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  • Request for handwritten comments on draft walking and cycling strategy

    Case notes
    Release would inhibit willingness of Council staff to provide free and frank opinions on drafts circulated by colleagues, or to test the content and recommendations of such documents, which would undermine the accuracy and value of the material that eventuates—s 7(2)(f)(i) applies
  • Local Authority not unreasonable to issue Trespass Notice in the circumstances

    Case notes
    Whether the District Council was reasonable to issue a Trespass Notice to the complainant and whether the complainant was given the opportunity to review the Council’s case against her—Ombudsman concludes the action was justified
  • Request for information about appointment of public service chief executive

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) applied to names of unsuccessful candidates—no public interest override—section 9(2)(a) and 9(2)(ba)(ii) did not apply to the names of external panellists—section 9(2)(a) did not apply to officials’ names, Cabinet distribution and attend
  • Request for independent test results of product

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(ba)(i) OIA applied—implied obligation of confidence—information could have been compelled under an enactment—release would be likely to prejudice timely supply of information of the quality and standard necessary for the Commerce Commission
  • Request for information about exploration permits awarded to Anadarko Petroleum

    Case notes
    Application and evaluation subject to obligation of confidence—release would make bidders reluctant to share full information in future, which would undermine MBIE’s ability to carry out statutory functions—release would also reduce the appeal of investing in New Zealand and MBIE’s ability to administer the Crown Minerals Act, which would otherwise damage the public interest—sections 9(2)(ba)(i) and (ii) apply—revealing information about particular prospects or reserves would disadvantage third party vis-à-vis their competitors—revealing information about projected costs would disadvantage third party in its negotiations with service companies—section 9(2)(b)(ii) applies—public interest met by available information
  • Local Authority not unreasonable to hold that right of way issue is a civil matter

    Case notes
    Whether the Council was unreasonable to suggest that a right of way dispute between neighbours was a civil matter—Ombudsman found Council’s advice to have been reasonable
  • Adequacy of ex gratia payment to remedy mistake by Customs

    Case notes
    NZ Customs officer rejected passenger on flight because water damage on passport—Ombudsman found officers failed to process the passport adequately and caused considerable cost to passenger because of this failure—complainant upheld and complainant received full payment to cover financial losses
  • Request for settlement amount reached following unsuccessful prosecution

    Case notes
    Section 7(2)(c)(ii) LGOIMA applied—settlement agreement contained express obligation of confidence—release would be likely to damage the public interest in encouraging parties to settle their disputes without resorting to litigation—public interest in a
  • Request for Pre-Cabinet précis briefings

    Case notes
    Disclosure of short and incisive pre-Cabinet briefings and risk assessments would inhibit future expression of free and frank opinions
  • Request for draft investigation report into spending by Mayor Len Brown

    Case notes
    Section 7(2)(c)(i) LGOIMA applied—draft investigation report subject to an obligation of confidence owed to the Mayor, who was the subject of / participant in the investigation—release would prejudice the ongoing supply of information from subjects or p
  • Department of Internal Affairs provides reasonable service and advice to traveller on temporary passport

    Case notes
    Whether the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) reasonably handled revalidation of a passport for New Zealand citizen travelling on temporary passport—Ombudsman concluded DIA had made every effort to inform the complainant of the steps needed to have his passport validated
  • Request for draft investigation report into GRSA outbreak at Wellington Hospital’s neonatal unit

    Case notes
    Request for investigation report regarding outbreak of GRSA at Wellington Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit—report withheld as not ‘signed-off’—TOR specified confidential two-stage investigation process—disclosure risked compromising this process and would diminish staff confidence that investigations would follow agreed protocols—disclosure would be likely to damage the public interest—final investigation report still not complete nearly one year later—the longer a review process goes on without disclosure of final investigation report the greater the public interest in disclosure of at least an interim statement—in this case s 9(2)(ba)(ii) provided good reason to withhold the draft report.
  • Request for staff named in emails about genetically modified corn

    Case notes
    Section 6(d) OIA did not apply—no real and objective risk of danger to safety—s 9(2)(g)(ii) OIA did not apply—many of the names were already publicly available in connection with this issue and no harm had ensued—section 9(2)(g)(i) OIA did not apply—inf
  • Request for public submissions on draft standard

    Case notes
    Members of the public with a vested interest in developing standards would not be deterred from expressing their opinions in future
  • Request for Hazardous Activities and Industries List

    Opinions
    On 4 September 2008 Mr Sharpe sought from the Council “details of the 3099 ‘Unverified HAIL’ sites in the region, i.e. their location and the activity/industry that are known to have the potential to cause land contamination”.
  • Request for report on DHB governance issues

