Tonga, New Zealand Ombudsmen Establish Close Working Relationship

Chief Ombudsman from NZ currently visiting Nuku'alofa

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Oct. 13, 2017) – New Zealand's Chief Ombudsman, Mr Peter Boshier, is visiting Tonga for three days, from 11-13 October to establish a close working relationship between his office and his Tongan counterpart, Tonga’s Ombudsman, ‘Aisea Taumoepeau.

Peter aims to persuade the New Zealand Parliament to finance the establishment of a part of his office to work closely with the Pacific Islands. “Doing training and secondment.” Peter meanwhile represent Tonga at the International Ombudsman Institute IOI.

Peter told a Press Conference that in late November he will attend the Australasian Pacific Ombudsman Regional Conference in Perth. “The wishes and the needs of the Pacific and Asia are fed through that conference to the International Body in Vienna.”

He said that the two Ombudsmen's roles were the same, but Tonga has a slightly different constitutional structure.


He was asked if the Ombudsman might also be Tonga’s Anti-corruption Commissioner.

In Tonga the position of an Anti-corruption Commissioner was established in 2007, but it has been vacant ever since. Tonga’s first Ombudsman, ‘Aisea Taumoepeau was appointed on 2 December 2016, and since then the proposition for the Ombudsman to also be the Anti-corruption Commissioner has resurfaced.

‘Aisea clarified that the proposal is not to merge the Anti Corruption Commissioner’s function with that of the Ombudsman. He said that the proposal is for the two systems to exist separately in the same office. “That is what is on the table right now”.

He said that there are lot of considerations going into the proposal. Firstly, because Tonga is very small. Secondly, the nature of the anti corruption legislation gives an Anti Corruption Commissioner only an investigative power. “It does not give him any other power, only investigative power. He will not have power to prosecute etc.”

‘Aisea said that the function of an Ombudsman to investigate complaints is going very well, so that kind of expertise can be easily adapted to the Anti corruption area. Because of the nature of the two areas it makes a lot of sense to do that.

“But they are not going to be merging to be just the same”.

Matangi Tonga Magazine
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