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  • Request for job application file of National MP

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA provided good reason to withhold some information—low privacy interest in other information about MP’s work and study history in China, due to the amount of information in the public domain and his high public profile—outweighed by p
  • Request for address information to assist enforcement of judgement orders

    Case notes
    Landlords obtained judgment orders from Courts or Tenancy Tribunal against former tenants but were unable to have them executed as current address for judgment debtors unknown— requested current address information from Department of Work and Income (now part of MSD)—information withheld to protect clients’ privacy, and future supply of information— public interest in maintaining the proper administration of justice and promoting respect for the law outweighed privacy interest—MSD agreed to provide address information direct to Department for Courts
  • Report on issues involving the criminal justice sector

    Systemic investigations
    The following is my report consequent on a reference directed to me by the Prime Minister to investigate the administration of the criminal justice system. The Terms of Reference directed to me are attached as Appendix A. By agreement the reporting date was extended to 1 December 2007. I note that my report is to be tabled in Parliament. My investigation has been conducted in accordance with the provisions in the Ombudsmen Act 1975.
  • Request for information about serious and sentinel event reports

    Case notes
    Request to District Health Board for information relating to ‘serious and sentinel events’—22 SSE reports withheld in full—s 9(2)(a) applies to information identifying patients’ families and medical staff—s 9(2)(ba)(i) applies to information identifying medical staff as release would impact negatively on willingness of staff to report incidents and to cooperate with subsequent investigations—s 9(1) public interest in release to promote the accountability of the DHB for management of individual cases and to assure the public that any identified deficiencies are being remedied—reports released with deletions—two ‘protected quality assurance activity’ reports withheld—s 59 of Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act prohibits disclosure of information gained in course of a protected quality assurance activity but s 60 allows release of information that does not identify a particular individual—reports released with deletions
  • Request for letter of complaint

    Case notes
    Withholding investigated by the Privacy Commissioner under the Privacy Act 1993 and the Ombudsman under the OIA—personal information about requester released—s 9(2)(a) OIA applied to the remainder—withholding necessary to protect the privacy of the comp
  • Request for draft report on Department of Labour internal controls prepared by KPMG

    Case notes
    Document labelled ‘draft’ really a final—author was a consultant who would not be deterred from expressing free and frank opinions in future—s 9(2)(g)(i) does not apply
  • Request for information about Children’s Commissioner investigation

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA applied to redacted material from draft investigation report—requester no longer authorised to act as advocate for the family—withholding necessary to protect the family’s privacy—requester’s prior knowledge did not affect the family
  • Charge for supply of information about Maori interests in the management of petroleum

    Case notes
    Charge avoided by allowing inspection subject to conditions
  • Request for transcripts of Police communications in relation to emergency calls

    Case notes
    No blanket protection for operational discussions between Police officers—need for withholding had to be assessed with regard to the content of the actual communications at issue—opinions expressed were ‘free and frank’ but were not ‘necessary’ for effective conduct of public affairs—details about the communications already publicly available—s 9(2)(g)(i) did not apply and even if it did it was outweighed by strong public interest in release
  • Request for draft responses to OIA requests

    Case notes
    Releasing draft OIA responses would be likely to inhibit the future free and frank expression of opinions—s 9(2)(g)(i) applies
  • Corrections unreasonable not to pay for inmate’s glasses for re-integration programme

    Case notes
    Long serving prison inmate required glasses to participate in reintegration programme and work in prison tailor shop—Department of Corrections refused to pay for glasses unless inmate would refund them through his prison earnings—inmate later found out Department had paid for another inmate’s glasses in full—Ombudsman sustained complaint that inmate was not treated fairly—refund to inmate of money paid recommended.
  • Investigation of the Department of Corrections in relation to the detention and treatment of prisoners

    Systemic investigations
    Under the Ombudsmen Act 1975, it is a function of the Ombudsmen to investigate complaints relating to matters of administration affecting persons in their personal capacity against various bodies, including the Department of Corrections (the Department). Pursuant to this Act, the Ombudsmen have power to investigate complaints by prisoners about all aspects of their detention by the Department. At the end of 2004 serious issues related to the treatment of prisoners came to public attention.
  • Request for report on suicide and the media

    Case notes
    Strong public interest in requester having access—participation in making of laws and policy— release on conditions
  • Request for father’s immigration file

    Case notes
    Private interests gave rise to a public interest—pursuing legal rights and remedies
  • Request for details of risk management processes

    Case notes
    Request for details of risk management processes—relevant documents provided apart from the ‘risk register’—register consisted of free and frank expressions of opinion—release might undermine risk management strategy—public interest met by release of Risk Management Policy
  • Request for a letter of resignation of senior manager

    Case notes
    Request for letter of resignation of senior manager—information withheld to protect privacy—public interest considerations
  • Request by non-custodial parent for child’s prize-giving result

