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  • 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 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
  • 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.
  • Local Authority unreasonably created expectation concerning amenity design

    Case notes
    Local Authority refused to redesign toilet block as promised—Ombudsman considered advice to complainant unreasonable—Council then agreed to redesign
  • 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
  • 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
  • Local Authority issues non-notified resource consent for vacant site

    Case notes
    Non-notified resource consent application granted for vacant site – neighbours claimed damage resulted from excavations and complained about the height of the building erected—Ombudsman investigated and found no apparent breach of s 94 of the Resource Management Act or District Plan rules and concluded the Local Authority was not unreasonable to issue a non-notified consent in this case—complaint not sustained—question of liability for damage allegedly incurred by complainants was a civil matter to be pursued in the courts
  • Department of Corrections accepts obligation to consider inmates’ circumstances when deciding work and educational paroles

    Case notes
    Refusal of work and educational paroles before inmate appeared before National Parole Board—inflexible policy inconsistent with concept of individual case management—review resulted in detailed case management plan for inmate
  • Local Authorities should avoid unnecessary delay processing resource consents

    Case notes
    Time limits for decisions made in respect of resource consent applications—ss 21 and 115 of the Resource Management Act—processing delays—responsibility of local authorities to avoid unreasonable delays