The Ombudsman is a government office that deals with complaints regarding the acts and decisions of government agencies. They also address complaints about Official Information Act requests. They are impartial, and provide the major means by which complaints about the government are addressed in New Zealand.
Although it is recommended that complaints about prisoners be directed to the Inspector of Corrections first, the Ombudsman does investigate complaints about the Department of Corrections. More than 31 percent of contacts made with the Ombudsman last year were from prisoners or prisoner advocates, and the Ombudsman is a key resource for anyone with an issue relating to the conduct or decisions of the Department of Corrections.
The Ombudsman’s office has an impressive rate of resolution for complaints, but it should be noted that they are currently dealing with a backlog of complaints, largely owing to a sharp increase after the Canterbury earthquakes. This may mean that responses from the Ombudsman are slower than they should be until sometime in 2015.
This fact sheet explains what the Ombudsman does and doesn’t do, and how to go about making a complaint to them. Read it here.