Parliamentary Officers Budgets Approved

by Desk Editor on Thursday, April 30, 2015 — 3:53 PM

Budgets for the Officers of Parliament have been approved though concerns have been expressed about funding for the Ombudsmen’s Office was not enough to cope with workload.

After Question Time one hour debate was held on a motion approving alterations to the appropriations for the 2014/15 financial year in respect of Vote Ombudsmen and the appropriations and information for the 2015/16 financial year in respect of Vote Audit, Vote Ombudsmen, and Vote Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Deputy Leader of the House Simon Bridges said the Officers of Parliament were important bodies whose budgets were set outside the usual process of other public sector agencies.

The Officers of Parliament Committee had approved a number of changes to the budgets of the Auditor-General, Ombudsmen’s office and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Small increases were proposed for to address a number of funding issues for the Auditor-General and Ombudsmen, there would be no change for the Environment Commissioner but a review of the latter’s baseline funding would be undertaken.

Labour’s Chris Hipkins said the increase of funding for the Ombudsmen was not enough to deal with the pressures the office was working under. There was a large back log of complaints which could not be thoroughly investigated without further funding.

A number of Opposition MPs spoke about delays in dealing with OIA requests and the inability of the Ombudsmen’s Office to deal with the pressure. A number of them warned the Government if the funding remained low, they would suffer when their time in opposition came again.

The motion was approved on a voice vote.

MPs began the third reading of the Immigration Amendment Bill (No 2).
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