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  • Request for offender’s photo on police file

    Case notes
    Rape victim sought photograph of attacker whose face she had never seen—Police refused the request to protect the privacy of the offender—s 9(2)(a) applied—public interest in assisting victims of crime to recover from trauma and move on with their lives—balance of competing privacy and public interest considerations needed to be made—appropriate to make photograph available for viewing subject to appropriate conditions
  • Request for qualifications and work history of staff at Polytechnic Department

    Case notes
    Request for details about staff at Polytechnic—withheld under s 9(2)(a) to protect privacy—public interest in ensuring employment practices of Polytechnic are transparent and fair—met by summary release of staff details and selection process
  • Request for names and email addresses of people consulted on draft speech

    Case notes
    Recipients and senders of emails consulted—disclosure would not inhibit senior public servants from expressing free and frank opinions in future—however others would be inhibited
  • Request for ACC notice board bulletin

    Case notes
    Requester sought a copy of ACC notice board bulletin - bulletin contains commentary and advice on various court decisions - prepared by practising solicitor in his professional capacity - purpose is to give general legal advice to case managers who routinely request and rely upon it - refused under s 9(2)(h) - legal professional privilege applies - no waiver even though it was distributed widely amongst ACC staff - marked confidential and subject to privilege - no public interest in release that outweighed strong public interest in ensuring privilege is maintained.
  • Delays by Te Puni Kōkiri in responding to requests from opposition researcher

    Case notes
    Blanket policy to consult Minister on all OIA requests unlawful—Ministerial ‘clearance’ or ‘approval’ of agency OIA requests not permitted
  • OIA request extension notified outside time limit

    Case notes
    Request for large amount of information relating to tobacco control—extension to time limit for responding to request required—extension notified outside time limit in s 15A—deemed a refusal—no further investigation required as decision on request pending
  • Request by mother for copy of letter she viewed at her son’s family group conference

    Case notes
    Mother requested copy of letter she viewed at her son’s family group conference—refused under s 18(c)(i) because all FGC matters are confidential—s 38 of Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1989—disclosing letter to person who attended FGC does not amount to ‘publishing’ as prohibited by s 38—letter released with proviso
  • Request for comments on early draft cabinet papers

    Case notes
    Request for documents regarding Kyoto Protocol—information contained initial Treasury comments on draft versions of cabinet paper—part of informal consultation early in policy making process—concern that release would result in officials being less co-operative and formalise the process—withholding necessary to maintain effective conduct of public affairs
  • Request for NZSIS files concerning two NZ scholars

    Case notes
    Writer sought NZSIS files on two individuals—Refused under s 6—bulk of information had been provided by overseas authorities under strict confidentiality agreements—various agencies consulted—some consented to release whereas others did not—complainant agreed to contact overseas agencies directly—ss 6(a) and 6(b) applied—release contrary to agreement would compromise quality and supply of similar information in future which would prejudice NZ’s security—some information released with identifiers deleted
  • Request by Korean company for information relating to Ministry of Defence decision not to shortlist the company

    Case notes
    Solicitors for Korean based company sought information on Ministry of Defence’s decision not to shortlist company in tender process—Ministry argued solicitors were agent for company which had no rights under the OIA—evidence suggested company had a place of business in New Zealand—s 12(1)(e) applied
  • Request for electronic copies of Ministers’ official diaries

    Case notes
    Request for electronic copies of certain Ministers’ official diaries covering a three month period—electronic copies of the diaries held only in a particular software package not available to the requester—no obligation, under the OIA, for Ministers to provide electronic copy of the diaries in another software package—technical and administrative difficulties in providing electronic copies of the diaries—s 16(2)(a) of the OIA provides grounds to refuse to provide electronic copies of the diaries
  • Request for printed copies of Ministers’ official diaries

    Case notes
    Request for printed copies of certain Ministers’ official diaries covering a three month period—printed copies of the diaries released with certain names and contact details deleted—a Minister’s diary per se is official information but not all the i
  • Request for ingredients of Foray 48B

    Case notes
    Releasing ingredients of pesticide used in aerial spraying operation would disclose a trade secret—public interest in disclosure finely balanced—s 9(2)(b)(i) provided good reason to withhold
  • Request for Crown Law opinion

    Case notes
    Request for Crown Law opinion that Creative NZ referred to in correspondence—withheld under s 9(2)(h)—legal professional privilege attached to information—whether partial disclosure of contents of opinion sufficient to constitute waiver—s 9(2)(h) applied
  • Request for land exchange agreement and valuations

    Case notes
    NZDF exchanging land with private land owners under the Public Works Act 1981—OIA request made to NZDF for copies of the exchange agreement and valuations of respective properties—NZDF refused under s 9(2)(i)—Ombudsman noted majority of information in standard form and already publicly available—unable to identify ‘commercial activity’—rather transaction was for defence purposes within the terms of the Public Works Act—NZDF released the information subject to the withholding of some information under s 9(2)(j) and s 9(2)(b)(ii)
  • Request for information relating to an investigation into alleged destruction of documents held by NZDF

    Case notes
    Request for information relating to an investigation into alleged destruction of documents held by New Zealand Defence Force—information withheld to prevent prejudice to the outcome of those inquiries—s 6(c) applied at the time the request was refused—information later released due to change in circumstances
  • Request for information generated and held by NZDF prior to Queens Counsel Inquiry

