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  • 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 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
  • 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 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
  • 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 breakdown of invoice

    Case notes
    Council concerned that request was part of a strategy to delay or avoid payment—no basis to believe request was made in bad faith—request not frivolous or vexatious—information should be released
  • 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
  • Request for audit report of approved organisation under Animal Welfare Act

    Case notes
    Acrimonious history and prolonged legal dispute were relevant to decision whether or not request was vexatious—while future similar requests might be vexatious this one was not—the requester’s legitimate concern about effectiveness of Ministry’s oversight of approved organisations was the catalyst for the audit report, and she was initially promised a copy of it—requester was genuinely interested in and entitled to know the findings—request not frivolous or vexatious—Trust does not have a commercial position—s 9(2)(b)(ii) does not apply
  • 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
  • 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 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)
  • 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)
  • Immigration Service not required to consult original employer of overseas employee about new job

    Case notes
    Employee resigned from business which had recruited him from overseas—business knew employee was working for another company but was concerned that it had not been advised of this situation, given the original employee’s obligations for maintenance of person while in NZ—Ombudsman found Immigration Service not obliged to consult with original employee in this situation and the person was in NZ lawfully—Immigration noted original business’s concerns and agreed with the Ombudsman that it would, as a matter of fairness, advise the original business that it was no longer required to be responsible for either the maintenance of the employee or his repatriation, should that prove necessary
  • Immigration Service agrees to make applicants aware of need to renew permits in good time

    Case notes
    Delay in making decisions on applications for further temporary permits—effect of delay on applicant—no unreasonable delay by NZIS—applicants to be informed of need to apply for further permits in good time
  • 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 information refused due to offensive and repetitive nature

    Case notes
    Number of requests made to Police over several years—recent request considered frivolous and vexatious—refused under s 18(h) in light of tone of correspondence and previous similar requests—requester had genuine interest in obtaining the requested information—requester agreed to withdraw the abusive remarks and redraft his requests purged of derogatory and intemperate comment
  • Request for names of ‘eminent New Zealanders’ consulted during preparation of Intelligence and Security Agencies Bill

    Case notes
    Request for names of ‘eminent New Zealanders’ who were part of the consultative process in preparing the Intelligence and Security Agencies Bill—request refused under s 9(2)(g)(i) —individuals consulted—in respect of those who advised that disclosure would inhibit them from giving free and frank advice to the Government in future, section 9(2)(g)(i) applied—need to withhold outweighed by countervailing public interest
  • Prison unnecessarily holds inmates in secure unit

    Case notes
    Placement of minimum secure inmates in maximum security conditions