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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 offender’s photo on police file

    Case notes
    Rape victim sought photograph of attacker whose face she had never seen—Police refused the request to protect the privacy of the offender—s 9(2)(a) applied—public interest in assisting victims of crime to recover from trauma and move on with their lives—balance of competing privacy and public interest considerations needed to be made—appropriate to make photograph available for viewing subject to appropriate conditions
  • Request for qualifications and work history of staff at Polytechnic Department

    Case notes
    Request for details about staff at Polytechnic—withheld under s 9(2)(a) to protect privacy—public interest in ensuring employment practices of Polytechnic are transparent and fair—met by summary release of staff details and selection process
  • Request for names and email addresses of people consulted on draft speech

    Case notes
    Recipients and senders of emails consulted—disclosure would not inhibit senior public servants from expressing free and frank opinions in future—however others would be inhibited
  • Request for comments on early draft cabinet papers

    Case notes
    Request for documents regarding Kyoto Protocol—information contained initial Treasury comments on draft versions of cabinet paper—part of informal consultation early in policy making process—concern that release would result in officials being less co-operative and formalise the process—withholding necessary to maintain effective conduct of public affairs
  • Department of Corrections required to state reasons for security classification

    Case notes
    Prison inmate complained that his security classification had been unreasonably assessed and Ombudsman concluded the Department failed to provide ‘strong reasons’ (which must be stated)—Ombudsman found the Prison officers had based their classification on uncorroborated, unrecorded, verbal statement made by another inmate—Ombudsman upheld complaint based on inequitable situation that would result if prison relied solely on this information, however, the inmate released before any recommendation could be made
  • Department of Corrections revises guidelines on implications for visitors possessing drugs

    Case notes
    Prison banned inmate’s family members from visiting for 12-months after small amount of cannabis found in their possession—the inmate complained that the duration of ban was unreasonable but the Department of Corrections noted it had zero tolerance policy for drugs with an automatic 12-month prohibition order to be placed on anyone found with them on prison property—Ombudsman concluded blanket ban unreasonable and the Department agreed each case to be considered on merits and prepared guidelines for prisons—Ombudsman advised inmate to apply for a review of prohibition order under the new guidelines
  • Request for communications between Chief of Defence Force and Prime Minister

    Case notes
    MP requested information on the restructuring of the NZDF—two letters from the Chief of Defence Force to the Prime Minister regarding draft reports withheld under s 9(2)(g)(i)—distinction between substantive comment about draft reports and minor editorial suggestions—substantive comments were recordings of Chief of Defence Force’s free and frank discussions with Prime Minister—part of Chief of Defence Force role is to advise Prime Minister but he would not have reduced comments to writing if he had thought they would be made public—free and frank comments needed to maintain constructive working relationship with Prime Minister—s 9(2)(g)(i) applied to substantive comments but not to remaining information
  • Request for information about an inmate’s whereabouts and rehabilitation programmes

    Case notes
    Written submission to Parole Board on potential release of an offender—submitter advised that inmate entitled to have access to her submission—submitter sought information about the inmate’s whereabouts and rehabilitation programmes—s 9(2)(a) applied—Department had already provided the requester with general information about types of courses and rehabilitation programmes available to inmates which met the public interest—In future Parole Board should advise persons making submissions that they could request that personal details be withheld from offender to protect their privacy
  • Request for details of expenditure by University for private residence of senior staff member

    Case notes
    Request for details of expenditure by University for private residence of senior staff member—request refused to protect privacy—privacy interest existed and needed protection—public interest in University being held accountable for expenditure of public money—balance of competing interests best met by release of approximate value of items purchased, together with contextual statement giving background information about the purchase
  • Request for early stage policy advice relating to paid parental leave

    Case notes
    Request for information relating to paid parental leave policy—information withheld to maintain collective ministerial responsibility, protect confidentiality of advice and free and frank exchange—in the circumstances no good reason to withhold
  • Request for minute from Chief of Air Staff to Chief of Defence Force

    Case notes
    Request for minute from Chief of Air Staff to Chief of Defence Force regarding return of aircraft to Samoa to uplift a civilian passenger—minute contained free and frank expressions of opinion—factual information and summary of opinions released—manner in which opinions expressed particularly frank—s 9(2)(g)(i) applied—public interest in release satisfied by release of summary
  • Request for details of course attended by prisoner

    Case notes
    Request for details of course attended by prisoner—information withheld on privacy grounds—seriousness of offence did not extinguish right to privacy—studying was essential component of rehabilitation—public interest met by disclosure of tertiary institution and circumstances of attendance
  • Request for still photograph from covert surveillance camera

    Case notes
    Request for still photograph from covert video surveillance camera—person featured in videotape convicted of offence—privacy interest not outweighed by any countervailing public interest favouring disclosure
  • Request for psychiatric records of deceased sister

    Case notes
    Request for psychiatric records of deceased sister—records included notes from medical professionals and family members—privacy established—public interest considerations outweighed need to withhold all information
  • Request for information about staff and salaries in the Prime Minister’s office

    Case notes
    Request for detailed information about the number of persons in the Prime Minister’s office and their salaries—information withheld to protect privacy of individuals—s 9(2)(a) applied to protect some of the information requested but public interest identified in release of worthwhile information about expenditure on personnel in PM’s office—total expenditure released—s 9(1)
  • Request made by employer to WINZ for information about employee

    Case notes
    Request made by employer to WINZ for information about employee—request refused on privacy grounds—information required for Employment Tribunal hearing—no countervailing public interest considerations outweighing need to withhold
  • Request for information relating to the employment investigation of Unit Manager at Prison

    Case notes
    Request for information relating to employment investigation of Unit Manager at Prison—information withheld on privacy and confidentiality grounds—information at issue protected, subject to release of appropriate summaries of this information to satisfy the public interest in accountability
  • Request for details of late husband’s criminal record

    Case notes
    Request by widow for details of late husband’s criminal record—request declined to protect privacy of deceased person—balance between requester’s circumstances and knowledge of late husband’s criminal record and deceased person’s privacy interests—consultation with Privacy Commissioner—information released
  • Request for details of address of incorrect recipient of parcel

    Case notes
    Photographic work sent to wrong address by Creative New Zealand—recipient disposed of parcel—photographer sought information concerning loss—privacy interests of name and address of recipient—public interest in photographer having all relevant information to enable legal rights to be assessed outweighed privacy interest
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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
  • 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