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  • Report on an unannounced inspection of Whanganui Prison - 4 September 2018

    OPCAT reports
    The following report has been prepared in my capacity as a National Preventive Mechanism under the Crimes of Torture Act 1989 (COTA). My function under the COTA is to examine and make any recommendations that I consider appropriate to improve the treatment and conditions of detained persons in a number of places of detention, including prisons. This report examines the treatment and conditions of persons detained in Whanganui Prison.
  • Request for list of proposed Significant Natural Areas

    Case notes
    Negotiations concluded—s 7(2)(i) does not apply
  • Request for names of staff and contractors involved in producing crime and safety survey

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(g)(ii) OIA applied to staff names—on basis of past conduct Ombudsman satisfied that requester would engage in improper pressure or harassment that would impact on the Ministry’s ability to attract and retain staff and contactors—section 9(2
  • Request for information about staff grievances and allegations of bullying

    Opinions
    Sam Sherwood, on behalf of Stuff, made a request to Selwyn District Council for information about staff grievances and allegations of bullying.
  • Request for draft report prepared by PwC on Auckland Stadium

    Case notes
    Report refused because it was in draft form and commercially sensitive—parts of report withholdable however no basis for blanket withholding—strong public interest in release of report in part
  • Request for names of MSD staff in emails about the drafting of a Bill

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA did not apply—not necessary to withhold staff names to protect their privacy—no information to suggest privacy or safety concerns, or risk of improper pressure or harassment.
  • Report on an unannounced follow-up inspection of Christchurch Women's Prison - 4 April 2018

    OPCAT reports
    In 2007, the Ombudsmen were designated one of the National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) under the Crimes of Torture Act (COTA), with responsibility for examining and monitoring the general conditions and treatment of detainees in New Zealand prisons.
  • Request for draft guidelines on religious instruction and observance in schools

    Case notes
    Officials still in the process of drafting—premature disclosure in advance of the planned public consultation process was not in the overall public interest
  • Report on an unannounced inspection of Arohata Upper Prison - 21 March 2018

    OPCAT reports
    The Upper Prison was facing considerable challenges. Resources, infrastructure and staffing were under pressure, which was compounded by the geographical separation from the administrative centre at Tawa. Day-to-day operating systems and arrangements for dealing with women were not fully embedded. Reception and induction processes were poor, and information for foreign prisoners was not available. Significant delays in access to personal property were a source of frustration for many women, reflected in the growing number of complaints and misconducts.
  • Request for staff names in employment investigation report into Joanne Harrison

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA applied—significant privacy interest given the nature and content of report and impact on individuals—no public interest override.
  • Request for draft reports prepared by EY on Information Services

    Case notes
    Draft reports were in fact final reports—some information publicly available—negotiations had been concluded—neither s 7(2)(c)(ii) nor s 7(2)(i) apply—significant public interest in release to promote transparency of Council’s decision making processes and accountability for expenditure of ratepayer money
  • Request for names and address for service of two Police officers

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) and 9(2)(g)(ii) OIA applied—past conduct suggested the requester would publish information targeting or encouraging others to target the officers in a way that would breach their personal privacy, and subject them to improper pressure or
  • Request for Skypath business case and procurement plan

    Case notes
    Releasing business case and procurement plan would unreasonably prejudice the commercial position of the private partner in a public private partnership—withholding strengths and weaknesses of negotiating position necessary to enable Council to carry on negotiations without prejudice or disadvantage—ss 7(2)(b)(ii), 7(2)(c)(i), 7(2)(i) apply
  • Request for draft internal review of International Visitor Survey

    Case notes
    Internal review still in draft form—redacted comments comprised preliminary views of individual within agency—s 9(2)(g)(i) applied—no overriding public interest in disclosure
  • Request for statistics on allegations of assault by Corrections staff

    Case notes
    Requirements of Operations Manual meant source information to answer request should be held—manual compilation is not creation—s 18(g) does not apply—unreasonable to rely on s 18(f) when the fundamental difficulty in providing the information was down to the Department’s own administrative lapses
  • Department of Corrections staff to follow legislative requirements when segregating inmate

    Case notes
    Department of Corrections held prisoner in Management Unit without following required procedure—segregation legislation and regulations are clear and prescriptive
  • 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 reports relating to INCIS project

    Case notes
    Request to Police for INCIS reports—reports withheld in their entirety—change in circumstances since request refused affecting outcome of review—good reason to withhold information would be established if request made at time of review—investigation discontinued on basis that whatever view might be formed as to correctness of decision to withhold, no recommendation for release would be made
  • 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)
  • Request for papers provided to the treasurer during a 12 month period

    Case notes
    Request for papers provided to the Treasurer during 12 month period—substantial volume of information to be researched and collated
  • 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