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  • Request for names of staff involved in sending email to parents about Pink Shirt Day

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA applied—correspondence with the requester and information supplied by the New Zealand Police suggested the requester would approach the staff outside of the official complaints process, and may have behaved in an abusive and threaten
  • Cancellation of transport card and refusal to refund money stored on the card

    Case notes
    A complaint was made against Auckland Transport (AT) about its cancellation of an ‘AT HOP’ card used by commuters on Auckland’s public transport system.
  • Department of Corrections unreasonably declines computer access to inmate

    Case notes
    Access to computer suite in prison denied—Ombudsman found this unreasonable—Corrections agreed to reconsider the inmate’s request and to review criteria for use—also that computer facilities at prison be reviewed to ensure availability to prisoners who meet criteria for assistance with litigation
  • Department of Corrections not unreasonable to decline face to face interview between prisoner and journalist in particular case

    Case notes
    Prisoner requested face to face interview with journalist—request declined—Ombudsman noted journalist had offered to conduct interview by AVL, notwithstanding preference for face to face—Ombudsman concluded that on this basis Department had not acted unreasonably in this instance
  • Local Authority’s efforts to mitigate effects of resource consent errors not unreasonable

    Case notes
    Local Authority decision about wall constructed on boundary—Council erred by not requiring resource consent and then offered assistance to owners to lodge application—complainant considered Council unfair not to offer assistance to him to oppose the consent
  • Local Authority’s Code of Compliance Certificate on drainage reasonable in circumstances

    Case notes
    Local Authority decision on detection of cross connection piping problem not unreasonable—Body Corporation of building forced to pay costs—question whether Code of Compliance Certificate should have been issued—Ombudsman concluded Council not aware of problem
  • Regional Authority decision on resource consent for pergola on non-notified basis not unreasonable

    Case notes
    Regional Authority’s decision to grant resource consent for a pergola on a non-notified basis was reasonable in the circumstance—permitted baseline test under section 95E of the Resource Management Act 1991
  • Local Authority’s Trespass Notice unreasonable in circumstances

    Case notes
    Local Authority issued Trespass Notice for two years at sports stadium—Ombudsman noted serious misconduct on part of complainant to warrant action but trespass sanction extreme—complaint sustained and Council implemented Ombudsman’s recommendations
  • Local Authority did not act unreasonably in remedying damage following tree removal

    Case notes
    Local Authority—removal of two pohutukawa trees—Council agreed to mitigate loss of these in conjunction with the land owner—Ombudsman considered Council did not act unreasonably
  • Local Authority unreasonably failed to consult with residents about building relocation

    Case notes
    Local Authority allowed relocation of building without providing for adequate consultation process with the local community—Ombudsman upheld complaint
  • Request for information about an employment investigation (personal grievance)

    Case notes
    Privacy and confidentiality grounds apply but need for accountability when things go wrong— seniority of the individuals involved—extent of information in the public domain—other means of scrutiny and regulation—third party review satisfied the public interest in this case
  • Request for information about an employment investigation (withholding grounds)

    Case notes
    Privacy and confidentiality grounds applied—need for accountability when things go wrong— extent of information in the public domain—need to provide the ‘full picture’—nature and seriousness of the wrongdoing¬—whether other means of scrutiny or regulation—release of summary information to satisfy public interest
  • Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over District Council electoral officer

    Case notes
    Jurisdiction—Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over Council electoral officer—electoral expense returns not subject to Local Government Information and Meetings Act 1982
  • Local Authority unreasonably failed to provide information on LIM

    Case notes
    Local Authority failed to provide information in a Land Information Memorandum(LIM) about outstanding capital contribution for a sewer—Ombudsman considered Council acted unreasonably—Council made payment to complainant in resolution of complaint
  • Request for performance reviews of ACC third-tier managers

    Case notes
    Request for performance review information of two ACC employees holding third-tier management positions—s 9(2)(a) applied—requester believed ACC granted bonuses to employees who exited claimants from ACC scheme—public interest in release of generic information about ACC performance management process
  • Request for public submissions made on a discussion document

