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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 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.
  • Declined request for dispensation regarding school Transport Entitlement Zone

    Case notes
    A family asked the Board of Trustees (the Board) of School A for dispensation to allow their child to access bus services to attend School B.
  • 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 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
  • 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
  • Report on a complaint against the Southern Institute of Technology by six former students

    Systemic investigations
    In December 2002 I received a complaint by six former students of the Southern Institute of Technology, (the Institute), who in 1999 had been enrolled in the National Certificate in Social Services programme conducted by it.
  • Request for performance reviews of ACC third-tier managers

    Case notes
    Request for performance review information of two ACC employees holding third-tier management positions—s 9(2)(a) applied—requester believed ACC granted bonuses to employees who exited claimants from ACC scheme—public interest in release of generic information about ACC performance management process
  • Request for public submissions made on a discussion document

    Case notes
    Request for copies of submissions made to Department of Conservation on a discussion document—submissions released with identities of authors deleted under s 9(2)(a)— no reference to possible release in discussion document—authors were a mix of individuals, government officials and organisations—identities of those making submissions on behalf of organisations and government officials released as not made on personal basis—individuals consulted—identities of those who consented to disclosure were released—s 9(2)(a) applied to remaining information—no public interest favouring release
  • Technical Institute required to amend student records when course cancelled

    Case notes
    Students enrolled in a two stage course to obtain a Certificate of Security were informed the second half was cancelled shortly before it was to commence—Technical Institute explored various options including notifying on the relevant academic records that students had ‘withdrawn’—students complained notation, course cancellation and lack of certification was unreasonable—Institute explained to Ombudsman that certificate registration was in train, the timing of the tutor’s resignation left it with few options but it was willing to explore these with students—Institute acknowledged it cancelled the course but current system did not have ‘cancellation of course’ as an option—Institute willing to review system and remove course from student records—Ombudsman satisfied that Institute acted reasonably to provide students with other options, certificates forthcoming and removing course from records would resolve complaint
  • School Board of Trustees and Principal’s decision to suspend student not consistent with principles of natural justice

    Case notes
    Suspended student’s parents complained about the conduct of his suspension—Ombudsman’s jurisdiction confined to the process followed by the Board—parties disputed duration of Principal’s interview with student, ability of Principal to contact parents about suspension and comments allegedly made to the student by the Principal during the interview—Ombudsman’s investigation unable to resolve these issues and no determination as to reasonableness of Board’s actions able to be made—Ombudsman satisfied that Principal’s request for student to write down his account of incident in accordance with principles of natural justice—however Ombudsman found Board acted unreasonably by dismissing parents’ concerns about Principal’s decision to interview student in absence of parents—Board acknowledged Principal’s decision not consistent with principles of natural justice and agreed to review its ‘Interviewing of Students’ policy—no formal recommendation made
  • Request by non-custodial parent for children’s school reports

    Case notes
    Request by non-custodial father for school reports of two daughters—father accused of indecently assaulting daughters—father denied charges—information required for defence—s 9(2)(a) applicable, but public interest under s 9(1) in right to justice outweighed complete protection
  • Request for information about a victim of crime

    Case notes
    Request for information about victim of crime—information needed for petition to Governor-General—balance to be struck between privacy interest and public interest in justice
  • 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
  • School Boards should record reasons for decisions to suspend

    Case notes
    Suspension from school for marijuana smoking—school procedures provided for suspension for drug use—application of principles of High Court decision in M & R v Palmerston North Boys High School—need for transparency in decision-making—consideration of requirements of s.23 of the Official Information Act 1982