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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
  • 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 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
  • 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 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 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 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)
  • District Council accepts wider interpretation of ‘household’

    Case notes
    Imposition of two sewer charges—whether complainant’s mother part of the ‘household’— interpretation of Rating Powers Act 1988, s 30
  • Local Authority required to ensure potable water condition meets standards

    Case notes
    Complaint about potable water condition of subdivision consent where supply did not meet requirements under New Zealand Drinking Water Standards 1984 (revised 2005 and 2008)—Ombudsman found local authority failed to interpret data correctly before issuing resource consent on the subdivision—the water quality was substandard and the local authority provided incorrect advice about improving the quality—the local authority was required to compensate the complainants who had to obtain potable water from another source
  • City Council not required to consider legal costs regarding enforcement order

    Case notes
    Claim for reimbursement of legal costs incurred obtaining an Enforcement Order—Court awarded costs—insufficient to cover full costs—co-operation between complainant and City Council prior to proceedings—costs not covered in agreement—claim not upheld
  • Council accepts practical solution to resolve concerns about building consent

    Case notes
    Building consent for garage—garage constructed to wrong plans—Council issues notice to rectify—retrospective consent granted—withdrawal of notice to rectify
  • Community Boards fall under Ombudsmen jurisdiction if decision(s) made other than by Committee as a whole

    Case notes
    Jurisdiction—Community Board—decisions of full Board outside jurisdiction—scope of jurisdiction limited to acts or decisions of committees, subcommittees, officers, employees or members of Board—Ombudsmen Act 1975, s 13(1) and (2)
  • City Council offers partial rebate for charge on excess water usage

    Case notes
    Excess water usage charges—local authority policy on rebates—partial or full rebate—hidden leakage
  • New Zealand Customs Service questioned over acceptance of deposit pursuant to legislation

    Case notes
    Refusal to pay interest following resolution of dispute over Customs value of goods—whether relevant documentation provided at the time of importation—whether s 140 of the Customs Act 1966 (repealed) conferred authority on Department to take deposit—investigation discontinued following discovery that company did not exist as legal entity at the time complaint was made
  • 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)
  • District Council not unreasonable to retain credit balance in rates account

    Case notes
    Early payment of rates—credit balance in rates account— whether local authority has obligation to make refund on request
  • Local Authorities must comply with LGOIMA intent when setting rules

    Case notes
    A Deed of Confidentiality was distributed to Councillors for signature, with the aim to protect information relating to the Council’s business and affairs—Councillor was concerned that signing the document would conflict with the intentions under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA) and also that Councillors who don’t sign would have restrictions on information they received—Ombudsman ruled that under LGOIMA, a Council may not put rules in place which are inconsistent with the Act and Councils cannot withhold information from Councillors who have not signed that confidentiality agreement
  • 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
  • Council property sale conducted but complainants not advised about status of their objection petition

    Case notes
    Council resolved to sell property of historic significance and occupants petitioned Council to reverse its decision—Council referred petition to committees for consideration and report but before reports completed, concluded the sale of property—the occupants complained of failure of Council to follow due process (failure to report) but failure did not mean complaint could be sustained—however procedural shortcomings acknowledged by Council and apology extended to complainant
  • Local Authority fails to follow legislative procedures when setting fee for dog registration

    Case notes
    Local Authority imposes Dog Control Fees by resolution of Committee—there is a requirement for resolution of territorial authority to take particular matters to be taken into account under the Dog Control Act 1996, s 37 and Local Government Act 1974, s 114Q—Council failed to follow legislative procedures when setting registration fees
  • 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
  • Local Authority rejects Ombudsman’s recommendation to monitor nuisance as required under RMA

    Case notes
    Local Authority failed to respond to complaints from residents about dust and noise nuisance. What it should have done was to consider complaints from residents by undertaking relevant surveys and tests to determine the extent of the problem being complained about (this is a responsibility under ss17 and 35 of the Resource Management Act 1991)—complaint sustained —Ombudsman recommended the Local Authority monitor noise and nuisance effects—recommendation rejected
  • Local Authority issued a Project Information Memorandum (PIM) unlawfully

    Case notes
    Property developer changed basis of development and obtained new Project Information Memorandum (PIM) containing conditions not prescribed in s 31(2) of the Building Act 1991—complainant considered the contents of the PIM unauthorised as the changes had not been agreed to by purchasers of the owner developing the property and action incurring legal expenses—Ombudsman found PIM not issued lawfully but agreed for Authority to amend the PIM to comply with LGOIMA—complainant offered ex gratia payment in recognition of legal costs incurred