    Case notes
    Request for copies of submissions made to Department of Conservation on a discussion document—submissions released with identities of authors deleted under s 9(2)(a)— no reference to possible release in discussion document—authors were a mix of individuals, government officials and organisations—identities of those making submissions on behalf of organisations and government officials released as not made on personal basis—individuals consulted—identities of those who consented to disclosure were released—s 9(2)(a) applied to remaining information—no public interest favouring release
  • Council agrees to provide building consent at no cost

    Case notes
    Couple’s spouting on outbuilding needed to be replaced—City Council advised that a building consent was required—complaint made that this was unreasonable—officials met onsite to examine outbuilding and property—an already approved storm water drain was identified and Council agreed to issue building consent at no cost to couple—complaint resolved
  • Councils cannot act without proper authority regarding water usage charges

    Case notes
    Council installed water meter on landowner’s property so that water charges would be based on quantity used rather than flat domestic rate—owner complained that he was not consulted and there was no evidence that he was using water indiscriminately—Ombudsman reviewed legislation empowering Council to impose charges—legislation required Council resolutions – none passed—Council acted without proper authority—levies refunded and domestic rate reinstated
  • Councils advised to keep information for resource consents until all appeals exhausted

    Case notes
    Grape grower sought transparencies used in Council hearing for resource consent—Council had destroyed transparencies in accordance with 15 year practice on basis that the information was generic—Council created new transparencies with same information—grape grower alleged the information was not the same as on the originals—Ombudsman unable to compare the two —Council agreed to change practice and retain information used in hearings until all appeals exhausted
  • Request for membership lists submitted by political parties registered with the Electoral Commission

    Case notes
    Request for membership lists submitted by political parties registered with the Electoral Commission—request refused under s 9(2)(a)—New Zealanders generally regard support for a particular political party as a matter of personal privacy—s 9(2)(a) applied—in the absence of any argument that the Commission was not discharging its statutory functions in a reasonable manner, there was no case for wider disclosure of membership lists in the public interest
  • Request from journalist for psychological state of deceased inmate

    Case notes
    Request from journalist for psychological state of deceased inmate—information withheld under s 9(2)(a)—information released to next of kin
  • Request for address list of members of university council

    Case notes
    Request for address list of members of university council—addresses withheld in reliance upon s 9(2)(a)—some members did not wish disclosure of private addresses—privacy accepted in those cases—public interest in members of the public being able to communicate directly with the elected members of the university council—public interest met by university undertaking to forward correspondence addressed to council members at the university
  • Request by non-custodial parent for access to child’s school reports

    Case notes
    Request by non-custodial parent for access to child’s school reports—child specifically asked that reports be withheld—reports addressed to student and caregivers—relevance of s 77 of the Education Act 1989 to public interest considerations—good reason to refuse under s 9(2)(a) but short statement provided to non-custodial parent to the effect that there was nothing which required reporting in terms of the Education Act
  • Local Authorities not obliged to adopt narrow user-pays approach when setting rates

    Case notes
    Complaint concerned a service provided by local authority for which a rate was levied—believed as he did not benefit from it, his rates liability should be adjusted—Ombudsman concluded ratepayers cannot expect the level of services/benefits will reflect precisely the rates paid
  • Local Authority unreasonable to allow change to Management Plan without public notification

    Case notes
    Local Authority administering a park, agreed to a non-notified change in its Management Plan and allowed a sports club to expand its building at the park—local resident objected to lack of public consultation—Ombudsman found vague reference in the Plan to sport’s club hoped to expand its facilities, but given the scale and nature of the proposed building, the Local Authority’s decision not to notify a change to the management plan was unreasonable—Authority agreed with decision and commenced notification process
  • Council’s authority to levy Harbour Facilities Charge expired

    Case notes
    Imposition of ‘harbour facilities charge’—bylaw made pursuant to legal authority which had expired—s690A Local Government Act 1974, ss 33 and 427 Resource Management Act 1991