Request for information held by Radio New Zealand relating to political coverage in lead up to General Election

Commercial
Legislation:
Official Information Act 1982
Section 9
Legislation display text:
Official Information Act 1982, ss 9(2)(b)(ii), 9(2)(i)
Agency:
Radio New Zealand Ltd
Ombudsman:
Sir Brian Elwood
Case number(s):
W38510
Issue date:
Language:
English

Request declined on grounds of commercial prejudice—commercial prejudice not made out—discussions with requester led to satisfactory solution—requester allowed to inspect information

The representative of a political party which participated in the 1996 General Election sought information from Radio New Zealand Ltd relating to monitoring conducted by the company of its coverage of the political parties in the run-up to the election. The company declined to release the information on the grounds that it was commercially sensitive. It argued further that release might result in pressure being brought to bear on it by political lobbyists. Its objection was considered in terms of sections 9(2)(b)(ii) and 9(2)(i) of the OIA, but not accepted.      

The company accepted that its reasons to withhold the information were not strong. In the circumstances, it decided to explain its concerns frankly to the requester. The requester noted the problems apprehended by the company, and accepted its offer to be allowed to inspect the information without copies being provided.    

This case note is published under the authority of the Ombudsmen Rules 1989. It sets out an Ombudsman’s view on the facts of a particular case. It should not be taken as establishing any legal precedent that would bind an Ombudsman in future.

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