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  • Request regarding applications for consent to acquire specified property

    Case notes
    Request for information on existence of any applications for consent to acquire specified property—s 10 applied since release of such information likely to prejudice the commercial position of either the vendor or potential purchaser(s)
  • Request for information generated and held by NZDF prior to Queens Counsel Inquiry

    Case notes
    MP sought information relating to a letter held by NZDF—prior to responding to the request, Queen’s Counsel investigation into propriety of the letter began— Minister of Defence then refused request—enquiries revealed that NZDF had not identified what information fell within scope of request at time of refusal as inquiry already underway—OIA contemplates that a decision to refuse a request for information will be made with reference to the information itself—once inquiry concluded NZDF able to determine letter was only information at issue— NZDF submitted that letter was not official information because it formed part of inquiry— letter generated and held by NZDF prior to inquiry and for purposes unrelated to the inquiry—letter therefore ‘official information’—Minister agreed to review original decision and later released letter to complainant
  • 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 breathalyser manual

    Case notes
    Requester sought breathalyser manual to aid his defence in court—manual provided to ESR in confidence for purpose of servicing and maintenance—manufacturer would withdraw manuals if released—ESR would no longer be able to maintain breathalyser, which would have a detrimental effect on New Zealand road safety—s 9(2)(ba)(ii) applied—manual only peripherally relevant to requester’s prosecution so no overriding public interest in release
  • Request for details of prison security system

    Case notes
    Prison inmate sought details of prison security system and name of company who installed it—release would be likely to prejudice the integrity of system
  • Request for consultant’s report on potentially contaminated sites

    Case notes
    Requester sought consultant’s report on potentially contaminated sites—Council concerned that information would prejudice site owners’ commercial position when selling land and/or business on that land—s 7(2)(b)(ii)—information already available by way of LIM or PIM request—release would not increase extent of prejudice that already existed—information released on recommendation
  • 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 transcripts of Prime Minister’s press conferences

    Case notes
    Opposition party requested transcripts of Prime Minister’s press conferences—refused—distinction between information imparted by the Prime Minister in her official capacity and information imparted by her in her capacity as Leader of the Labour Party—the former is ‘official information’ but the latter is not—s 2(1)—Prime Minister concerned that release of official information would inhibit free and frank comments to accredited member of the press—only accredited media representatives attend these press conferences but not restricted in their reporting—no good reason under the OIA for refusal
  • Request to Police for information regarding alleged threats made against Judge

    Case notes
    Request for information provided to Police concerning alleged threats made by person/s connected with the requester’s family—refused on the basis that disclosure would reveal identity of the informant—mixture of ’personal information’ and ‘official information’—joint investigation with Privacy Commissioner
  • Request for Crown’s projected figures, budgetary consequences and methodology relating to Treaty of Waitangi negotiations

    Case notes
    Journalist requested forecasts of settlement quantums prepared by OTS— request refused because release would prejudice or disadvantage Crown in carrying on negotiations—information contained details of projected figures and budgetary consequences of different settlement quantums and revealed OTS’s methodology for reaching these figures—disclosure would reveal OTS’s approach to negotiations and falsely give a top dollar figure available to claimants—Ombudsman satisfied Crown’s position in negotiations would be prejudiced by release—public interest in OTS’s transparency and accountability for negotiating with public money met by information already in public arena and made available to claimants during negotiation process—Ombudsman satisfied OTS entitled to rely on section 9(2)(j) to withhold information.
  • Request for draft amendments to the Terrorism (Bombings and Financing) Bill

    Case notes
    Section 18(c)(ii) OIA did not apply—once a select committee has reported back to the House all proceedings of that committee, oral and written, can be referred to and used without any confidentiality restrictions stemming from parliamentary privilege
  • 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 contaminated land information

    Case notes
    Request for contaminated land information—doctoral thesis—information withheld to avoid prejudice to future supply and prejudice to commercial interests of third parties
  • Request for draft state highway route options

    Case notes
    Request for draft state highway route options—public consultation to take place once options finalised—need for undisturbed consideration before consultation
  • Request for copies of returns of electoral expenses and donations by mayoral candidates

    Case notes
    Request for copies of returns of electoral expenses and donations by mayoral candidates—whether the returns constituted ‘official information’ for the purposes of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987—whether an electoral officer under the Local Electoral Act is an officer, employee or member of a local authority—requested information was not official information—Local Electoral Act 2001, ss 12, 14, and 109
  • Request for Fire Officer’s response to allegations

    Case notes
    Request for copy of Fire Officer’s written response to certain allegations made against him by requester and others—information subject to an obligation of confidence and likely to damage the public interest if made available
  • 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 Housing New Zealand’s top ten rental arrears by city or town

    Case notes
    Request for details of Housing New Zealand’s top ten rental arrears by city or town—Housing New Zealand considered release of information would prejudice negotiations to recover rental arrears—public interest in accountability outweighed need to withhold—information released
  • Crown Research Institute’s publication on nicotine in tobacco inadequate

    Case notes
    Publication of research data subsequently found to be flawed—notice of research results to interested parties—adequacy of subsequent retraction—inclusion of contextual material with media release—relationship between an Ombudsman's jurisdiction and issues involving scientific techniques and the course of research—matter of administration—Ombudsmen Act 1975, s 13
  • Ministry of Education reimburses overcharged rental on school owned house

    Case notes
    Tenants renting house from Board of Trustees paid $35 per week more than permitted by the Ministry of Education guidelines and tenants sought reimbursement from the Ministry—the Ministry refused but Ombudsman found the Board was acting as Ministry’s agent and it had been unreasonable for the Ministry to decline reimbursement—the Ombudsman recommended that tenants be fully reimbursed
  • IRD delays verifying student’s address and unreasonably charged late payment penalties

    Case notes
    Student believed her student loan repaid by grandmother and she had had no contact from IRD for eight years—there was no evidence the loan was repaid and IRD accepted there had been an unreasonable excessive delay in contacting student due to lack of valid address—however the IRD had no power to write off initial loan balance but following the Ombudsman’s investigation, agreed to reinstate loan in the current year and cancel accumulated interest and penalties
  • Appeal to Immigration’s Removal Review Authority not dependent on timeliness of visa application process

    Case notes
    Delay in processing application for further visitor’s permit does not hinder an appeal to the Removal Review Authority - Visitor lodged application for further visitor’s permit on day his current permit expired – NZIS advised him 82 days later that his application was declined – also advised him that he should have lodged an appeal against removal 40 days ago – visitor aware of expiry date of original permit and of requirements when seeking a further permit – Ombudsman did not consider NZIS application process or advice was unreasonable – appeal rights to Removal Review Authority not dependent on timeliness of application process – no grounds for Ombudsman to investigate
  • Ministry of Social Development has no authority to require beneficiary to appoint agent

    Case notes
    Illiterate beneficiary preferred to communicate verbally, frequently and often vociferously—the Ministry arranged for beneficiary’s solicitor to become agent—Ombudsman sought advice from Ministry as to authority it was relying on to request appointment of an agent—the Ministry confirmed there was no specific legislative authority— Ombudsman formed view that requirement unreasonable—complainant revoked agency and dealt directly with Ministry again