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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 email communications between councillors relating to industrial dispute

    Case notes
    Disclosure of informal emails between councillors in highly sensitive context would inhibit future expression of free and frank opinions—s 7(2)(f)(i) provides good reason to withhold
  • Request for draft report to Ombudsman

    Case notes
    Release of draft report to Ombudsman would inhibit the free and frank expression of opinions—s 9(2)(g)(i) applies
  • Request for information about assessment of community organisation as approved community service

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(a) OIA did not apply to correspondence from the chair of the community organisation—the fact that a person signed a letter does not necessarily make that letter personal information about them—signatory was acting in his professional capaci
  • Investigation of the Department of Corrections in relation to the provision, access and availability of prisoner health services

    Systemic investigations
    This own motion report, unlike others we have undertaken, did not arise from specific incidents within the prison system, nor from the number of complaints we receive from prisoners.  Our investigation has identified that prisoners have reasonable access to Health Services and generally they receive healthcare equivalent to members of the wider community. However, the service is not without its problems and in the future, it may not be able to meet the healthcare needs of such a diverse population effectively.
  • Request for investigation report relating to a personal grievance

    Case notes
    Sections 9(2)(a) and 9(2)(ba)(i) and (ii) OIA applied—privacy and confidentiality in employment context—express obligation of confidence to parties and other contributors—release would be likely to prejudice the future supply of information needed to de
  • Request for information about an employment investigation (personal grievance)

    Case notes
    Privacy and confidentiality grounds apply but need for accountability when things go wrong— seniority of the individuals involved—extent of information in the public domain—other means of scrutiny and regulation—third party review satisfied the public interest in this case
  • Request for information about employment investigation involving misuse of letterhead by Police officer

    Case notes
    Sections 9(2)(a) and 9(2)(ba)(i) OIA applied—privacy and confidentiality in employment context—withholding necessary to protect the officer’s privacy—express or implied obligation of confidence—release would be likely to prejudice the future supply of i
  • Request for information about an employment investigation (withholding grounds)

    Case notes
    Privacy and confidentiality grounds applied—need for accountability when things go wrong— extent of information in the public domain—need to provide the ‘full picture’—nature and seriousness of the wrongdoing¬—whether other means of scrutiny or regulation—release of summary information to satisfy public interest
  • Submission of the Ombudsmen - Corrections Amendment Bill

    Submissions
    We had a limited opportunity to comment on the draft Corrections Amendment Bill (the Bill) and some amendments were made as a consequence of our submissions.  However, there remain other matters which concern us.
  • Request for communications strategy relating to legal aid reform

    Case notes
    Request for information about a communications strategy—s 9(2)(g)(i) provides good reason to withhold two sentences
  • Request for comments generated during OIA decision making process

    Case notes
    Disclosure would inhibit advisors or officials from expressing or recording free and frank advice on OIA requests in the future—good reason to withhold under s 9(2)(g)(i)
  • Request for draft press releases

    Case notes
    Release would impact on the effectiveness of the process of drafting press releases in future, because officials would be reluctant to be candid or to openly express their initial thoughts in writing—s 9(2)(g)(i) applies
  • Request for draft ministerial inquiry report

    Case notes
    Release of early and annotated draft would inhibit ministerial appointees from expressing free and frank opinions in future and sharing drafts with the Ministry of Justice—public interest met by availability of final report—s 9(2)(g)(i) applies
  • 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