Resources and publications

Ngā rauemi me ngā tānga

Search guidescase notesopinionsreports and other information. Resources and publications can also be searched by date and other options. 

Use the search bar to make your search. Then use the filters to narrow down the results by resource type or topic. 

  • Tertiary Council appointments process controlled by Council

    Case notes
    Nomination for appointment to Tertiary Council pursuant to s 171(2)(f)(ii) Education Act 1989 required workers’ organisation to be consulted—Council refused to appoint organisation’s sole nominee and sought further nominations from organisation—appointment process stalled—alleged unreasonable failure by Council to consult—Ombudsman held consultation confers no rights on an organisation and that Council controlled appointments process
  • Department of Corrections required to state reasons for security classification

    Case notes
    Prison inmate complained that his security classification had been unreasonably assessed and Ombudsman concluded the Department failed to provide ‘strong reasons’ (which must be stated)—Ombudsman found the Prison officers had based their classification on uncorroborated, unrecorded, verbal statement made by another inmate—Ombudsman upheld complaint based on inequitable situation that would result if prison relied solely on this information, however, the inmate released before any recommendation could be made
  • ACC has responsibility to meet statutory obligations despite uncooperative claimant

    Case notes
    Refusal to compensate for alleged ‘wrongful action’ – independent review of case incomplete because of complainant’s behaviour—treatment and rehabilitation compromised by stand-off between claimant and Corporation—complaints sustained and recommendations made but rejected by Corporation—Accident Insurance Act 1998
  • Local Authority cannot call ‘workshop’ a meeting for purposes of LGOIMA

    Case notes
    Council Workshop—decisions not formally made—requirements of the Act cannot be avoided by calling a meeting a workshop—Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, s 45(1)
  • Accident Compensation payment backdated but delay to repay

    Case notes
    ACC claimant originally declined attendant care payment and review of decision found that claimant was entitled to payments and they should be backdated to 1983—ACC accepted review decision but payments not forthcoming. Claimant’s family complained to Ombudsman and ACC explained it was in the process of calculating amount owed and expected negotiations to begin shortly—Ombudsman kept informed on progress—meetings between ACC and claimant’s family occurred with final amount calculated and preparations made for payment to be forwarded upon appointment of claimant’s property manager—Ombudsman discontinued enquiries
  • Councils required to add to LIM matters on neighbouring property if relevant

    Case notes
    Purchaser requested LIM from Council on property he was considering buying—LIM received and property purchased—after purchaser gained possession he discovered neighbour had building consent to drain storm water into his drain—building consent not referred to in LIM report—purchaser sought removal of drain and records about drain, and reimbursement of legal costs—Council advised its practice was to note consents only on applicant’s file - Ombudsman held Council’s actions unreasonable—Council agreed to pay compensation
  • Failure by health funding body to honour undertaking by predecessor funding body to fund gender reassignment surgery unreasonable

    Case notes
    The Health Funding Authority (disestablished in 2001) was required to consider a complaint against its predecessor (Regional Health Authority) about an agreement by RHA to fund gender reassignment surgery—the RHA had initially agreed to fund this surgery but then changed its policy—the Ombudsman concluded that it was unreasonable for the RHA not to honour this undertaking on the basis of a subsequent change in policy and that its successor, the HFA should remedy the unreasonable actions of its predecessor—the HFA agreed with the Ombudsman’s recommendations to fund the gender reassignment surgery in the manner originally approved—as the HFA was by this time disestablished the matter was passed to the Ministry of Health for completion
  • Inland Revenue provided incomplete advice therefore was unreasonable to decline remission application

    Case notes
    Provisional taxpayer advised by IRD of date tax due—advice relied on was wrong—late provisional tax resulted in ‘Use of Money Interest’ imposed by IRD—remission sought on grounds that taxpayer relied on IRD advice—remission declined as advice considered to be correct on the basis of details originally provided by taxpayer—Ombudsman formed view that information provided by IRD was correct but incomplete therefore decision to decline remission application unreasonable—partial remission appropriate in circumstances
  • Department of Labour reasonable not to investigate accident of primary student on extra-curricular activity

    Case notes
    Primary school student training for cross country competition on mountain road struck by motor vehicle – training sanctioned by school as an extra curricular activity—OSH declined to investigate—father complained to Ombudsman—Ombudsman examined provisions of Health and Safety in Employment Act—satisfied that OSH had no jurisdiction to investigate as accident did not fall within the definitions of ‘place of work’ or ‘work’ in s.2(1) as occurred outside school grounds—Police investigation limited to criminal liability—Ombudsman identified no mechanism in place for ensuring accountability by schools in providing safe environment for students outside school gates—Ombudsman approached OSH, Ministry of Education and Minister of Labour about his concerns – Ministry confirmed it was developing policy to address this and agreed to keep Ombudsman informed—Ombudsman advised complainant he was satisfied OSH’s original decision was reasonable
  • Council should pay for cost of obtaining second legal opinion on straightforward matter raised by complainant

