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  • Privacy: A guide to section 9(2)(a) of the OIA and section 7(2)(a) of the LGOIMA

    Official information
    This is a guide to the privacy withholding ground found in section 9(2)(a) of the OIA and section 7(2)(a) of the LGOIMA.
  • Request for email between journalist and source

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA did not apply—one party consented to release—both parties acting in their professional capacities—information already in the public domain—s 9(2)(ba)(ii) did not apply—no blanket confidentiality for all communications with journalist
  • Decision to implement locked cell policy

    Case notes
    Complaint about the negative effects of implementing a locked cell policy in the Kaaka North and South pods at Northland Region Corrections Facility – Chief Ombudsman found that the implementation was unreasonable – the significant consequences (lack of
  • Decision to release tender information in response to Official Information Act request

    Case notes
    Complaint about a decision to release information under the Official Information Act—Ministry consulted adequately with affected party—Ministry took into account affected party’s submissions, all relevant considerations, principle of availability, legis
  • Request for average remuneration of 10 highest paid staff broken down by gender

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA applied—small numbers in top 10 meant there was a real likelihood release could reveal fairly accurate salary information about identifiable individuals—withholding necessary to protect their privacy—s 9(2)(i) did not apply—insuffici
  • Request for information about death in custody

    Case notes
    Request for all correspondence about death in custody—unreasonable to rely on sections 9(2)(a) and 9(2)(ba)(i) without compiling and reviewing the information—subsequent reliance on section 18(f) (substantial collation or research) also unjustified—
  • Request for information about senior employee’s departure and personal expenses

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA applied—privacy and confidentiality in employment context—s 9(2)(ba)(ii) OIA applied—settlement agreement contained express obligation of confidence—release would be likely to damage the public interest by making it more difficult to
  • Request for information about Police investigation into complaint against Minister

    Case notes
    Section 6(c) OIA did not apply—no prejudice to the maintenance of the law in circumstances where the investigation had concluded and no charges had been laid—s 9(2)(a) applied—high privacy interest given the nature of the allegations and the fact that n
  • Request for policy advice behind merger of Archives and National Library

    Case notes
    Release of formal advice to Ministers about abandoned options after decisions had been made would not inhibit the free and frank expression of opinions by officials—s 9(2)(g)(i) does not apply
  • Investigation of the Department of Corrections in relation to an incident of self-harm at Christchurch Women’s Prison and the issuing of strip gowns to prisoners at risk of self harm

    Systemic investigations
    In July 2009, in accordance with the Protocol made pursuant to section 160 of the Corrections Act, I received notification from the Department of Corrections of an incident of prisoner self-harm that had occurred in the At-Risk Unit (ARU) of Christchurch Women’s Prison (CHWO).
  • Investigation of the Department of Corrections in relation to an incident of self-harm at New Plymouth Prison and the Department’s disposable safety razor policy

    Systemic investigations
    On 11 May 2009, the Department of Corrections instituted a new national policy on razor blades for prisoners. The purpose of the policy was to reduce the number of incidents involving razor blades. It applied to those prisoners accommodated in High Security, Remand and Youth Units. These prisoners would no longer be allowed to stockpile or keep issue razor blades. The aim of the policy was interpreted as intending to limit the opportunity for self-harm by misuse of razor blades.
  • Request for complaint against a health provider

    Case notes
    Privacy interest balanced against public interest in ensuring natural justice—public interest met by release of summary information
  • Department of Corrections made errors in documentation but parole hearing set correctly

    Case notes
    Whether Department of Corrections staff failed complainant with respect to a Parole Board hearing—Ombudsman found errors in documentation but complainant not disadvantaged
  • Department of Corrections unreasonable to place prisoner with mental illness in mainstream unit

    Case notes
    Whether the Department of Corrections was unreasonable to place prisoner in mainstream unit given specific medical condition of mental illness—Ombudsman upheld complaint
  • Request for Police prosecution file

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA applied—low privacy interest in information that was either known to the requester or publicly available was outweighed by the public interest in the requester knowing the full details of the accident that led to her mother’s death—r
  • Request for audit information regarding JobPlus scheme

    Case notes
    Draft audit report was identical to final audit report—no good reason to withhold the final audit report so no good reason to withhold the draft—good reason to withhold auditor’s informal and early working papers under s 9(2)(g)(i)—disclosure of the working papers would make auditors more circumspect in what they record, and when and how they record it
  • Request for Minister/Chief Executive discussions

    Case notes
    Disclosure of full record of recollection of discussion between Minister and Chief Executive would inhibit future expression of free and frank opinions—summary of recollection released
  • Request for all information about an audit

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(ba)(i) OIA applied to staff interview records—implied obligation of confidence—release would be likely to prejudice the future supply of information to auditors—it is in the public interest for staff members to cooperate with audits—s 9(2)(
  • Request for auditor’s working papers

    Case notes
    Disclosure of auditor’s scoping discussions and working papers would make auditors more circumspect in what they record, and when and how they record it—good reason to withhold under s 9(2)(g)(i)
  • 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.
  • 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