With the assistance of the Chief Ombudsman of New Zealand Judge Peter Boshier, Ombudsman Tearea was able to undergo an early week-long training in the Ombudsman’s Office in Wellington.
There were many areas or topics covered during the week-long training. He was allocated to various teachers for each topic covered. Some of the topics covered may be summarised as follows;
1. Overview of the organisational structure, organisational values and the Ombudsman’s role
2. People & Capability – Overview of the personnel management. We call it here Human Resource Management.
3. Information and technology
4. International relations and the Ombudsman organisation such as APOR and IOI .Analysis ofNew Zealand and Cook Islands Ombudsman Acts in terms of jurisdiction by Tracey Harlen. This included an overview of the New Ombudsman Bill of the Cook Islands.
5. Ombudsman Act complaint handling and best practices.
6. Jurisdiction and comparative analysis of New Zealand and Cook Islands Official Information Act
7. Overview of OPCAT – inspection of prisons and Police holding cell. Selected reports were also provided
8. Meeting and discussion with IPCA Chair Judge Colin Doherty on investigating complaints about the Police and the Cook Islands Police Act 2012.
9. Teleconference session on Disability Rights with Auckland based team. This was an overview on how disability rights work in New Zealand including training ideas, solutions and support.
Undoubtedly the expansive nature of the New Zealand Ombudsman Office with clear demarcation of different roles is very impressive. Understandably that was no comparison for our small Office here in Rarotonga. He enjoyed viewing the technology employed in the Office including Waka, Awa and their new website which at the time was still being tested. I was also impressed with the calibre of each and every staff employed in their various divisions in the Office. In addition, he was surprised by their budgetary process in that it goes direct to Parliamentary Select Committee for consideration as opposed to going through Budget Committee, Cabinet and then to Parliament in the Cook Islands.