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  • Privacy: A guide to section 9(2)(a) of the OIA and section 7(2)(a) of the LGOIMA

    Official information
    This is a guide to the privacy withholding ground found in section 9(2)(a) of the OIA and section 7(2)(a) of the LGOIMA.
  • Request for email between journalist and source

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA did not apply—one party consented to release—both parties acting in their professional capacities—information already in the public domain—s 9(2)(ba)(ii) did not apply—no blanket confidentiality for all communications with journalist
  • Decision to implement locked cell policy

    Case notes
    Complaint about the negative effects of implementing a locked cell policy in the Kaaka North and South pods at Northland Region Corrections Facility – Chief Ombudsman found that the implementation was unreasonable – the significant consequences (lack of
  • Decision to release tender information in response to Official Information Act request

    Case notes
    Complaint about a decision to release information under the Official Information Act—Ministry consulted adequately with affected party—Ministry took into account affected party’s submissions, all relevant considerations, principle of availability, legis
  • Request for average remuneration of 10 highest paid staff broken down by gender

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA applied—small numbers in top 10 meant there was a real likelihood release could reveal fairly accurate salary information about identifiable individuals—withholding necessary to protect their privacy—s 9(2)(i) did not apply—insuffici
  • Request for information about death in custody

    Case notes
    Request for all correspondence about death in custody—unreasonable to rely on sections 9(2)(a) and 9(2)(ba)(i) without compiling and reviewing the information—subsequent reliance on section 18(f) (substantial collation or research) also unjustified—
  • Request for draft documents, internal emails, handwritten notes regarding Government response to Law Commission discussion paper

    Case notes
    Disclosure of draft documents would inhibit future expression of free and frank opinions by officials—s 9(2)(g)(i) applies
  • Request for Ministerial briefing on Auckland CBD rail loop

    Case notes
    Disclosure of ministerial briefing conveyed under pressure of time would inhibit future expression of free and frank opinions by officials—s 9(2)(g)(i) applied—public interest met by release of later document
  • Request for internal complaint assessment memorandum

    Case notes
    Disclosure of preliminary complaint assessment memo would make complaints assessment staff reluctant in future to fully express their views in writing—s 9(2)(g)(i) provides good reason to withhold
  • Offender’s request for victim’s medical examination

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA applied—withholding necessary to protect highly sensitive personal information about the victim of sexual offending—no public interest override
  • Request for crisis group reports and working material regarding Government’s response to kidnapping

    Case notes
    Request for information about Government’s response to kidnapping of NZ resident in Baghdad—s 9(2)(g)(i) provides good reason to withhold crisis group reports and working material but not the final review of the hostage-taking—public interest met by disclosure of final review—final review released with redactions
  • Request for individual’s immigration history

    Case notes
    Privacy ground applied and not outweighed by public interest because discovery available
  • Investigation of the Department of Corrections in relation to the complaint procedures of Corrections Inmate Employment

    Systemic investigations
    Corrections Inmate Employment (CIE) is a branch of the Department of Corrections’ (the Department) Rehabilitation and Re-integration Services group. It operates various industries at the prisons, which afford prisoners employment while they are in prison. Following the receipt of complaints from prisoners employed by CIE, concern was expressed about how CIE was handling prisoners’ complaints. I was uncertain whether this concern was justified. I decided it was appropriate on my own motion to undertake an investigation into the efficiency and effectiveness of the complaint procedures by which prisoners employed by CIE may complain to the Department about CIE and its staff.
  • Request for draft public consultation document

    Case notes
    Only minor differences between draft and final consultation document—final consultation document was publicly available—release would not inhibit the free and frank expression of opinions necessary for the effective conduct of public affairs
  • Request for internal discussion paper on privatisation

    Case notes
    Two drafts of an internal discussion paper commissioned by Treasury’s Executive Leadership Team—Government had not sought advice on the issue—s 9(2)(g)(i) provides good reason to withhold
  • Request for identities of guests who dined at a council’s expense

