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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 draft documents, internal emails, handwritten notes regarding Government response to Law Commission discussion paper

    Case notes
    Disclosure of draft documents would inhibit future expression of free and frank opinions by officials—s 9(2)(g)(i) applies
  • Request for Ministerial briefing on Auckland CBD rail loop

    Case notes
    Disclosure of ministerial briefing conveyed under pressure of time would inhibit future expression of free and frank opinions by officials—s 9(2)(g)(i) applied—public interest met by release of later document
  • Request for internal complaint assessment memorandum

    Case notes
    Disclosure of preliminary complaint assessment memo would make complaints assessment staff reluctant in future to fully express their views in writing—s 9(2)(g)(i) provides good reason to withhold
  • Offender’s request for victim’s medical examination

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA applied—withholding necessary to protect highly sensitive personal information about the victim of sexual offending—no public interest override
  • Request for crisis group reports and working material regarding Government’s response to kidnapping

    Case notes
    Request for information about Government’s response to kidnapping of NZ resident in Baghdad—s 9(2)(g)(i) provides good reason to withhold crisis group reports and working material but not the final review of the hostage-taking—public interest met by disclosure of final review—final review released with redactions
  • Request for individual’s immigration history

    Case notes
    Privacy ground applied and not outweighed by public interest because discovery available
  • Investigation of the Department of Corrections in relation to the complaint procedures of Corrections Inmate Employment

    Systemic investigations
    Corrections Inmate Employment (CIE) is a branch of the Department of Corrections’ (the Department) Rehabilitation and Re-integration Services group. It operates various industries at the prisons, which afford prisoners employment while they are in prison. Following the receipt of complaints from prisoners employed by CIE, concern was expressed about how CIE was handling prisoners’ complaints. I was uncertain whether this concern was justified. I decided it was appropriate on my own motion to undertake an investigation into the efficiency and effectiveness of the complaint procedures by which prisoners employed by CIE may complain to the Department about CIE and its staff.
  • Request for draft public consultation document

    Case notes
    Only minor differences between draft and final consultation document—final consultation document was publicly available—release would not inhibit the free and frank expression of opinions necessary for the effective conduct of public affairs
  • Request for internal discussion paper on privatisation

    Case notes
    Two drafts of an internal discussion paper commissioned by Treasury’s Executive Leadership Team—Government had not sought advice on the issue—s 9(2)(g)(i) provides good reason to withhold
  • Request for identities of guests who dined at a council’s expense

    Case notes
    Accountability for spending public money—level of disquiet, speculation or controversy—s 7(2)(a) did not provide good reason to withhold
  • 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
  • Request for details of severance payment and salary relating to second tier manager

    Case notes
    Request for details of payments made to former employee of Airways Corporation—information refused under s 9(2)(a) and s 9(2)(b)(ii)—release of salary information in a $20,000 band struck the right balance between the established privacy interest and the public interest in disclosure
  • Request by natural mother for maternity notes and paediatric files of her children who were in interim High Court wardship

    Case notes
    Request by natural mother for maternity notes and paediatric files of her children—children in interim High Court wardship—information previously made available—s 9(2)(a) outweighed by public interest in access to the information for the purposes of custody hearing
  • Request for report by District Inspector into care by mental health services of person convicted of murder

    Case notes
    Request for report by District Inspector into care by mental health services of person convicted of murder—much of the information withheld to protect privacy of individuals—some information already publicly available in course of offender’s trial—public interest in District Inspector’s findings—most information released