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  • 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)
  • 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
  • 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
  • District Council not unreasonable to retain credit balance in rates account

    Case notes
    Early payment of rates—credit balance in rates account— whether local authority has obligation to make refund on request
  • Local Authorities must comply with LGOIMA intent when setting rules

    Case notes
    A Deed of Confidentiality was distributed to Councillors for signature, with the aim to protect information relating to the Council’s business and affairs—Councillor was concerned that signing the document would conflict with the intentions under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA) and also that Councillors who don’t sign would have restrictions on information they received—Ombudsman ruled that under LGOIMA, a Council may not put rules in place which are inconsistent with the Act and Councils cannot withhold information from Councillors who have not signed that confidentiality agreement
  • Council property sale conducted but complainants not advised about status of their objection petition

    Case notes
    Council resolved to sell property of historic significance and occupants petitioned Council to reverse its decision—Council referred petition to committees for consideration and report but before reports completed, concluded the sale of property—the occupants complained of failure of Council to follow due process (failure to report) but failure did not mean complaint could be sustained—however procedural shortcomings acknowledged by Council and apology extended to complainant
  • Local Authority fails to follow legislative procedures when setting fee for dog registration

    Case notes
    Local Authority imposes Dog Control Fees by resolution of Committee—there is a requirement for resolution of territorial authority to take particular matters to be taken into account under the Dog Control Act 1996, s 37 and Local Government Act 1974, s 114Q—Council failed to follow legislative procedures when setting registration fees
  • 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
  • Request for address list of members of university council

    Case notes
    Request for address list of members of university council—addresses withheld in reliance upon s 9(2)(a)—some members did not wish disclosure of private addresses—privacy accepted in those cases—public interest in members of the public being able to communicate directly with the elected members of the university council—public interest met by university undertaking to forward correspondence addressed to council members at the university
  • Request by non-custodial parent for access to child’s school reports

    Case notes
    Request by non-custodial parent for access to child’s school reports—child specifically asked that reports be withheld—reports addressed to student and caregivers—relevance of s 77 of the Education Act 1989 to public interest considerations—good reason to refuse under s 9(2)(a) but short statement provided to non-custodial parent to the effect that there was nothing which required reporting in terms of the Education Act
  • Local Authorities not obliged to adopt narrow user-pays approach when setting rates

    Case notes
    Complaint concerned a service provided by local authority for which a rate was levied—believed as he did not benefit from it, his rates liability should be adjusted—Ombudsman concluded ratepayers cannot expect the level of services/benefits will reflect precisely the rates paid
  • Local Authority unreasonable to allow change to Management Plan without public notification

    Case notes
    Local Authority administering a park, agreed to a non-notified change in its Management Plan and allowed a sports club to expand its building at the park—local resident objected to lack of public consultation—Ombudsman found vague reference in the Plan to sport’s club hoped to expand its facilities, but given the scale and nature of the proposed building, the Local Authority’s decision not to notify a change to the management plan was unreasonable—Authority agreed with decision and commenced notification process
  • Council’s authority to levy Harbour Facilities Charge expired

    Case notes
    Imposition of ‘harbour facilities charge’—bylaw made pursuant to legal authority which had expired—s690A Local Government Act 1974, ss 33 and 427 Resource Management Act 1991