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  • Local Authority excludes public from meeting when agenda item about water issues

    Case notes
    Complaint about a Local Authority (the Council) to exclude the public from a part of its Audit and Risk Committee meeting regarding its discussion of agenda item relating to water quality and water restriction issues—insufficient weight was given to the public interest in the subject matter of the agenda item
  • 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 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
  • Early resolution of a potential water restriction to a family home

    Case notes
    A family received notice that an agency would be severely restricting its water supply because of an overdue account. Once the Ombudsman became involved, the agency reviewed its accounts and realised it was in error. On the Ombudsman’s request, the agency apologised to the family and committed to reviewing its accounts more carefully before advising of possible water restrictions. From complaint to resolution, the issue was resolved in only 12 working days without the family suffering water restrictions.
  • Administrative error leading to loss of opportunity to name a road

    Case notes
    In mid-2016, the owners of land containing a private road became aware that Kaipara District Council (the Council) had excluded them from a consultation process that it had initiated among residents earlier that year to determine a name for the road.
  • 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 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
  • Local Authority fails to include relevant information on a Land Information Memorandum

    Case notes
    Local Authority omits to identify potential slippage risk on a Land Information Memorandum (LIM) issued to the complainant—Ombudsman sustains complaint
  • Local Authority not unreasonable to turn off water supply at property owned by a Trust

    Case notes
    Decision by Local Authority to turn off water supply in building occupied intermittently—Ombudsman finds not unreasonable
  • Request for agency peer review of Family Violence Death Review Committee draft annual report

    Case notes
    Release of free and frank comments made in the context of peer reviewing a draft annual report would inhibit the expression of similar comments in future—s 9(2)(g)(i) applied
  • Request for due diligence report, site visit reports and reference checks

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(ba)(i) applies in part to the due diligence report and to the correspondence from supplier—public interest in accountability of Department for steps taken to satisfy itself regarding supplier’s performance—sections 9(2)(ba)(i) and 9(2)(g)(i) apply to information obtained from site visits, but not to the executive summary of the reports—public interest in accountability for decision to award contract—sections 9(2)(ba)(i) applies to reference checks—release would deter referees from providing full and complete information in future—public interest requires release of summary information about the reference checks
  • Cancellation of transport card and refusal to refund money stored on the card

    Case notes
    A complaint was made against Auckland Transport (AT) about its cancellation of an ‘AT HOP’ card used by commuters on Auckland’s public transport system.
  • Request for draft job sizing reports

    Case notes
    Reports formed an early stage of developing options for consideration and consultation— disclosure would likely inhibit the willingness of officials and consultants to tender a wide range of preliminary options, and to canvass issues in comprehensive written form, to the detriment of prudent and effective decision making
  • Local Authority’s efforts to mitigate effects of resource consent errors not unreasonable

    Case notes
    Local Authority decision about wall constructed on boundary—Council erred by not requiring resource consent and then offered assistance to owners to lodge application—complainant considered Council unfair not to offer assistance to him to oppose the consent
  • Local Authority’s Code of Compliance Certificate on drainage reasonable in circumstances

    Case notes
    Local Authority decision on detection of cross connection piping problem not unreasonable—Body Corporation of building forced to pay costs—question whether Code of Compliance Certificate should have been issued—Ombudsman concluded Council not aware of problem
  • Regional Authority decision on resource consent for pergola on non-notified basis not unreasonable

    Case notes
    Regional Authority’s decision to grant resource consent for a pergola on a non-notified basis was reasonable in the circumstance—permitted baseline test under section 95E of the Resource Management Act 1991
  • Local Authority’s Trespass Notice unreasonable in circumstances

    Case notes
    Local Authority issued Trespass Notice for two years at sports stadium—Ombudsman noted serious misconduct on part of complainant to warrant action but trespass sanction extreme—complaint sustained and Council implemented Ombudsman’s recommendations
  • Local Authority did not act unreasonably in remedying damage following tree removal

    Case notes
    Local Authority—removal of two pohutukawa trees—Council agreed to mitigate loss of these in conjunction with the land owner—Ombudsman considered Council did not act unreasonably
  • 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