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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 ERO review

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(ba)(i) OIA applied to information obtained from participants in review—express obligation of confidence—release would be likely to prejudice the future supply of information by participants—it is in the public interest for ERO to receive co
  • Local Authority excludes public from meeting when agenda item about water issues

    Case notes
    Complaint about a Local Authority (the Council) to exclude the public from a part of its Audit and Risk Committee meeting regarding its discussion of agenda item relating to water quality and water restriction issues—insufficient weight was given to the public interest in the subject matter of the agenda item
  • Request for corporate culture information contained in bus tender submissions

    Case notes
    Competitors could use the information to compare and refine their own submissions, potentially reducing the successful tenderers’ competitive advantage in future tender rounds—this would be likely unreasonably to prejudice the commercial position of the successful tenderers— s 7(2)(b)(ii) applies—public interest in accountability for the Council’s decision required release of a summary statement
  • 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
  • Request for cost of digital and touch wall at new Christchurch Library

    Case notes
    Release would undermine supplier’s negotiations with other buyers which would unreasonably prejudice its commercial position—public interest in disclosure of information regarding Council expenditure outweighs withholding interest
  • 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
  • Request for cost of fees paid to a law firm

    Case notes
    Release of total fees would not unreasonably prejudice third party’s commercial position
  • 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 expenditure on goods and services provided by Palantir Technologies

    Case notes
    Release of total cost would not unreasonably prejudice third party’s commercial position—public interest in accountability for spending public money
  • Early resolution of a potential water restriction to a family home

    Case notes
    A family received notice that an agency would be severely restricting its water supply because of an overdue account. Once the Ombudsman became involved, the agency reviewed its accounts and realised it was in error. On the Ombudsman’s request, the agency apologised to the family and committed to reviewing its accounts more carefully before advising of possible water restrictions. From complaint to resolution, the issue was resolved in only 12 working days without the family suffering water restrictions.
  • Administrative error leading to loss of opportunity to name a road

    Case notes
    In mid-2016, the owners of land containing a private road became aware that Kaipara District Council (the Council) had excluded them from a consultation process that it had initiated among residents earlier that year to determine a name for the road.
  • 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
  • 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 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
  • Local Authority fails to include relevant information on a Land Information Memorandum

    Case notes
    Local Authority omits to identify potential slippage risk on a Land Information Memorandum (LIM) issued to the complainant—Ombudsman sustains complaint
  • Local Authority not unreasonable to turn off water supply at property owned by a Trust

    Case notes
    Decision by Local Authority to turn off water supply in building occupied intermittently—Ombudsman finds not unreasonable
  • Request for information relating to Government funding for upgrade of hospital

    Case notes
    Request for information on Government funding for the upgrade and redevelopment of Wellington Hospital—request refused on variety of grounds—majority of information released on review—interpretation of s 9(2)(i) and what constitutes ‘commercial activities’—Health and Disability Services Act 1993, s 11(2)(b)
  • Charge for information requested from the Minister of Revenue

    Case notes
    Request by Parliamentary Research Unit to Minister of Revenue—convention for requests to be made to appropriate Minister and not to charge for supply of information—information held by Inland Revenue Department—request not transferred by Minister but responded to by Department— ss 13, 14, 15, 18(f).
  • Request for manufacturer’s information of breath-testing device used by Police

    Case notes
    Request for technical data and manufacturer’s specifications for an evidential breath-testing device used by the Police—information withheld on basis release would disclose a trade secret, unreasonably prejudice commercial position of manufacturer and prejudice maintenance of the law—New Zealand case law suggested prosecution obliged to disclose sufficient information to defence counsel—investigation discontinued on basis that application to the Court provided adequate alternative remedy
  • Request for Consultative Draft District Plan

    Case notes
    Consultative Draft District Plan refused under s 7(2)(f)(i)—information did not meet requirements of that section—no statutory prohibition in Resource Management Act which prevents information being made available before the date of notification—Resource Management Act 1991, s 35(2)
  • Request by paediatric social worker in a public hospital for Manitoba Risk Estimation System

    Case notes
    Request by paediatric social worker in a public hospital for Manitoba Risk Estimation System—request declined—system provided to CYPFS subject to contract—consultation with owners of system—information released subject to conditions
  • District Council accepts wider interpretation of ‘household’

    Case notes
    Imposition of two sewer charges—whether complainant’s mother part of the ‘household’— interpretation of Rating Powers Act 1988, s 30
  • Local Authority required to ensure potable water condition meets standards

    Case notes
    Complaint about potable water condition of subdivision consent where supply did not meet requirements under New Zealand Drinking Water Standards 1984 (revised 2005 and 2008)—Ombudsman found local authority failed to interpret data correctly before issuing resource consent on the subdivision—the water quality was substandard and the local authority provided incorrect advice about improving the quality—the local authority was required to compensate the complainants who had to obtain potable water from another source
  • City Council not required to consider legal costs regarding enforcement order

    Case notes
    Claim for reimbursement of legal costs incurred obtaining an Enforcement Order—Court awarded costs—insufficient to cover full costs—co-operation between complainant and City Council prior to proceedings—costs not covered in agreement—claim not upheld
  • Council accepts practical solution to resolve concerns about building consent

    Case notes
    Building consent for garage—garage constructed to wrong plans—Council issues notice to rectify—retrospective consent granted—withdrawal of notice to rectify
  • Community Boards fall under Ombudsmen jurisdiction if decision(s) made other than by Committee as a whole

    Case notes
    Jurisdiction—Community Board—decisions of full Board outside jurisdiction—scope of jurisdiction limited to acts or decisions of committees, subcommittees, officers, employees or members of Board—Ombudsmen Act 1975, s 13(1) and (2)
  • City Council offers partial rebate for charge on excess water usage

    Case notes
    Excess water usage charges—local authority policy on rebates—partial or full rebate—hidden leakage