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  • Report on an unannounced inspection of Whanganui Prison - 4 September 2018

    OPCAT reports
    The following report has been prepared in my capacity as a National Preventive Mechanism under the Crimes of Torture Act 1989 (COTA). My function under the COTA is to examine and make any recommendations that I consider appropriate to improve the treatment and conditions of detained persons in a number of places of detention, including prisons. This report examines the treatment and conditions of persons detained in Whanganui Prison.
  • Request for information about staff grievances and allegations of bullying

    Opinions
    Sam Sherwood, on behalf of Stuff, made a request to Selwyn District Council for information about staff grievances and allegations of bullying.
  • Request for business plan for Christchurch Convention and Exhibition Centre

    Case notes
    Competitors could copy or adopt third party’s methodology and strategy and devise plans based on its established operating systems which would unreasonably prejudice its commercial position—information subject to an explicit obligation of confidence and of a confidential nature—release would damage the public interest by making suppliers reluctant to participate in future procurement processes
  • Request for draft report prepared by PwC on Auckland Stadium

    Case notes
    Report refused because it was in draft form and commercially sensitive—parts of report withholdable however no basis for blanket withholding—strong public interest in release of report in part
  • Report on an unannounced follow-up inspection of Christchurch Women's Prison - 4 April 2018

    OPCAT reports
    In 2007, the Ombudsmen were designated one of the National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) under the Crimes of Torture Act (COTA), with responsibility for examining and monitoring the general conditions and treatment of detainees in New Zealand prisons.
  • Request for draft guidelines on religious instruction and observance in schools

    Case notes
    Officials still in the process of drafting—premature disclosure in advance of the planned public consultation process was not in the overall public interest
  • Report on an unannounced inspection of Arohata Upper Prison - 21 March 2018

    OPCAT reports
    The Upper Prison was facing considerable challenges. Resources, infrastructure and staffing were under pressure, which was compounded by the geographical separation from the administrative centre at Tawa. Day-to-day operating systems and arrangements for dealing with women were not fully embedded. Reception and induction processes were poor, and information for foreign prisoners was not available. Significant delays in access to personal property were a source of frustration for many women, reflected in the growing number of complaints and misconducts.
  • Request for emails between MP and university researchers

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(ba)(i) OIA did not apply—no obligation of confidence—information voluntarily supplied with no reference to confidentiality—release of ‘benign’ information with the consent of the supplier would not be likely to prejudice the future supply o
  • Request for draft reports prepared by EY on Information Services

    Case notes
    Draft reports were in fact final reports—some information publicly available—negotiations had been concluded—neither s 7(2)(c)(ii) nor s 7(2)(i) apply—significant public interest in release to promote transparency of Council’s decision making processes and accountability for expenditure of ratepayer money
  • Immigration New Zealand’s decision to issue Deportation Liability Notice unreasonable in circumstances

    Case notes
    Immigration New Zealand (INZ)’s decision to issue a Deportation Liability Notice (DLN) was unreasonable—compliance officer inferred situation that complainant was then not given an opportunity to explain—Ombudsman sustained complaint—INZ restored immigration status to complainant with open conditions
  • Request for Skypath business case and procurement plan

    Case notes
    Releasing business case and procurement plan would unreasonably prejudice the commercial position of the private partner in a public private partnership—withholding strengths and weaknesses of negotiating position necessary to enable Council to carry on negotiations without prejudice or disadvantage—ss 7(2)(b)(ii), 7(2)(c)(i), 7(2)(i) apply
  • Request for draft venue development strategy

    Case notes
    Draft venue development strategy prepared by consultant—refused because commercial and confidential—analysis preliminary and high-level—s 7(2)(f)(i) applies—public interest requires disclosure of a summary statement
  • Request for draft internal review of International Visitor Survey

    Case notes
    Internal review still in draft form—redacted comments comprised preliminary views of individual within agency—s 9(2)(g)(i) applied—no overriding public interest in disclosure
  • Department of Corrections staff to follow legislative requirements when segregating inmate

    Case notes
    Department of Corrections held prisoner in Management Unit without following required procedure—segregation legislation and regulations are clear and prescriptive
  • Request for staff named in emails about genetically modified corn

    Case notes
    Section 6(d) OIA did not apply—no real and objective risk of danger to safety—s 9(2)(g)(ii) OIA did not apply—many of the names were already publicly available in connection with this issue and no harm had ensued—section 9(2)(g)(i) OIA did not apply—inf
  • Request for public submissions on draft standard