    Case notes
    Property owner disagreed with Council that resource consent was necessary for building house—Council sought external legal advice and billed property owner who refused to pay—Council went to Disputes Tribunal which ordered property owner to pay all legal fees and court costs—property owner complained to Ombudsman who considered legislation and found it to be unambiguous that both the operative and proposed district plans must be complied with—Council agreed issue was straightforward and was aware of legislation and relevant case law—Ombudsman did not consider it necessary for further advice to be obtained on issue—view formed that it was appropriate for Council to exercise discretion under s36(5) of Resource Management Act 1991 and remit charge—in circumstances, Ombudsman also considered it unreasonable for Council not to remit Court and solicitor’s costs payable pursuant to Disputes Tribunal order—recommended all costs be remitted
  • Child Youth and Family’s decision to remove child from care

    Case notes
    The Department of Child, Youth and Family (CYF), now Ministry for Children - Oranga Tamariki, agreed to apologise and reimburse couple’s legal fees following Ombudsman’s finding that CYF’s decision to decline custody of a child was unreasonable and then, when CYF acquiesced following the commencement of a court proceedings, CYF was unreasonable not to reimburse legal costs incurred by the couple
  • Medical Practitioners’ Disciplinary Tribunal outside Ombudsman’s jurisdiction

    Case notes
    Complaint about Medical Practitioners’ Disciplinary Tribunal decision to strike off a doctor and media coverage of the hearing—no jurisdiction to investigate—Ombudsman has discretion to investigate matters of administration with respect to the Health and Disability Commissioner’s investigation into the doctor’s medical practices but only if complainant has sufficient interest in the subject-matter of complaint and consent from the doctor
  • Board of Trustees fails to follow principles of natural justice at disciplinary hearing for expelled student

    Case notes
    Student excluded after initially caught hiding stolen property—at the disciplinary hearing the exclusion decision not based on this incident due to lack of evidence but on history of misdemeanours—parents complained that due process had not been followed in disciplinary process—Ombudsman found that at the disciplinary hearing by school the student had no reasonable indication that the student would be answering to an allegation of continual disobedience—complaint about Board of Trustees’ process sustained and Ombudsman recommended apology, reinstatement of student, and removal of exclusion from student’s records—the Board refused to act on recommendations although the student reinstated for other reasons
  • Department of Corrections revises guidelines on implications for visitors possessing drugs

    Case notes
    Prison banned inmate’s family members from visiting for 12-months after small amount of cannabis found in their possession—the inmate complained that the duration of ban was unreasonable but the Department of Corrections noted it had zero tolerance policy for drugs with an automatic 12-month prohibition order to be placed on anyone found with them on prison property—Ombudsman concluded blanket ban unreasonable and the Department agreed each case to be considered on merits and prepared guidelines for prisons—Ombudsman advised inmate to apply for a review of prohibition order under the new guidelines
  • Council agreed to purchase land containing toxic residue given that purchasers were unaware of site state

    Case notes
    Prior to availability of a LIM, property owners’ development of their land revealed previous use was illegal toxic waste dump—Council knew this prior to purchase but had taken no action to either assess or remedy the problem as a matter of public safety—Ombudsman concluded the Council had a responsibility to assist the complainants—Council then purchased the land with the intention of declaring it an ‘orphan site’ prior to assessment and clean up if necessary.
  • University Appointment processes should provide better information to applicants

    Case notes
    Unsuccessful applicant for a senior university appointment—alleged procedural unfairness—lack of clarity about processes and rights of appeal
  • ACC’s Advisory Committee Members cannot provide independent opinions on cases they then later consider

    Case notes
    Lack of independence alleged on part of medical expert—provider of independent advice also had deliberative role—perception of possible predetermination—complaint sustained and recommendation made—Accident Insurance Act 1998
  • ACC withheld document favourable to complainant’s case for review and accepted Ombudsman’s view that its service was inadequate

    Case notes
    Incomplete copy of file supplied—document favourable to claimant not revealed until after successful review—inadequate explanation offered—apology and remedial action instituted—Accident Insurance Act 1998
  • Immigration Service allows visa extension applicant to approach Minister where original visa granted as Special Direction