    Case notes
    Accountability for spending public money—level of disquiet, speculation or controversy—s 7(2)(a) did not provide good reason to withhold
  • Request for details of course attended by prisoner

    Case notes
    Request for details of course attended by prisoner—information withheld on privacy grounds—seriousness of offence did not extinguish right to privacy—studying was essential component of rehabilitation—public interest met by disclosure of tertiary institution and circumstances of attendance
  • Request for still photograph from covert surveillance camera

    Case notes
    Request for still photograph from covert video surveillance camera—person featured in videotape convicted of offence—privacy interest not outweighed by any countervailing public interest favouring disclosure
  • Request for psychiatric records of deceased sister

    Case notes
    Request for psychiatric records of deceased sister—records included notes from medical professionals and family members—privacy established—public interest considerations outweighed need to withhold all information
  • Request for information about staff and salaries in the Prime Minister’s office

    Case notes
    Request for detailed information about the number of persons in the Prime Minister’s office and their salaries—information withheld to protect privacy of individuals—s 9(2)(a) applied to protect some of the information requested but public interest identified in release of worthwhile information about expenditure on personnel in PM’s office—total expenditure released—s 9(1)
  • Request made by employer to WINZ for information about employee

    Case notes
    Request made by employer to WINZ for information about employee—request refused on privacy grounds—information required for Employment Tribunal hearing—no countervailing public interest considerations outweighing need to withhold
  • Request for information relating to the employment investigation of Unit Manager at Prison

    Case notes
    Request for information relating to employment investigation of Unit Manager at Prison—information withheld on privacy and confidentiality grounds—information at issue protected, subject to release of appropriate summaries of this information to satisfy the public interest in accountability
  • Request for details of late husband’s criminal record

    Case notes
    Request by widow for details of late husband’s criminal record—request declined to protect privacy of deceased person—balance between requester’s circumstances and knowledge of late husband’s criminal record and deceased person’s privacy interests—consultation with Privacy Commissioner—information released
  • Request for details of address of incorrect recipient of parcel

    Case notes
    Photographic work sent to wrong address by Creative New Zealand—recipient disposed of parcel—photographer sought information concerning loss—privacy interests of name and address of recipient—public interest in photographer having all relevant information to enable legal rights to be assessed outweighed privacy interest
  • 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)
  • New Zealand Customs Service questioned over acceptance of deposit pursuant to legislation

    Case notes
    Refusal to pay interest following resolution of dispute over Customs value of goods—whether relevant documentation provided at the time of importation—whether s 140 of the Customs Act 1966 (repealed) conferred authority on Department to take deposit—investigation discontinued following discovery that company did not exist as legal entity at the time complaint was made
  • Department of Corrections should explain reasons for declining application to be excused from PD reporting

    Case notes
    Refusal of application to be excused from reporting for periodic detention—incomplete explanation given at the time—reasons and apology provided—Criminal Justice Act 1985, s 41(3)
  • Department of Corrections required to advise decision on day parole application

    Case notes
    Failure to advise inmate of decision on application for day parole—prison administration expected inmate to ask Case officer for outcome—responsibility for advising the outcome of a request/application normally rests with decision-maker—internal procedures changed to reflect normal practice
  • Department of Corrections reasonably held inmate in segregation

    Case notes
    Unreasonable placement of inmate on precautionary segregation—written material found in his cell which reflected on the safety of prison staff—placement not deemed unreasonable
  • 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 for communications between Minister of Finance and the Reserve Bank

    Case notes
    Request for communications between Minister of Finance and the Reserve Bank regarding economic growth, monetary policy and inflation outlook—information withheld under ss 6(e)(iv), 9(2)(d), 9(2)(f)(iv) and 9(2)(g)(i)—markets are extremely sensitive and react to the most subtle signals—if released, Reserve Bank would be likely to become more guarded about what was said at, and recorded after, meetings with Minister—s 9(2)(g)(i) applied and no countervailing public interest considerations which outweighed need to withhold
  • 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