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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
  • 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 handwritten comments on draft walking and cycling strategy

    Case notes
    Release would inhibit willingness of Council staff to provide free and frank opinions on drafts circulated by colleagues, or to test the content and recommendations of such documents, which would undermine the accuracy and value of the material that eventuates—s 7(2)(f)(i) applies
  • Request for information about appointment of public service chief executive

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) applied to names of unsuccessful candidates—no public interest override—section 9(2)(a) and 9(2)(ba)(ii) did not apply to the names of external panellists—section 9(2)(a) did not apply to officials’ names, Cabinet distribution and attend
  • Request for independent test results of product

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(ba)(i) OIA applied—implied obligation of confidence—information could have been compelled under an enactment—release would be likely to prejudice timely supply of information of the quality and standard necessary for the Commerce Commission
  • Request for information about exploration permits awarded to Anadarko Petroleum

    Case notes
    Application and evaluation subject to obligation of confidence—release would make bidders reluctant to share full information in future, which would undermine MBIE’s ability to carry out statutory functions—release would also reduce the appeal of investing in New Zealand and MBIE’s ability to administer the Crown Minerals Act, which would otherwise damage the public interest—sections 9(2)(ba)(i) and (ii) apply—revealing information about particular prospects or reserves would disadvantage third party vis-à-vis their competitors—revealing information about projected costs would disadvantage third party in its negotiations with service companies—section 9(2)(b)(ii) applies—public interest met by available information
  • Request for settlement amount reached following unsuccessful prosecution

    Case notes
    Section 7(2)(c)(ii) LGOIMA applied—settlement agreement contained express obligation of confidence—release would be likely to damage the public interest in encouraging parties to settle their disputes without resorting to litigation—public interest in a
  • Request for Pre-Cabinet précis briefings

    Case notes
    Disclosure of short and incisive pre-Cabinet briefings and risk assessments would inhibit future expression of free and frank opinions
  • Request for draft investigation report into spending by Mayor Len Brown

    Case notes
    Section 7(2)(c)(i) LGOIMA applied—draft investigation report subject to an obligation of confidence owed to the Mayor, who was the subject of / participant in the investigation—release would prejudice the ongoing supply of information from subjects or p
  • Request for draft investigation report into GRSA outbreak at Wellington Hospital’s neonatal unit

    Case notes
    Request for investigation report regarding outbreak of GRSA at Wellington Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit—report withheld as not ‘signed-off’—TOR specified confidential two-stage investigation process—disclosure risked compromising this process and would diminish staff confidence that investigations would follow agreed protocols—disclosure would be likely to damage the public interest—final investigation report still not complete nearly one year later—the longer a review process goes on without disclosure of final investigation report the greater the public interest in disclosure of at least an interim statement—in this case s 9(2)(ba)(ii) provided good reason to withhold the draft report.
  • Request for email communications between councillors relating to industrial dispute

    Case notes
    Disclosure of informal emails between councillors in highly sensitive context would inhibit future expression of free and frank opinions—s 7(2)(f)(i) provides good reason to withhold
  • Request for draft report to Ombudsman

    Case notes
    Release of draft report to Ombudsman would inhibit the free and frank expression of opinions—s 9(2)(g)(i) applies
  • Request for draft audit report in relation to hospice

    Case notes
    Audit still in process and at the draft reporting phases—s 9(2)(ba)(i) and 9(2)(ba)(ii) provide good reason to withhold—limited distribution of confidential drafts for comment has long been considered a sound administrative practice in the public sector—public interest met through disclosure of final audit report
  • Local authority events funding

    Official information
    This guide sets out principles applying to requests for information about events funding by local authorities, including the reasons for withholding and the public interest in release.
  • Request for information about assessment of community organisation as approved community service

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA did not apply to correspondence from the chair of the community organisation—the fact that a person signed a letter does not necessarily make that letter personal information about them—signatory was acting in his professional capaci
  • Investigation of the Department of Corrections in relation to the provision, access and availability of prisoner health services

    Systemic investigations
    This own motion report, unlike others we have undertaken, did not arise from specific incidents within the prison system, nor from the number of complaints we receive from prisoners.  Our investigation has identified that prisoners have reasonable access to Health Services and generally they receive healthcare equivalent to members of the wider community. However, the service is not without its problems and in the future, it may not be able to meet the healthcare needs of such a diverse population effectively.
  • Request for investigation report relating to a personal grievance

    Case notes
    Sections 9(2)(a) and 9(2)(ba)(i) and (ii) OIA applied—privacy and confidentiality in employment context—express obligation of confidence to parties and other contributors—release would be likely to prejudice the future supply of information needed to de
  • Request for online discussion group messages

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(ba)(i) OIA applied—express obligation of confidence—release posed a real and substantial risk that the Ministry would be denied ongoing access to the New Zealand Tobacco Control Action Network—ongoing access was in the public interest becau
  • Request for ‘without prejudice’ communications

    Case notes
    Section 7(2)(c)(ii) LGOIMA applied—obligation of confidence in respect of ‘without prejudice’ communications exchanged in an attempt to settle a legal dispute—release would be likely to damage the public interest in encouraging parties to settle their d
  • 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 employment investigation involving misuse of letterhead by Police officer

    Case notes
    Sections 9(2)(a) and 9(2)(ba)(i) OIA applied—privacy and confidentiality in employment context—withholding necessary to protect the officer’s privacy—express or implied obligation of confidence—release would be likely to prejudice the future supply of i