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  • Request for camera footage of three Taser incidents

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA applied—footage of two incidents particularly sensitive—pixelation not sufficient to address privacy interests—footage of third incident not so sensitive—pixelation would make the risk of identification negligible—strong public inter
  • 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 names of staff and contractors involved in producing crime and safety survey

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(g)(ii) OIA applied to staff names—on basis of past conduct Ombudsman satisfied that requester would engage in improper pressure or harassment that would impact on the Ministry’s ability to attract and retain staff and contactors—section 9(2
  • 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 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 names of MSD staff in emails about the drafting of a Bill

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA did not apply—not necessary to withhold staff names to protect their privacy—no information to suggest privacy or safety concerns, or risk of improper pressure or harassment.
  • 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 staff names in employment investigation report into Joanne Harrison

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA applied—significant privacy interest given the nature and content of report and impact on individuals—no public interest override.
  • Request for names of members of the Auckland University European Students Association

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA applied—withholding necessary to protect high privacy interest in information that would directly or indirectly identify AUESA members—potential consequences of disclosure included harassment, threats and reputational damage—no publi
  • 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 statistics on allegations of assault by Corrections staff

    Case notes
    Requirements of Operations Manual meant source information to answer request should be held—manual compilation is not creation—s 18(g) does not apply—unreasonable to rely on s 18(f) when the fundamental difficulty in providing the information was down to the Department’s own administrative lapses
  • Request for names and address for service of two Police officers

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) and 9(2)(g)(ii) OIA applied—past conduct suggested the requester would publish information targeting or encouraging others to target the officers in a way that would breach their personal privacy, and subject them to improper pressure or
  • Immigration New Zealand’s decision to issue Deportation Liability Notice unreasonable in circumstances

    Case notes
    Immigration New Zealand (INZ)’s decision to issue a Deportation Liability Notice (DLN) was unreasonable—compliance officer inferred situation that complainant was then not given an opportunity to explain—Ombudsman sustained complaint—INZ restored immigration status to complainant with open conditions
  • 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
  • Request for adult daughter’s ACC file

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA applied—in the absence of consent withholding was necessary to protect the daughter’s privacy—no public interest override
  • Request for staff named in emails about genetically modified corn

    Case notes
    Section 6(d) OIA did not apply—no real and objective risk of danger to safety—s 9(2)(g)(ii) OIA did not apply—many of the names were already publicly available in connection with this issue and no harm had ensued—section 9(2)(g)(i) OIA did not apply—inf
  • Request for public submissions on draft standard

    Case notes
    Members of the public with a vested interest in developing standards would not be deterred from expressing their opinions in future
  • Request for Hazardous Activities and Industries List

    Opinions
    On 4 September 2008 Mr Sharpe sought from the Council “details of the 3099 ‘Unverified HAIL’ sites in the region, i.e. their location and the activity/industry that are known to have the potential to cause land contamination”.
  • Request for report on DHB governance issues

    Case notes
    Disclosure of report at time of request would have inhibited expression of free and frank opinions by officials—but passage of time and change in circumstances had diminished the likelihood of such prejudice—senior public servants would not be inhibited from expressing free and frank opinions in future
  • Immigration New Zealand’s advice to Associate Minister of Immigration unreasonable

    Case notes
    Immigration New Zealand (INZ)—misleading and inadequate advice provided to Associate Minister of Immigration
  • Immigration New Zealand officials’ poor record keeping resulted in unreasonable intervention in appeal process

    Case notes
    Immigration New Zealand (INZ)—incorrect advice given to complainant based on misunderstanding of complainant’s situation—misunderstanding caused by lack of proper record keeping by INZ—failure to refer complainant to her legal advisor before she made a significant change to her immigration situation—removal order cancelled, person returned to NZ with ongoing permits
  • Immigration New Zealand unreasonable to stamp decline in passport

    Case notes
    Immigration New Zealand unreasonable to stamp passport to show application was declined when no legal authority for this practice
  • Department of Internal Affairs accepts process cancelling citizenship managed unreasonably

    Case notes
    Complaint about decision of Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) to de-register complainant’s NZ citizenship by descent - complainant adopted in India by uncle who was NZ citizen - adoption considered to be a ‘recognised overseas adoption’ and complainant was registered as a citizen by descent in October 2002
  • 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