October 13, 2015
The Chief Ombudsman has released a short statement on the High Court decison released earlier today about the Minister of Trade's decision on an OIA request for certain information relating to the TPPA. You can read the statement here.
September 25, 2015
The Ombudsman has published an opinion on a request for details of Ministry of Health staff working on vaccine approvals. The request had been refused under section 9(2)(a) of the Official Information Act 1982 in order to protect the privacy of natural persons. Section 9(2)(a) and section 9(2)(g)(ii) provided good reason to refuse parts of the requests, but the balance of the information ought not to have been withheld. You can read the Ombudsman's opinion here.
September 1, 2015
The Winter edition of the Ombudsman Quarterly review e-newsletter is now available.
August 19, 2015
The Officers of Parliament Select Committee today announced its recommendation that Judge Peter Boshier be appointed as Ombudsman from 10 December 2015, and that he undertake the role of Chief Ombudsman on the retirement of Dame Beverley Wakem later this year.
The Select Committee’s announcement can be viewed here.
August 13, 2015
The Ombudsman has released his opinion on a complaint about how the Ministry of Education managed the 2008 national school bus transport tender process. Professor Paterson concludes that the Ministry did not follow aspects of the process it had specified it would follow in the invitation for tenders ("the RFP"). Specifically, it failed to follow the appropriate process for notifying changes to the RFP, did not appropriately assess what were "acceptable" buses, allowed certain tenderers to bid for more bus routes than they were entitled to, and failed to treat one operator's bids for certain groupings as feasible through an inappropriate interpretation of the RFP. You can read the full opinion here.
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.
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