    Case notes
    Request by non-custodial parent for child’s prize-giving result—child requested results be withheld because of use made by parent of other information—meaning of ‘endanger the safety’ of a person—discussion of ‘necessary’ test—no grounds to withhold
  • Request for a staff member’s salary from educational institution

    Case notes
    Request to University for information as to whether staff member was in receipt of a salary and if so the nature of her duties—information withheld to protect privacy—public interest considerations
  • Request for information about appointments to Fire Service Commission

    Case notes
    Request for information about appointments to the Fire Service Commission—two letters withheld—contents raised privacy and confidentiality issues—good reason to withhold
  • Request by son for access to mother’s child welfare file

    Case notes
    Request by adult son for access to natural mother’s child welfare file—son placed for adoption—natural mother now deceased—information withheld to protect privacy—relevance of requester’s relationship to subject of information considered in determining strength of privacy interest—information about mother made available in summary form
  • Request for deceased birth mother’s medical records

    Case notes
    Request by adult adopted woman for copy of late birth mother’s medical records—information withheld to protect privacy—requester in contact with birth mother prior to her death—birth mother left no will, did not name executor of her estate—no other surviving relatives—information relevant to requester’s own health—conditional release of information—Health Information Privacy Code
  • Request for documents relating to a party’s tender for land offered by Council

    Case notes
    Request for documents relating to tender submitted by another party (X) for land being offered for sale by Council—negotiations subject of legal proceedings—name suppression sought by X—Council refused to confirm or deny existence of information—information normally publicly available—information provided to requester subject to minor deletions to protect privacy
  • Request for information about adoption

    Case notes
    Request for information about requester’s adoption—requester unaware she had been adopted until recently—birth mother now deceased—information withheld to protect privacy—relevance of family relationship and age of information considered in determining strength of privacy interest—file made available to requester in its entirety
  • Department of Conservation resolves impasse concerning ivory-key piano held by New Zealand Customs

    Case notes
    Refusal to release piano imported from United Kingdom—family heirloom from 1920s—need for approval of Department of Conservation under CITES because of ivory content—conflict between New Zealand legislation implementing CITES and European Community Regulations—impasse resolved by acceptance of statutory declaration by family—conflict to be raised with CITES Secretariat
  • Request for complete rate records

    Case notes
    Request for city council’s complete rate records—request refused under s7(2)(a)—consideration of s 115(2) of Rating Powers Act and ss 7(1), 7(2), 60(3) of the Privacy Act—information released
  • Request for information about members of boards for which Minister of Maori Affairs responsible

    Case notes
    Request for information about members of boards for which Minister of Maori Affairs responsible—information withheld under s 9(2)(a)—some information already publicly available—a strong privacy interest did not attach to names and terms of appointment of board members of Maori Trust Boards and the Maori Soldiers Trust Central Committee—public interest in release
  • Request for details of severance payment and salary relating to second tier manager

    Case notes
    Request for details of payments made to former employee of Airways Corporation—information refused under s 9(2)(a) and s 9(2)(b)(ii)—release of salary information in a $20,000 band struck the right balance between the established privacy interest and the public interest in disclosure
  • Request by natural mother for maternity notes and paediatric files of her children who were in interim High Court wardship

    Case notes
    Request by natural mother for maternity notes and paediatric files of her children—children in interim High Court wardship—information previously made available—s 9(2)(a) outweighed by public interest in access to the information for the purposes of custody hearing
  • Request for report by District Inspector into care by mental health services of person convicted of murder

    Case notes
    Request for report by District Inspector into care by mental health services of person convicted of murder—much of the information withheld to protect privacy of individuals—some information already publicly available in course of offender’s trial—public interest in District Inspector’s findings—most information released
  • Request for names of proposed appointees to four Maori Development Commissions

    Case notes
    Request for names of proposed appointees to four Maori Development Commissions—some information refused under s 18(d) as appointments soon to be announced—s 9(2)(a) applied to the remainder of the information which was a preliminary list of nominations
  • Request by non-custodial parent for children’s school reports which children asked not to provide

    Case notes
    Request by non-custodial parent for children’s school reports—children asked school not to make reports available—reports addressed principally to caregiver—matters to be reported under section 77 of the Education Act—section 9(2)(a) made out—public interest met by separate report prepared on matters under section 77 of the Education Act
  • Requests for CYPF case reviews

    Case notes
    Requests for case reviews by Children, Young Persons and their Families Service—information withheld under ss 9(2)(a) and 9(2)(g)(i)—private information—social workers should not be discouraged unnecessarily from giving frank accounts of difficult cases where hindsight might identify some error of judgement—some information in case reviews can be withheld—also s 9(1) public interest considerations relating to information about standard of care and remedial action taken in respect of identified deficiencies—consideration of ss 16 and 17—public interest met by publication of comprehensive summary of relevant issues