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  • Submission of the Ombudsmen - the Public's Right to Know

    The Ombudsman's submission on the Law Commission's Issues Paper 18 The Public’s Right to Know:  A Review of the Official Information Act 1982 and Parts 1-6 of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987
  • Request for correspondence between MP and Registrar of Pecuniary interests held by the Prime Minister

    Case notes
    Correspondence was subject to the OIA because it was held by the Prime Minister for official purposes—section 18(c)(ii) OIA did not apply—release by the Prime Minister, to whom the information had properly been disclosed, would not constitute contempt o
  • Charge for supply of Customs policy

    Case notes
    Full remission of labour component of the charge in the public interest—accessibility of policies and guidelines affecting persons
  • Annual Report 2009/2010

    Annual reports
    At the close of the 2009/10 reporting year we find ourselves in a similar position to the agencies we oversee: endeavouring to deliver more and better services with the same (or in some cases fewer) resources.
  • Request for criteria used by Council to determine whether or not to waive parking tickets

    Case notes
    Parking enforcement is a law enforcement activity not a commercial one—s 7(2)(h) does not apply
  • Request for policy advice behind merger of Archives and National Library

    Case notes
    Release of formal advice to Ministers about abandoned options after decisions had been made would not inhibit the free and frank expression of opinions by officials—s 9(2)(g)(i) does not apply
  • Investigation of the Department of Corrections in relation to an incident of self-harm at Christchurch Women’s Prison and the issuing of strip gowns to prisoners at risk of self harm

    Systemic investigations
    In July 2009, in accordance with the Protocol made pursuant to section 160 of the Corrections Act, I received notification from the Department of Corrections of an incident of prisoner self-harm that had occurred in the At-Risk Unit (ARU) of Christchurch Women’s Prison (CHWO).
  • Investigation of the Department of Corrections in relation to an incident of self-harm at New Plymouth Prison and the Department’s disposable safety razor policy

    Systemic investigations
    On 11 May 2009, the Department of Corrections instituted a new national policy on razor blades for prisoners. The purpose of the policy was to reduce the number of incidents involving razor blades. It applied to those prisoners accommodated in High Security, Remand and Youth Units. These prisoners would no longer be allowed to stockpile or keep issue razor blades. The aim of the policy was interpreted as intending to limit the opportunity for self-harm by misuse of razor blades.
  • Request for complaint against a health provider

    Case notes
    Privacy interest balanced against public interest in ensuring natural justice—public interest met by release of summary information
  • Request for tender submission pricing schedule

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(b)(ii) applies to detailed pricing schedule but not total price—strong public interest in disclosure of total price
  • Request for information about initiatives to end whaling in the Southern Ocean

    Case notes
    Release would jeopardise relations with other parties to IWC negotiations and prejudice their willingness to share information—s 9(2)(j) applies
  • Request for Cabinet paper relating to review of Overseas Investment Act

    Case notes
    Disclosure would prejudice orderly and effective conduct of ongoing advisory and decision making processes
  • Department of Corrections made errors in documentation but parole hearing set correctly

    Case notes
    Whether Department of Corrections staff failed complainant with respect to a Parole Board hearing—Ombudsman found errors in documentation but complainant not disadvantaged
  • Department of Corrections unreasonable to place prisoner with mental illness in mainstream unit

    Case notes
    Whether the Department of Corrections was unreasonable to place prisoner in mainstream unit given specific medical condition of mental illness—Ombudsman upheld complaint
  • Statement of Intent 2010/13

    Strategic intentions
    This statement of intent sets out the nature and scope of our functions, the strategic direction of our organisation, what we are hoping to achieve, and some key measures.
  • Requests by lawyer for information about client

    Case notes
    A proportion of the large volume of information at issue could fairly be characterised as ‘trivial’, bearing in mind the purpose of the request—this included auto replies, read receipts, undeliverable messages, emails arranging meetings and information generated to facilitate the proper processing of the requester’s OIA and Privacy Act requests
  • Request for reasons about unsuccessful reappointment

    Case notes
    Extent of detail required in response to s 23 request depends on circumstances of particular case – a requester may still have questions after they receive statement of reasons but that does not mean statement is inadequate – s 23(2A) only protects evaluative material that has been ‘supplied’ by someone else
  • Charge for supply of information about self-reported convictions of teachers

    Case notes
    Charge reduced on review—decision to charge news media requester not unreasonable
  • Request for information relating to Whānau Ora

    Case notes
    Disclosure while policy advice still under consideration by Ministers would prejudice ongoing decision making process—disclosure of inter-agency consultation would inhibit future expression of free and frank opinions by officials
  • Immigration New Zealand unreasonable to stamp person's passport when visa application declined

    Case notes
    Whether Immigration New Zealand (INZ) was reasonable to stamp words in a person’s passport when that person had been declined a residence visa application—Ombudsman concluded the stamp had no legal authority and the practice was unreasonable
  • Request for audit information regarding JobPlus scheme

    Case notes
    Draft audit report was identical to final audit report—no good reason to withhold the final audit report so no good reason to withhold the draft—good reason to withhold auditor’s informal and early working papers under s 9(2)(g)(i)—disclosure of the working papers would make auditors more circumspect in what they record, and when and how they record it
  • Request for Minister/Chief Executive discussions

    Case notes
    Disclosure of full record of recollection of discussion between Minister and Chief Executive would inhibit future expression of free and frank opinions—summary of recollection released
  • Request for taser camera footage (subject gave no consent to release)

    In this opinion, the subject of the taser footage did not give explicit consent to release the footage.
  • Request for auditor’s working papers

    Case notes
    Disclosure of auditor’s scoping discussions and working papers would make auditors more circumspect in what they record, and when and how they record it—good reason to withhold under s 9(2)(g)(i)
  • Local Authority unreasonably applied incorrect rates remission policy to sports club

    Case notes
    Local Authority - incorrect application of rates remission policy—sports club application for partial remission declined on wrong basis—Ombudsman sustains complaint
  • Civil Aviation Authority changes its investigation practices following Ombudsman’s findings

    Case notes
    Complaint about investigation by Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of a light aircraft crash—criticism of way CAA conducted investigation into the crash which resulted in 2 deaths—after O’s investigation, CAA accepted a likely cause was from a crack in a conrod (engine part) which appeared shortly after the engine had been reconditioned—O considered CAA should not have asked the reconditioning company for assessment and that CAA was unreasonable not to interview engineers during its investigation
  • 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 copy of competitor’s licence deed

    Case notes
    Ferry service operator requested copy of competitor’s licence deed from ferry terminal facility owner—request refused under s 7(2)(b)(ii) LGOIMA on basis release would prejudice commercial position of licensee—licensee argued that it had originally negotiated licence in atmosphere of complete commercial confidentiality with then port authority at a time when neither party was subject to LGOIMA—Ombudsman considered s 8 LGOIMA and s 75 Local Government Act 2002—neither Act contains transitional or saving provisions concerning information held by private bodies that later become subject to this legislation—request for such information should therefore be considered in same way as any other LGOIMA request—Ombudsman found no commercial prejudice likely and strong public interest in release—facility owner released information.
  • 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