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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.
  • Auckland International Airport unreasonable to issue Trespass Notice

    Case notes
    Auckland International Airport Ltd—Trespass Notice to shuttle driver unreasonable and unjust—penalty imposed by airport out of proportion in relation to offence
  • Land Information New Zealand entitled to sell property previously available for buy-back

    Case notes
    Claim as successors for the offer-back of a disused school site—Ombudsman not wholly satisfied with some aspects of the process adopted by LINZ, but concluded that claimants could not fall within the statutory definition of ‘successor’
  • Transpower New Zealand’s refusal to consent to construction not unreasonable

    Case notes
    Complaint about refusal of Transpower New Zealand Ltd to allow building on property over which it had easement—Transpower refused consent—Ombudsman found its actions not unreasonable
  • 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
  • Landcorp fails to monitor survey of land for sale

    Case notes
    Lessee of Crown land given opportunity to purchase it freehold in 1996 from Landcorp—a review of title revealed land had been surveyed to exclude all internal waterways used by lessee for his salmon and trout farms and problem discovered too late for exemptions under Conservation Act—the consequences of survey effectively confiscated farms and lessee complained to Ombudsman that Landcorp’s failure to monitor survey allowed issuance of title for an unviable property—Ombudsman reviewed circumstances and agreed Landcorp should have ensured it was informed of survey progress—its failure to monitor meant Landcorp could not take more effective measures to overcome title issues and land subsequently not fit for sale—view formed that Landcorp’s sale was unreasonable—Landcorp disagreed with view but agreed to make ex-gratia payment to complainant
  • New Zealand Post accepts recommendation to undertake gate delivery on steep rural street

    Case notes
    New Zealand Post refused to do a gate delivery in rural area because of the state of the road—Ombudsman considered NZP’s reasons and sought advice from Transit New Zealand about the state of the road—report showed it was not as steep as others in the area where deliveries were made—complaint upheld that the refusal to deliver to the gate was unreasonable and discriminatory between residents in different areas—NZP accepted finding and delivery to the gate was commenced
  • New Zealand Post reconsiders redirection policy for student hostel residents

    Case notes
    Misleading advertising re mail redirection service—not available to students in halls of residence—review of policy in specific case, not of general application
  • 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