November 21, 2014
The Ombudsman has published his opinion on a complaint concerning the Police refusal to release information about a charging decision. The complainant wanted to know ‘how and why’ Police preferred a charge of careless use of a firearm over manslaughter, in relation to the hunting death of Alexander Cameron McDonald. The information at issue was ‘legally privileged’ and protected by section 9(2)(h) of the OIA, but the Ombudsman considered that the public interest required disclosure of a summary of the reasons. This would serve to increase the transparency of the decision-making process and promote accountability of the Police for their decision.You can read the full opinion here.
November 7, 2014
The Chief Ombudsman has released her opinion on a complaint about the manner in which the Horowhenua District Council investigated a councillor's alleged code of conduct breaches. Dame Beverley Wakem found that the Mayor and Deputy Mayor unreasonably failed to disqualify themselves from investigating the matter on grounds that they could be perceived to be biased. You can read the full opinion here.
October 22, 2014
The Ombudsman has released his opinion on a complaint about the NZ Fire Service’s decision to refuse a request for the NZ Localities dataset, unless the requester signed a licence agreement governing use of the dataset. Professor Paterson found that withholding an unlicensed copy of the dataset was necessary to avoid prejudice to the measures the Fire Service has in place to protect public health and safety, and to protect or mitigate against material loss to members of the public: “A conservative approach is prudent when considering the necessity of avoiding prejudice to measures that are designed to protect against potentially devastating consequences.” The public interest is met because the dataset is available free, provided the licence agreement is signed, and the licence requirements are not onerous. You can read the full opinion here.
October 22, 2014
The Chief Ombudsman has released her opinion on a complaint about the decision of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to withhold a preliminary list of buildings requiring structural review. Dame Beverley considered that release would unreasonably prejudice the commercial position of the building owners. She acknowledged the public right to know if buildings are unsafe, but found the list in question wouldn’t accurately reveal that. In addition, local authorities would publicly notify any buildings subsequently confirmed to be unsafe. You can read the full opinion here.
October 15, 2014
The Ombudsman's annual report for 2013/14, published today, shows the Office is making significant progress in effectively managing its work to make sure people are treated fairly. Read the full media release here.
August 7, 2014
The 2nd joint report of the independent agencies appointed to monitor the Disabilities Convention in New Zealand was launched today. The joint annual report is available here. The summary report is available here. You can view the Human Rights Commission sign language video here.
August 7, 2014
In its second report, launched today, the Independent Monitoring Mechanism of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities says proposed changes to building regulations are unnecessary and infringe disabled people's right to access buildings. You can read the joint media release here and the full report here.
August 7, 2014
In it's second report launched today, Independent Monitoring Mechanism of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities says health outcomes for disabled New Zealaners seriously lag behind the rest of the population and is unacceptable. Read the joint media release here and the full report here.
August 6, 2014
The Ombudsman has released his opinion on a complaint about the Inland Revenue Department’s (IRD’s) decision to withhold legal advice on outsourcing contact with taxpayers. The Ombudsman upheld IRD’s decision, noting that it was open to IRD to withhold the information because release would be contrary to its secrecy obligations under the Tax Administration Act, and because it was necessary to maintain legal professional privilege. You can read the full opinion here.
June 30, 2014
The Office of the Ombudsman's Statement of Intent for 2014-2018 has now been released and can be viewed here.
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