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.
May 30, 2014
The autumn edition of the Ombudsman Quarterly Review is now available.
May 8, 2014
The Ombudsman has released his opinion on a complaint about the New Zealand Teachers Council’s refusal to register certain Early Childhood Education graduates, due to concerns about their English language proficiency. Professor Paterson found that the Teachers Council had not acted unreasonably. The opinion emphasises the importance of a registration body, such as the Teachers Council, being able to decline to register applicants who do not meet English language proficiency requirements. This is crucial for safeguarding the integrity of the registration regime and ensuring that graduates are competent to practise. You can read the full opinion here.
May 8, 2014
The Ombudsman has published his opinion on a complaint by a residents’ association seeking access to an interim investigation report by the Ministry of Primary Industries into a salmon mortality event in the Pelorus Sound. Access was sought to enable the residents’ association to participate in the New Zealand King Salmon Board of Inquiry.
The opinion gives detailed consideration to the commercial withholding ground, and also the infrequently relied upon ground for withholding information in order to avoid prejudice to the substantial economic interests of New Zealand. It also addresses the public interest in disclosure to enable effective public participation in the board of inquiry process. You can read the full opinion here.
May 1, 2014
The Ombudsman has released his opinion on a complaint about a secondary school’s practice of compulsorily charging for workbooks and other curriculum-related items. He found that the school had acted unreasonably, and contrary to the entitlement to free education under the Education Act. You can read Professor Paterson’s opinion here.
April 28, 2014
The Chief Ombudsman has released her opinion on a complaint about access to legal advice on parking tickets. Dame Beverley found that while the advice was legally privileged, there was a public interest in disclosure of a summary and public statement. It was not appropriate to “keep members of the public in the dark about [this] legal advice”. You can read the full opinion here.
April 23, 2014
The Chief Ombudsman has expressed concern to a select committee about a provision in the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Bill. Clause 275B vests absolute power in the government to restrict access to certain information on a register of information on the seismic capacity of buildings, which is inconsistent with the principles of the Official Information Act. You can read her submission here.
April 15, 2014
The Chief Ombudsman has expressed her considerable concern with a clause in the Environmental Reporting Bill in a submission to a select committee. Clause 16 of the Bill gives the Secretary for the Environment and Government Statistician absolute power to suppress access to information to be used in a state of the environment report. This clause is supreme and so overrides an Ombudsman's ability to access information. The Chief Ombudsman has urged the committee to remove the clause. You can read her submission here.
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