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Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier forced into retirement at 72 due to age limit law

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By RNZ

Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier is being forced to retire due to a 49-year-old law prohibiting him from keeping his post.

The Ombudsmen Act 1975 states an ombudsman “shall so resign his office on attaining the age of 72 years”.

Boshier turns 72 on March 16.

“The law is that I must resign from office upon reaching the age of 72,” Boshier said in a statement.

“As such, I advised the Speaker of my resignation last week.”

Members of retiring Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier's Māori advisory panel, Puhara Mana Tangata, (from left) Juscinta Grace, Jacob McGregor, Lady Tureiti Moxon, Peter Boshier, Dame Naida Glavish, (the late) Neville Baker, George Konia (kaumātua), and Arihia Bennett.
Members of retiring Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier’s Māori advisory panel, Puhara Mana Tangata, (from left) Juscinta Grace, Jacob McGregor, Lady Tureiti Moxon, Peter Boshier, Dame Naida Glavish, (the late) Neville Baker, George Konia (kaumātua), and Arihia Bennett.

Boshier has been Chief Ombudsman since 2015.

“I continue to serve at the pleasure of Parliament. The Rt Hon Gerry Brownlee and the Officers of Parliament Committee will manage the process for the appointment of my successor,” he said.

The Chief Ombudsman is one of three officers of Parliament independent from the executive. The other two are the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, and the Controller and Auditor-General.

Neither of those two roles has a mandatory retirement age.

Chief Ombudsmen are appointed on five-year terms, at the recommendation of the Officers of Parliament Committee, which is chaired by the Speaker.

The committee was aware of the section in the act containing the age limit when it recommended Boshier for reappointment in April 2020.

Before his reappointment, Boshier told the committee ― chaired by Trevor Mallard at the time — that his preference was a three-year term, ending about April last year. He then wanted to discuss and engage with the committee about future plans at that time.

But Adrian Rurawhe, who was Speaker in April, told RNZ the matter was not discussed by the Officers of Parliament Committee while he was Speaker.



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