    Case notes
    Members of the public with a vested interest in developing standards would not be deterred from expressing their opinions in future
  • Request for Hazardous Activities and Industries List

    Opinions
    On 4 September 2008 Mr Sharpe sought from the Council “details of the 3099 ‘Unverified HAIL’ sites in the region, i.e. their location and the activity/industry that are known to have the potential to cause land contamination”.
  • Request for report on DHB governance issues

    Case notes
    Disclosure of report at time of request would have inhibited expression of free and frank opinions by officials—but passage of time and change in circumstances had diminished the likelihood of such prejudice—senior public servants would not be inhibited from expressing free and frank opinions in future
  • Immigration New Zealand’s advice to Associate Minister of Immigration unreasonable

    Case notes
    Immigration New Zealand (INZ)—misleading and inadequate advice provided to Associate Minister of Immigration
  • Immigration New Zealand officials’ poor record keeping resulted in unreasonable intervention in appeal process

    Case notes
    Immigration New Zealand (INZ)—incorrect advice given to complainant based on misunderstanding of complainant’s situation—misunderstanding caused by lack of proper record keeping by INZ—failure to refer complainant to her legal advisor before she made a significant change to her immigration situation—removal order cancelled, person returned to NZ with ongoing permits
  • Immigration New Zealand unreasonable to stamp decline in passport

    Case notes
    Immigration New Zealand unreasonable to stamp passport to show application was declined when no legal authority for this practice
  • Department of Internal Affairs accepts process cancelling citizenship managed unreasonably

    Case notes
    Complaint about decision of Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) to de-register complainant’s NZ citizenship by descent - complainant adopted in India by uncle who was NZ citizen - adoption considered to be a ‘recognised overseas adoption’ and complainant was registered as a citizen by descent in October 2002
  • Request for research data held by Crown Research Institute

    Case notes
    Research data subject to clear confidentiality assurances—some farmers would be reluctant to participate in similar trials if released—s 9(2)(ba)(i) applies
  • Request for list of all strategic goods exported from New Zealand

    Case notes
    Request for list of all strategic goods exported from New Zealand—some information provided but name of exporter and value before tax of strategic goods withheld—9(2)(ba)(i) applied—residual issue of public accountability resolved following inquiries under s 13(3) of the Ombudsmen Act 1975—MFAT agreed that in future, it would disclose in its annual report the statistics it had previously made available only on request
  • Request for details of out-of-court settlements and costs

    Case notes
    Request for details of out-of-court settlements and costs—ss 9(2)(ba)(ii) and 9(2)(j) found to apply—no countervailing public interest
  • Request for names of ‘eminent New Zealanders’ consulted during preparation of Intelligence and Security Agencies Bill

    Case notes
    Request for names of ‘eminent New Zealanders’ who were part of the consultative process in preparing the Intelligence and Security Agencies Bill—request refused under s 9(2)(g)(i) —individuals consulted—in respect of those who advised that disclosure would inhibit them from giving free and frank advice to the Government in future, section 9(2)(g)(i) applied—need to withhold outweighed by countervailing public interest
  • Prison unnecessarily holds inmates in secure unit

    Case notes
    Placement of minimum secure inmates in maximum security conditions
  • Request for details of out-of-court settlement of a personal grievance

    Case notes
    Request for terms of settlement and amount paid—out-of-court settlement—s 9(2)(ba)(ii) applied—no countervailing public interest
  • Request for name of person/s who made statement to reporter

    Case notes
    Request for name of person/s who made statement to reporter—refused under s 9(2)(ba)—‘newspaper rule’—name/s of informants went to very heart of the rule—no public interest considerations which outweighed need to withhold
  • Request for information disclosed during confidential Ministerial briefing to sector group

    Case notes
    Request by Opposition for information disclosed during confidential Ministerial briefing to sector group—s 9(2)(g)(i)—effective conduct of public affairs—public interest balancing—accountability—need for transparency in Minister’s dealings with financial sector
  • Request for information relating to the setting up of the Special Committee on Nuclear Propulsion

    Case notes
    Request for information relating to the setting up of the Special Committee on Nuclear Propulsion—given the sensitivity of the nuclear propulsion issue and the context in which the information had been generated, the withholding of the information was necessary under ss 9(2)(f)(iv) and 9(2)(g)(i)—at the time of the review the balance of public interest favoured withholding the information requested—the overall public interest was better served in allowing the Special Committee to complete its review in an orderly manner
  • Request for Court Registrar’s report

    Case notes
    Report on aborted trial released with deletions—‘free and frank expressions of opinion’ by Registrar—no public interest override