the Earthquake Commission and Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority.

Ms Wakem said she had asked for about $1 million to be added to the office’s baseline budget of $8.6 million, so it could meet its operating costs and employ two more investigators.

The Office of the Ombudsman has a critical role in our Government. If the workload has increased as described, then there should be extra funding for the office.

There was a $550,000 boost in 2010 to their funding, so there has been some additional funding, but hopefully more will be provided in the 2012 budget.

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7 Responses to “Ombudsman funding”

  1. publicwatchdog (2,516 comments) says:

    Perhaps if New Zealand ‘peceived’ to be the ‘least corrupt country in the world’ (according to the 2011 Tansparency International ‘Corruption Perception Index’) had a legislative framework which provided GENUINE transparency – then there would less for the public to complain about?

    Penny Bright
    waterpressure@gmail.com

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  2. graham (2,332 comments) says:

    Perhaps if someone who claims to be a “public watchdog” didn’t:

    – advocate STEALING of power from the Auckland City Council
    – advocate STEALING water which you have not paid for (and indeed, demonstrate to others how to do it)

    you would be taken more seriously.

    Have a LOVELY day. :)

    PS you’re against rates increases, right? If EVERYBODY did what you advocated, and didn’t pay their water bill, and then proceeded to STEAL the water, how do you think the infrastructure used to provide that water will then be paid for and maintained? Gotta get the money from somewhere …

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  3. Elaycee (4,356 comments) says:

    “She said the office’s baseline funding had been established on the basis it would be actively working on 800 to 1000 cases at any one time.”

    I would expect that, if all frivolous / vexatious and WOFTAM ‘complaints’ that are generated by the usual ‘complainants’ were culled at the first opportunity, then the workload would reduce dramatically.

    Unfortunately, there are a small number of morons in our society who take it upon themselves to push doors marked ‘pull’…

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  4. KevinH (1,205 comments) says:

    DPF says:

    “The Office of the Ombudsman has a critical role in our Government. If the workload has increased as described, then there should be extra funding for the office.”

    I totally agree with that sentiment, an underfunded Ombudsman Office will inevitably lead to poor decisions, considerable delays, frustration and litigation which bogs the office down even more. The government should demonstrate more goodwill by funding this important office more adequately.

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  5. anticorruptionnz (212 comments) says:

    6 years ago I asked a simple question ” why does this private law enforcement authority not exist ”

    MAF had failed to check the existence of the animal welfare institute of New Zealand , which was given statutory powers of search and seizure and the ability to prosecute the public.The person completing the application had written the bill for the legislation and had advised on it. He then ran an SPCA type organization using council resources, staff and infrastructure to derive an income for himself.( banked into an account with a pseudonym , an account only he had access to )

    I did not mean to be a whistle blower but because I proved categorically that the organization did not exist and was nothing more than a fiction ,I was hauled through the courts .

    MAF have done nothing but cover their backs and those involved in 1999 are the same persons who now control the release of information and have gone all out to protect themselves withholding information , doing limited audits which had parameters set so as to avoid the fraud .

    When MAF had the results of the audit, the perpetrator wrote to them and demanded that this information was withheld from me , this information proved that I had not defamed any one . It took the ombudsmen 18 months to release these papers , during which time I battled the courts in an attempt to get justice. A time during which my Family was physically torn apart.

    I complained to the state services commission about MAF’s breach of code of conduct but MAF provide them with a version of events again collaborating with the perpetrator, this resulted in the state services commission choosing not to investigate.

    I have now obtained the report which was provided to the SSC and found the following statement proving that MAF have also influenced other government departments and ministers offices so as to control information ” Consequently, all correspondence from GH directly to the Minister, and all that referred to the Minister from the PM and other Ministers get transferred to MAF to manage and respond too.”
    How convenient .How nontransparent.

    While MAF was not able to investigate does appear to have clairvoyant tendencies because in September 2011 MAF knew about bankruptcy action which was not commenced until December . No evidence of any bankruptcy proceedings was available anywhere prior to mid December , proving that MAF is still collaborating with the perpetrator the very person who made a false application for approved status in 1999. see anticorruption.co.nz.

    The ombudsmen office is the only form of accountability we have , Government departments know the ombudsmen to be ineffective ( because they are so bogged down ) and Long serving government officials know the system, they are trusted and some abuse their trust and when they face retirement they have to go to all lengths to cover the errors or transgressions of their past .

    I suspect that my case, which is totally provable, is the tip of the ice berg of corruption in New Zealand but no one seems to be interested.

    As an investigator I use the equation Corruption = monopoly+ discretion- Accountability .

    Without an effective ombudsmen office there is no accountability .

    We silence those who speak up with court action in a civil jurisdiction which denies justice… you need only look up Law system a ‘laughing stock’ Anthony Molly QC has been speaking out on this for years. I fully support him.

    IF government departments were made more accountable and transparent and dealt with issues of integrity by means other than covering them up, the work load of the ombudsmen would be reduced and we may just win the battle against corruption

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  6. backster (2,141 comments) says:

    The Office is no different than other Government Departments and agencies, all have important work to do. If they can’t do it within budget they should review their processes and prioritize their work.

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  7. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Why were they not able to investigate a recent complaint against the parole board? The parole board seems to be above the law..Ironic that.

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