August 12, 2015
The Ombudsman's Office has a vacancy for a Senior Advisor Disability Issues. This position is available in either our Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch office. Applications close 4.00pm, Tuesday, 25 August 2015. To learn more about the position click here. Applications can be made online via our website here.
July 27, 2015
The Ombudsman has released his opinion on a complaint about the refusal of the Police to release a ballistic evidence report commissioned by the Victoria Forensic Science Centre (VFSC) for David Bain's defence team in 1997. Professor Paterson held that the report was protected by section 9(2)(ba)(ii). The VFSC had undertaken not to divulge it other than to Mr Bain's defence team, and the Police were consequently bound by a duty of confidence. The fact that the VFSC appeared not to have observed their undertaking of confidentiality did not mean that the Police were free to disclose the information. There was a real risk that release of the report would be likely to undermine the public interest in maintaining confidence in the Police as an organisation that could be trusted to keep such information confidential. You can read the full opinion here.
July 17, 2015
The edition of ‘Fair Go’ broadcast on 15 July 2015 discussed changes to the ACC levy component of the motor vehicle licence fee that were introduced on 1 July 2015. ‘Fair Go’ said that complaints about the levy can be made to the Ombudsmen once attempts have been made to resolve the matter direct with ACC. If you have a complaint about the levy, you should first raise your concerns with ACC by:
- ringing ACC’s dedicated freephone number 0800 222 776; and/or
- writing to the VRR Specialist Team, ACC Business Service Centre, P O Box 795, Wellington 6140, setting out your name, contact number, plate number, make and model of your vehicle, any variants and registration renewal date; and/or
- emailing ACC at email@example.com
If this process fails to resolve your concerns, a complaint can then be made to the Ombudsmen and we will consider whether and, if so, how we might assist.
July 8, 2015
The Ombudsman has released his opinion on a complaint about the Abortion Supervisory Committee's refusal of a request for information about a Supreme Court judgment, and for information relating to harassment of medical staff and patients that was supplied to the Committee by a DHB. Professor Paterson held that s 9(2)(h) of the OIA did not apply to most of the information about the Court judgment, as legal professional privilege does not attach to correspondence which is merely a summary of the outcome of court proceedings. It was open to the Committee to refuse the request for information about harassment of medical staff and patients, as the information was subject to an obligation of confidence under s 9(2)(ba)(i) of the OIA, and release would be likely to prejudice the supply of similar information from other DHBs. You can read the full opinion here.
June 30, 2015
The Office of the Ombudsman's Statement of Intent for 2015-2019 has now been released and can be viewed here.
June 3, 2015
The Ombudsman has released a new case note about compensation for a passport processing error by Customs. The complainant had incurred costs of $1143 after Customs made a mistake processing his passport, which caused him to miss a flight. He had been offered only $200 in compensation. Customs accepted the Ombudsman's opinion that it should only pay the full costs incurred by the complainant. You can read the case note here.
June 2, 2015
The Chief Ombudsman has released her opinion on a complaint about Crown Law's refusal of a request for information about David Bain's claim for compensation. The case turned on whether the information at issue was "official information" or not. Information held by the Solicitor-General in his capacity as "Law Officer" of the Crown is not "official information" for the purposes of the OIA. You can read the full opinion here.
May 29, 2015
The Chief Ombudsman has released an opinion about the decision to withhold information relating to Wellington Regional Council's transport rate estimates. Dame Beverley held that certain background calculations used to create estimated Council expenditure on public transport services in the Wellington region were protected by section 7(2)(b)(ii) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act. Release of the material would unreasonably prejudice the commercial position of transport operators as their financial data formed part of the calculations. You can read the Chief Ombudsman's opinion here.
May 29, 2015
The Autumn edition of the Ombudsman Quarterly review e-newsletter is now available.
May 28, 2015
The Ombudsman has published a new case note about the withholding of advice provided to Ministers by the Overseas Investment Office. It contains some helpful information about how the Ombudsmen apply the “legal professional privilege” and “free and frank” withholding grounds. It also contains discussion about the public interest in people knowing how government decision-makers are interpreting and applying the law to make decisions that affect them personally. You can read the full case note here.
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