    Case notes
    MP sought information relating to a letter held by NZDF—prior to responding to the request, Queen’s Counsel investigation into propriety of the letter began— Minister of Defence then refused request—enquiries revealed that NZDF had not identified what information fell within scope of request at time of refusal as inquiry already underway—OIA contemplates that a decision to refuse a request for information will be made with reference to the information itself—once inquiry concluded NZDF able to determine letter was only information at issue— NZDF submitted that letter was not official information because it formed part of inquiry— letter generated and held by NZDF prior to inquiry and for purposes unrelated to the inquiry—letter therefore ‘official information’—Minister agreed to review original decision and later released letter to complainant
  • Request for communications between Chief of Defence Force and Prime Minister

    Case notes
    MP requested information on the restructuring of the NZDF—two letters from the Chief of Defence Force to the Prime Minister regarding draft reports withheld under s 9(2)(g)(i)—distinction between substantive comment about draft reports and minor editorial suggestions—substantive comments were recordings of Chief of Defence Force’s free and frank discussions with Prime Minister—part of Chief of Defence Force role is to advise Prime Minister but he would not have reduced comments to writing if he had thought they would be made public—free and frank comments needed to maintain constructive working relationship with Prime Minister—s 9(2)(g)(i) applied to substantive comments but not to remaining information
  • Request regarding applications for consent to acquire specified property

    Case notes
    Request for information on existence of any applications for consent to acquire specified property—s 10 applied since release of such information likely to prejudice the commercial position of either the vendor or potential purchaser(s)
  • Request for breathalyser manual

    Case notes
    Requester sought breathalyser manual to aid his defence in court—manual provided to ESR in confidence for purpose of servicing and maintenance—manufacturer would withdraw manuals if released—ESR would no longer be able to maintain breathalyser, which would have a detrimental effect on New Zealand road safety—s 9(2)(ba)(ii) applied—manual only peripherally relevant to requester’s prosecution so no overriding public interest in release
  • Request for details of prison security system

    Case notes
    Prison inmate sought details of prison security system and name of company who installed it—release would be likely to prejudice the integrity of system
  • Request for information about an inmate’s whereabouts and rehabilitation programmes

    Case notes
    Written submission to Parole Board on potential release of an offender—submitter advised that inmate entitled to have access to her submission—submitter sought information about the inmate’s whereabouts and rehabilitation programmes—s 9(2)(a) applied—Department had already provided the requester with general information about types of courses and rehabilitation programmes available to inmates which met the public interest—In future Parole Board should advise persons making submissions that they could request that personal details be withheld from offender to protect their privacy
  • Request for transcripts of Prime Minister’s press conferences

    Case notes
    Opposition party requested transcripts of Prime Minister’s press conferences—refused—distinction between information imparted by the Prime Minister in her official capacity and information imparted by her in her capacity as Leader of the Labour Party—the former is ‘official information’ but the latter is not—s 2(1)—Prime Minister concerned that release of official information would inhibit free and frank comments to accredited member of the press—only accredited media representatives attend these press conferences but not restricted in their reporting—no good reason under the OIA for refusal
  • Request to Police for information regarding alleged threats made against Judge

    Case notes
    Request for information provided to Police concerning alleged threats made by person/s connected with the requester’s family—refused on the basis that disclosure would reveal identity of the informant—mixture of ’personal information’ and ‘official information’—joint investigation with Privacy Commissioner
  • Request for Crown’s projected figures, budgetary consequences and methodology relating to Treaty of Waitangi negotiations

    Case notes
    Journalist requested forecasts of settlement quantums prepared by OTS— request refused because release would prejudice or disadvantage Crown in carrying on negotiations—information contained details of projected figures and budgetary consequences of different settlement quantums and revealed OTS’s methodology for reaching these figures—disclosure would reveal OTS’s approach to negotiations and falsely give a top dollar figure available to claimants—Ombudsman satisfied Crown’s position in negotiations would be prejudiced by release—public interest in OTS’s transparency and accountability for negotiating with public money met by information already in public arena and made available to claimants during negotiation process—Ombudsman satisfied OTS entitled to rely on section 9(2)(j) to withhold information.
  • Request for details of expenditure by University for private residence of senior staff member

    Case notes
    Request for details of expenditure by University for private residence of senior staff member—request refused to protect privacy—privacy interest existed and needed protection—public interest in University being held accountable for expenditure of public money—balance of competing interests best met by release of approximate value of items purchased, together with contextual statement giving background information about the purchase
  • Request for draft state highway route options

    Case notes
    Request for draft state highway route options—public consultation to take place once options finalised—need for undisturbed consideration before consultation
  • Request for Fire Officer’s response to allegations

    Case notes
    Request for copy of Fire Officer’s written response to certain allegations made against him by requester and others—information subject to an obligation of confidence and likely to damage the public interest if made available
  • Request for early stage policy advice relating to paid parental leave

    Case notes
    Request for information relating to paid parental leave policy—information withheld to maintain collective ministerial responsibility, protect confidentiality of advice and free and frank exchange—in the circumstances no good reason to withhold
  • Request for minute from Chief of Air Staff to Chief of Defence Force

    Case notes
    Request for minute from Chief of Air Staff to Chief of Defence Force regarding return of aircraft to Samoa to uplift a civilian passenger—minute contained free and frank expressions of opinion—factual information and summary of opinions released—manner in which opinions expressed particularly frank—s 9(2)(g)(i) applied—public interest in release satisfied by release of summary
  • Request for details of Housing New Zealand’s top ten rental arrears by city or town

    Case notes
    Request for details of Housing New Zealand’s top ten rental arrears by city or town—Housing New Zealand considered release of information would prejudice negotiations to recover rental arrears—public interest in accountability outweighed need to withhold—information released