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  • 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
  • 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 advice on establishing a reserve

    Case notes
    Release of early and annotated advice would inhibit the free and frank exchange of opinions between officials drafting advice—general public interest in transparency had been met by disclosure of technical papers that formed the basis of the advice to the Minister, together with the final advice paper
  • Request for draft ministerial and chief executive correspondence

    Case notes
    Release of draft ministerial and chief executive correspondence would inhibit the free and frank expression opinions—s 9(2)(g)(i) applies
  • Request for draft document on Starting Price Adjustment Input Methodology

    Opinions
    For the reasons set out below, I am of the opinion that the Commerce Commission was entitled, under section 9(2)(g)(i) of the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA), to withhold a copy of a draft of a Starting Price Adjustment Input Methodology reque
  • Local Authority not unreasonable to impound horse found untethered on road reserve

    Case notes
    Whether a local authority was unreasonable to impound a horse found untethered on a road reserve—Ombudsman concluded the Regional Council acted reasonably in the circumstances
  • Department of Corrections reasonable to seek removal of prisoner from study course in some circumstances

    Case notes
    Whether the Department of Corrections was reasonable to request the tertiary institution to remove a prisoner from a course at a polytechnic—Ombudsman found Department’s decision to have been reasonable in part
  • Local Authority unreasonable to note requirement for fencing on LIM without inspection

    Case notes
    Whether Local Authority reasonable to include information on Land Information Memorandum (‘LIM’) when property had not been properly inspected—Ombudsman found the Council had no justification for including notation on the LIM and action unreasonable
  • Local Authority unreasonably issued Trespass Notice without warning or opportunity to comment

    Case notes
    Local Authority issued a 2-year trespass notice on complainant immediately in response to disruptive behaviour at a meeting—Ombudsman of opinion that this was unreasonable—no prior warning given first
  • Local Authority fails to independently assess affected parties to a resource consent application

    Case notes
    Local Authority failed to independently identify the parties affected by a resource consent application—applicant had provided Council with a list of affected parties which the Council accepted without independently identifying those parties
  • Request for names and email addresses of people consulted on draft speech

    Case notes
    Recipients and senders of emails consulted—disclosure would not inhibit senior public servants from expressing free and frank opinions in future—however others would be inhibited
  • Request for comments on early draft cabinet papers

    Case notes
    Request for documents regarding Kyoto Protocol—information contained initial Treasury comments on draft versions of cabinet paper—part of informal consultation early in policy making process—concern that release would result in officials being less co-operative and formalise the process—withholding necessary to maintain effective conduct of public affairs
  • Tertiary Council appointments process controlled by Council

    Case notes
    Nomination for appointment to Tertiary Council pursuant to s 171(2)(f)(ii) Education Act 1989 required workers’ organisation to be consulted—Council refused to appoint organisation’s sole nominee and sought further nominations from organisation—appointment process stalled—alleged unreasonable failure by Council to consult—Ombudsman held consultation confers no rights on an organisation and that Council controlled appointments process
  • Department of Corrections required to state reasons for security classification

    Case notes
    Prison inmate complained that his security classification had been unreasonably assessed and Ombudsman concluded the Department failed to provide ‘strong reasons’ (which must be stated)—Ombudsman found the Prison officers had based their classification on uncorroborated, unrecorded, verbal statement made by another inmate—Ombudsman upheld complaint based on inequitable situation that would result if prison relied solely on this information, however, the inmate released before any recommendation could be made
  • Local Authority cannot call ‘workshop’ a meeting for purposes of LGOIMA

    Case notes
    Council Workshop—decisions not formally made—requirements of the Act cannot be avoided by calling a meeting a workshop—Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, s 45(1)
  • Councils required to add to LIM matters on neighbouring property if relevant

    Case notes
    Purchaser requested LIM from Council on property he was considering buying—LIM received and property purchased—after purchaser gained possession he discovered neighbour had building consent to drain storm water into his drain—building consent not referred to in LIM report—purchaser sought removal of drain and records about drain, and reimbursement of legal costs—Council advised its practice was to note consents only on applicant’s file - Ombudsman held Council’s actions unreasonable—Council agreed to pay compensation
  • Council should pay for cost of obtaining second legal opinion on straightforward matter raised by complainant

    Case notes
    Property owner disagreed with Council that resource consent was necessary for building house—Council sought external legal advice and billed property owner who refused to pay—Council went to Disputes Tribunal which ordered property owner to pay all legal fees and court costs—property owner complained to Ombudsman who considered legislation and found it to be unambiguous that both the operative and proposed district plans must be complied with—Council agreed issue was straightforward and was aware of legislation and relevant case law—Ombudsman did not consider it necessary for further advice to be obtained on issue—view formed that it was appropriate for Council to exercise discretion under s36(5) of Resource Management Act 1991 and remit charge—in circumstances, Ombudsman also considered it unreasonable for Council not to remit Court and solicitor’s costs payable pursuant to Disputes Tribunal order—recommended all costs be remitted
  • Department of Corrections revises guidelines on implications for visitors possessing drugs

    Case notes
    Prison banned inmate’s family members from visiting for 12-months after small amount of cannabis found in their possession—the inmate complained that the duration of ban was unreasonable but the Department of Corrections noted it had zero tolerance policy for drugs with an automatic 12-month prohibition order to be placed on anyone found with them on prison property—Ombudsman concluded blanket ban unreasonable and the Department agreed each case to be considered on merits and prepared guidelines for prisons—Ombudsman advised inmate to apply for a review of prohibition order under the new guidelines
  • 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
  • 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