Monday, June 24, 2024

Chief Ombudsman’s weather outreach programme winds up

Chief Ombudsman, Peter Boshier, will wrap up his extreme weather outreach and engagement programme in West Auckland and Coromandel this week.

Mr Boshier and his team have visited the East Coast, Wairoa, Napier, Hastings, Hawke’s Bay, Northland and Auckland, where they met with iwi, local authorities, community leaders, and organisations involved in helping people and regions rebuild their lives.

“I am now headed to Piha, Karekare, Muriwai and the Coromandel,” Mr Boshier says.

“These coastal communities were hit very hard earlier this year with widespread flooding, slips and landslides, causing power outages and the closure of entire roading networks. Vital infrastructure and people’s homes and livelihoods were destroyed. Tragically, in Muriwai, two volunteer firefighters lost their lives.

“I will be speaking to people and community leaders who experienced the devastation and who are still trying to get their lives and communities back on track.

“It’s all about seeing and hearing things with my own eyes as well as offering support and advice about the extent to which the Ombudsman can assist during these challenging times. This is critical to the way I will go about investigating future extreme weather-related complaints. These engagements also form a key part of my strategic planning.”

The Chief Ombudsman says he will also be reminding local authorities of their legal obligations around official information requests.

“People in the recovery phase may have questions and concerns about the civil defence preparations made by local and central government, the speed of their response to the disaster or the policies put in place to help regions recover,” he said.

“The public’s right to information at these times of extreme stress and uncertainty is paramount. People have a right to know how and why decisions that affect them are made and they have a right to receive this information in a timely manner.”

The Chief Ombudsman’s programme runs from Monday 25 – Wednesday 27 September. He will meet with a range of community groups, Ngāti Maru, Thames CAB, the Thames-Coromandel District Council and the Auckland Council cyclone recovery office.

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