    Case notes
    Disclosure of report at time of request would have inhibited expression of free and frank opinions by officials—but passage of time and change in circumstances had diminished the likelihood of such prejudice—senior public servants would not be inhibited from expressing free and frank opinions in future
  • Local Authority unreasonable to review peppercorn rental without prior notice

    Case notes
    Peppercorn rent paid to Council for encroachment licence fee for garage—Council increased amount—inconsistent process—Ombudsman viewed increase unreasonable because of lack of notice
  • Local Authority and property vendors both responsible for checking lease agreement

    Case notes
    Local Authority—unreasonable not to have contacted previous lease holder three months after licence to occupy had expired and before agreeing to lease land to another person—Local Authority agrees to apologise to complainant
  • Local Authority not unreasonable to allow retrospective consents on building already constructed

    Case notes
    Local Authority issued an abatement notice to developers—Ombudsman concludes it was reasonable for Council to allow building to proceed while consent process completed—Council acted in accordance with the Resource Management Act (RMA)
  • Local Authority unreasonably failed to consider planning implications for building addition

    Case notes
    Local Authority unreasonable to require the complainant to obtain a resource consent for completed building work, which had been authorised by the Council three years previously
  • Regional Authority’s tender process inadequate

    Case notes
    Regional Council’s tender processes unreasonable, although the tender was incomplete, the Council officer contacted complainant after close of tenders to clarify his tender—having allowed an incomplete tender to proceed and provided complainant with an opportunity to clarify the tender, it was unreasonable for that clarification not to have been provided to the Tender Committee
  • Department of Internal Affairs not unreasonable to cancel passport

    Case notes
    Department of Internal Affairs—decision to recall and cancel complainant’s NZ passport – position determined by terms of legislation
  • 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 full internal report of health care

    Case notes
    Requests for full internal report by a Crown Health Enterprise following public tragedy—contents included personal health information conveyed in confidence, interviews with CHE staff and other individuals, peer review, conclusions and recommendations—confidentiality of personal health information—‘doctor/patient’ relationship—protection of free and frank opinions—some information released, some withheld—competing public interest considerations—accountability for public health care
  • Local Authority has no right to demand legal and court fees from non-paying customer

    Case notes
    Local Authority issued legal proceedings to recover unpaid mooring charges along with an account for ‘legal and court costs’—as the case had not been heard by a Court, the complainant claimed this was wrong—Ombudsman upheld the complaint, noting that a Local Authority cannot claim costs and legal fees (this being a matter for the Court to determine) and the Local Authority cannot list these on a person’s account as owing—the Local Authority changed its procedures regarding recovery of court costs
  • Local Authority not unreasonable to grant non-notified resource consent despite neighbour’s objections

    Case notes
    Local Authority granted non-notifiable resource consent for building extension where complainant claimed the structure would block his lake views. Council correctly applied s 94(2)(b) when it determined that no persons would be affected by the building because the adverse effect of the proposal on the environment was minor—allowing the proposal to proceed on a non-notified basis was not unreasonable
  • Council ameliorates non-notified development plan where neighbours adversely affected

    Case notes
    Local Authority did not notify application for subdivision consent but neighbours claimed they were affected by it and following Ombudsman’s inquiries, Council agreed to ameliorate offending features of development—the complaint was therefore resolved to complainants’ satisfaction
  • Non-notification under RMA not unreasonable, but Council should include community involvement in decision

    Case notes
    Non-notification of resource consent application allowed—Resource Management Act 1991, s 94
  • City Councillors can challenge Council’s decisions through Council’s Regulatory Committee, not Ombudsman

    Case notes
    Decision of Council not to notify application for resource consent—request by Councillor for review of decision—insufficient personal interest—Resource Management Act 1991, s 94—Ombudsmen Act 1975, s 17(1)(b)
  • 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
  • District Council agrees to backdate effect of rate fee to when notice of ownership received

    Case notes
    Rating—uniform annual general charges levied on adjoining properties—local authority not notified that adjoining properties were occupied by same ratepayer—application for a refund on the basis that only a single uniform annual general charge was payable—Rating Powers Act 1988, ss 21(1) and 23.
  • Local Authority remedies misunderstanding with elderly vendor in property re-purchase agreement

    Case notes
    Valuation of property for re-purchase—reliance by Council on valuer’s expertise—Council did not disclose information about recent comparable sales—perceived threat to withdraw unilaterally from transaction—Council’s intention to offer vendor opportunity to seek release from contract—apology and ex gratia payment offered for misunderstanding