Loosely translated, the word Ombudsman means “grievance person”. That's just what they are - the “go to” people if you’ve got a gripe with your school’s board of trustees, the ECQ, IRD, the ACC or any government department.
|Ref: A dispute amongst workers, AWNS-19080917-12-1, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
The Ombudsman’s office has widened its jurisdiction over the years from investigating complaints solely concerning central government to now including education, hospital boards, and local government. The Ombudsman staff can, under the Protected Disclosures (“whistle blower”) Act 2000 give advice if you’re planning a complaint against a department, and are also the folk who make sure prisoners are safe whilst incarcerated (Crimes and Torture Act). Right now, the office is dealing with a staggering upsurge in complaints – many of them against the ECQ following the Christchurch earthquakes.
|Ref: A dispute between a cabbie and a customer, AWNS-19101229-10-3, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
Author: Joanne Graves, Central Auckland Research Centre