    Case notes
    Holder of eight week visitor’s permit applied for further visitor’s permit—application declined—original permit issued pursuant to special direction by Minister—NZIS had no discretion to grant further permit—applicant denied opportunity to approach Minister for further permit—NZIS agreed to allow applicant time to do so before instituting removal procedures
  • Health and Disability Commissioner unreasonably applied ‘gold standard’ when deciding on dental practitioner’s professional clinical standards

    Case notes
    Whether breach of professional clinical standards had been established—Health & Disability Commissioner (Code of Health & Disability Services Consumers’ Rights) Regulations 1996— whether Commissioner acted unreasonably in informing practitioner’s employer of alleged breach without first providing practitioner with adequate opportunity to respond—whether Commissioner unreasonable in failing to compensate practitioner
  • Immigration Service delay to seek refugee status information was reasonable

    Case notes
    Length of time taken to complete inquiries in relation to refugee status of complainant—NZIS had not caused significant delays—difficulties in obtaining crucial information—NZIS did not act unfairly or unreasonably
  • Department of Internal Affairs reviews requirement for ‘country of birth’ statement in passports

    Case notes
    Request that country of birth not be recorded on passport—format of passports determined by internationally agreed standards of International Civil Aviation Organisation—no capacity at present to produce non-standard passports—design of passports to be reviewed
  • Immigration Service fails to provide adequate information about nature of its investigation

    Case notes
    Immigration New Zealand allegedly unfair processing of refugee quota cases—INZ initially did not uphold complaint following own departmental investigation—complainant not satisfied his concerns were seriously investigated—Ombudsman found complainant should have been more fully informed of nature and extent of inquiries made
  • University Council cannot exclude public from meetings on basis of members needing ‘free and frank’ discussion

    Case notes
    Exclusion of public from part of meeting—adequacy of grounds for exclusion—free and frank expression of opinion not a sufficient basis to exclude the public—Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, s 48(1)(a)(ii)
  • Department of Conservation within rights on Memorandum of Transfer for land easement agreement

    Case notes
    Agreement for Sale and Purchase between private landowner and Crown—creation of equitable easement—registered Memorandum of Transfer creates legal easement but excludes reference to ‘members of the public’ referred to in equitable easement—whether conduct of Department of Conservation was reasonable—Ombudsman could not assist—effect of Court of Appeal decision
  • Superannuation Appeals Board reasonably relied on Crown Law advice

    Case notes
    Failure to give reasons for decision—reasons given in counsel’s written submissions adopted by Board—disclosure of reasons distinguished from merits of decision—Government Superannuation Appeals Board—Ombudsmen Act 1975—Government Superannuation Fund Act 1956, s 12(A)(2)
  • Ministry of Health decision not to respond to ‘open letter’ on baby food not unreasonable in circumstances

    Case notes
    Complainant wrote open letter to Ministry of Health expressing concerns about potential soy toxicity in baby food—no reply received—Ombudsman’s assistance sought—Ombudsman considered wording of letter—no specific information requested—Official Information Act did not apply—Ombudsman noted considerable correspondence on issue had already been exchanged between Ministry and complainant—open letter appeared to be a continuation of debate with Ministry—Ministry’s failure to respond unlikely to be unreasonable in the circumstances—Ombudsman exercised discretion under s.17(1)(b) Ombudsmen Act not to continue enquiries
  • Department of Corrections failed to meet requirements before placing inmate in restrictive regime

    Case notes
    Department of Corrections placement of inmate on restrictive regime designed for the most disruptive inmates unreasonable because criteria for placement not met—placement deemed unreasonable—inmate immediately returned to mainstream
  • Council offers ex gratia payment to complainant following its failure to provide correct information about dispute between neighbours

    Case notes
    Abatement notice issued in respect of non-complying structure—verbal agreement brokered by Council regarding acceptable modifications—modifications undertaken as agreed—other party to agreement disputed terms of agreement and withdrew—Council provided incorrect calculations regarding non-compliance—owner of non-complying structure incurred nugatory expenses—Council agreed to make ex-gratia payment to resolve matter
  • Department of Corrections applies prison visiting rules too rigidly

    Case notes
    Special family visit to inmate denied—decision contrary to Department's national standard—prison agreed to review its local instructions to ensure consistency with spirit and intent of national standard
  • Department of Corrections delays prisoner release when segregation order expired

    Case notes
    Delayed release from ‘precautionary segregation’—complaint upheld—implementation of computerised bring-up system to avoid recurrence of problem—no recommendation necessary