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A Question For The Ombudsman


Data from the Ombudsmen's Reports in recent years make interesting reading.

Between July 2000 and June 2003, a grand total of 1151 complaints were made to the Ombudsmen's Office from Hawke's Bay.

This is double the number one would expect for the province on a per capita basis.

There were 15,555 complaints from the country as a whole. The Hawke's Bay population (148,500) is 3.7% of the population of New Zealand (4,009,200). On that basis, there would have been not well over a thousand but just 576 complaints from the Bay.

The ombudsmen field a wide range of issues. It would be interesting to do an analysis to establish the full range of problems about which Hawke's Bay people are going to the ombudsmen, but my particular concern was with Napier City Council.

I found there were forty complaints to the ombudsmen from Napier City Council actions in the 2000-3 period. Such a number suggests that there are significant local body Napier issues needing attention.

I also found that the number of appeals is surprisingly consistent year in and year out. In most cities the pattern is of a bunch of appeals as some particular issue arises, which then die away to next to nothing as the concern in question is dealt with. But Napier keeps generating ten appeals every year - in answer to an oral question, I was told there were another ten in the year to June 2004, making fifty for 2000-04.

The implication is that the city's procedures need to be reviewed.


[Any queries to: Dr Robin Gwynn, email gwynnREMOVETHISBIT@paradise.net.nz]

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