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Ombudsman elected president of international body

Office of the Ombudsmen

Te Tari-o-Ngā Kaitiaki Mana Tangata

Media release

Ombudsman elected president of international body

New Zealand’s Chief Ombudsman, Beverley Wakem, has been elected president of the International Ombudsman Institute at a meeting of its board of directors in Bermuda.

Beverley Wakem, who was appointed Ombudsman in 2005 and Chief Ombudsman in 2008, is the third New Zealand ombudsman to become president of the international body since it was established in 1978. The late Sir John Robertson and Sir Brian Elwood have both also held this office.

Beverley Wakem says it is honour to take on the role in the organisation which is the only global organisation for the cooperation of more than 150 Ombudsman institutions.

“The fact that three New Zealanders have held this office is an acknowledgement of New Zealand’s high reputation internationally for the integrity of our institutions. We are trusted and seen as a safe pair of hands, as well as being innovative and imaginative and forward looking.”

She says election to the presidency reflects well on the Office of the New Zealand Ombudsmen.

“The work of my predecessors, our active role in the Australasia and Pacific chapter of the Institute and New Zealand’s reputation for transparency all played a part in my candidacy being well supported.”

Beverley Wakem says under her presidency, she will work to see membership of the body extended to some countries not now eligible.

“I would like to see more flexibility in our membership rules to allow the Institute to be more inclusive. It would be positive step actively to assist ombudsmen working in countries where they are not strictly independent of their government, but in all other respects are still acting with rigour to deal with complaints about actions taken by public administrators.”

ENDS

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