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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 business plan for Christchurch Convention and Exhibition Centre

    Case notes
    Competitors could copy or adopt third party’s methodology and strategy and devise plans based on its established operating systems which would unreasonably prejudice its commercial position—information subject to an explicit obligation of confidence and of a confidential nature—release would damage the public interest by making suppliers reluctant to participate in future procurement processes
  • 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.
  • Request for emails between MP and university researchers

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(ba)(i) OIA did not apply—no obligation of confidence—information voluntarily supplied with no reference to confidentiality—release of ‘benign’ information with the consent of the supplier would not be likely to prejudice the future supply o
  • 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 venue development strategy

    Case notes
    Draft venue development strategy prepared by consultant—refused because commercial and confidential—analysis preliminary and high-level—s 7(2)(f)(i) applies—public interest requires disclosure of a summary statement
  • 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 tender submissions to replace jetty at Philomel Landing

    Case notes
    Release of tenderers’ pricing strategy would give an unfair advantage to their competitors and unreasonably prejudice their commercial position—s 9(2)(b)(ii) OIA applies—release would make tenderers reluctant to provide as much detail about their design specifications in future— s 9(2)(ba)(i) applies—it was in the public interest for NZDF to receive full and detailed submissions as this would otherwise undermine its ability to make an informed decision on the best tenderer to award a contract
  • Request for Customs’ staff engagement survey

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(ba)(i) OIA applied—express obligation of confidence—release of personalised comment that could be attributed to particular individuals would be likely to prejudice the future supply of similar information—it is in the public interest for ag
  • Request for CAA investigation report on Minister’s airport security breach

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA applied to information that would identify Minister’s staff—s 9(2)(a) did not apply to non-sensitive information about actions that occurred in a public place, or to the name of the Investigator—s 6(c) did not apply to information su
  • Request for draft terms of reference for an inquiry

    Case notes
    Draft terms of reference largely the same as publicly available final ones—release would not inhibit the future free and frank expression of opinion or provision of advice to the Prime Minister—s 9(2)(g)(i) did not apply
  • Local Authority provided unreasonable advice regarding its investigation process

    Case notes
    Whether the Local Authority (District Council) reasonably provided advice to complainant regarding an investigation it was undertaking into a Code of Conduct complaint—Ombudsman of the view that the Council erred in this respect
  • Request for evaluation and audit reports regarding extended supervision orders

    Case notes
    Evaluation report comprised largely academic material and statistical analysis—9(2)(g)(i) did not apply—audit report had been submitted to senior management but marked as draft—disclosure of majority not likely to prejudice future exchange of free and frank opinions—significant public interest considerations in favour of disclosure—audit report released with deletion of names and detailed findings relating to individual service providers
  • Request for briefing notes relating to state visits

    Case notes
    Inspection on conditions in order to identify the documents required provided means of resolving s 18(f) refusal
  • Request for DHB Commissioner’s draft work plan

    Case notes
    Release of draft work plan would likely result in reluctance by staff to draft and consult on document—components of plan, once confirmed, were to be included in the 2016/17 annual plan—s 9(2)(g)(i) provided good reason to withhold
  • Request for draft financial performance analysis

    Case notes
    Draft financial performance analysis prepared by Alma Consulting—s 9(2)(g)(i) did not apply— strong public interest in release
  • Local Authority not unreasonable to enforce pool fence requirements despite previous decisions

    Case notes
    Local Authority previously allowed existing fence of swimming pool—new inspection revealed old decisions wrong—complainant considered change unfair—Ombudsman concluded Council entitled to insist on regulations
  • Request for research data held by Crown Research Institute

    Case notes
    Research data subject to clear confidentiality assurances—some farmers would be reluctant to participate in similar trials if released—s 9(2)(ba)(i) applies
  • Request for list of all strategic goods exported from New Zealand

    Case notes
    Request for list of all strategic goods exported from New Zealand—some information provided but name of exporter and value before tax of strategic goods withheld—9(2)(ba)(i) applied—residual issue of public accountability resolved following inquiries under s 13(3) of the Ombudsmen Act 1975—MFAT agreed that in future, it would disclose in its annual report the statistics it had previously made available only on request
  • Request for details of out-of-court settlements and costs

    Case notes
    Request for details of out-of-court settlements and costs—ss 9(2)(ba)(ii) and 9(2)(j) found to apply—no countervailing public interest
  • 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
  • Request for details of out-of-court settlement of a personal grievance

    Case notes
    Request for terms of settlement and amount paid—out-of-court settlement—s 9(2)(ba)(ii) applied—no countervailing public interest