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  • 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 railway operator’s policies and procedures provided to Police

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(ba)(i) OIA did not apply—release of relatively straightforward practice and procedure documents would not be likely to prejudice the future supply of similar information—public interest in releasing information to victim that goes to causes
  • 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 consultant’s advice on financial impact of electricity lines regulation

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(ba)(ii) OIA applied—obligation of confidence attached to consultant’s advice to Commerce Commission while under consideration—release would be likely to damage the public interest in the orderly and effective conduct of the Commission’s sta
  • 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
  • Request for notes of mediation meeting

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(ba)(ii) OIA applied—confidentiality of communications in connection with a mediation—release would be likely to damage the public interest in encouraging parties to settle their disputes without resorting to litigation—no public interest ov
  • 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.
  • Investigation of the Department of Corrections in relation to the detention and treatment of prisoners

    Systemic investigations
    Under the Ombudsmen Act 1975, it is a function of the Ombudsmen to investigate complaints relating to matters of administration affecting persons in their personal capacity against various bodies, including the Department of Corrections (the Department). Pursuant to this Act, the Ombudsmen have power to investigate complaints by prisoners about all aspects of their detention by the Department. At the end of 2004 serious issues related to the treatment of prisoners came to public attention.
  • 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 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 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