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  • Request for stock take report on the Crime Reduction Strategy

    Case notes
    Report by external consultant not advice tendered by Ministers or officials—s 9(2)(f)(iv) did not apply
  • Request for risk assessment report on Hut Creek Mine

    Case notes
    Release would prejudice or disadvantage agency’s negotiations to acquire mining permit— s 9(2)(j) applies
  • Report on complaints arising from aerial spraying

    Systemic investigations
    In June 2003 I received complaints from Ms Jane Schaverien, then of Auckland but now of Wellington, to investigate under the Ombudsmen Act 1975 the question whether the information given to Ministers by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry was inadequate regarding the possible dangers associated with the widespread concentrated use of Foray 48B in West Auckland, and in relation to the Ministry of Health, whether the Ministry had failed to pursue its responsibilities under the Health Act, 1956, or had abdicated those responsibilities in favour of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. In September 2003 I received a complaint from a Hamilton resident, Ms Michelle Rhodes, in generally similar terms regarding the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. These complaints arose from the aerial spraying operations carried out on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in West Auckland to eliminate the Painted Apple Moth, and in parts of Hamilton to eliminate the Asian Gypsy Moth. In relation to West Auckland these operations began on a comparatively small-scale in January 2002, they were continued on a much larger scale through to May 2003, and were finally completed in May 2004.
  • Request for address information to assist enforcement of judgement orders

    Case notes
    Landlords obtained judgment orders from Courts or Tenancy Tribunal against former tenants but were unable to have them executed as current address for judgment debtors unknown— requested current address information from Department of Work and Income (now part of MSD)—information withheld to protect clients’ privacy, and future supply of information— public interest in maintaining the proper administration of justice and promoting respect for the law outweighed privacy interest—MSD agreed to provide address information direct to Department for Courts
  • 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 information about serious and sentinel event reports

    Case notes
    Request to District Health Board for information relating to ‘serious and sentinel events’—22 SSE reports withheld in full—s 9(2)(a) applies to information identifying patients’ families and medical staff—s 9(2)(ba)(i) applies to information identifying medical staff as release would impact negatively on willingness of staff to report incidents and to cooperate with subsequent investigations—s 9(1) public interest in release to promote the accountability of the DHB for management of individual cases and to assure the public that any identified deficiencies are being remedied—reports released with deletions—two ‘protected quality assurance activity’ reports withheld—s 59 of Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act prohibits disclosure of information gained in course of a protected quality assurance activity but s 60 allows release of information that does not identify a particular individual—reports released with deletions
  • Request for electronic copy of proposed electorate boundaries

    Case notes
    Information was not publicly available in the form requested—s 18(d) did not apply
  • Request for costs of advertising campaign

    Case notes
    Release would undermine strategy to increase advertising revenue—s 9(2)(i) applies
  • Annual Report 2006/2007

    Annual reports
    One of the key outcomes of their work sought by the Ombudsmen is ongoing improvement and better performance by Government agencies. We continue to encourage agencies to set up their own internal review systems, where possible independ
  • Request for Treasury analysis on emissions trading scheme

    Case notes
    Information part of ongoing stream of work—release, with or without the context, would compromise the policy development process—s 9(2)(f)(iv) applies—overall public interest not served by disclosure of information that would undermine policy development—most advice would be released proactively when the framework document was released
  • Request for advice on daylight savings and 2011 Rugby World Cup

    Case notes
    Anticipatory advice—no opinions or recommendations—s 9(2)(f)(iv) does not apply—public interest in disclosure—issues of national importance demand timely transparency
  • 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 report on de-merging traffic enforcement function from Police

    Case notes
    Request for copy of report on de-merging traffic enforcement function from Police—report was subject of draft Cabinet paper currently under consultation with coalition party—s 18(d) incorrectly relied upon
  • Request for draft answers to parliamentary questions

    Case notes
    Draft answers to parliamentary questions protected by s 9(2)(f)(iv)—parliamentary process sufficiently held the Minister to account
  • Request for composition and active ingredients of veterinary medicine

    Case notes
    Early release of product formulation would inform competitors of what will be brought to market, enabling them to impede the product’s entry or bolster their own marketing—the likely degree of impact would be unreasonable—public interest in promoting public participation does not outweigh the need to withhold—s 9(2)(b)(ii) applies
  • Request for details of 404 land covenants

    Case notes
    Complaint about s 18(f) refusal resolved by release of other information
  • Request for advice on electoral finance

    Case notes
    Request for advice generated on Government’s proposals for electoral finance—advice formed part of ongoing process and no decisions had been made—s 9(2)(f)(iv) provides good reason to withhold
  • Request for CAB 100 forms

    Case notes
    Request for all CAB 100 forms since the 2005 general election—convention of confidentiality surrounding the Government’s political consultation processes—public interest in disclosure not sufficiently compelling to outweigh the need to withhold under s 9(2)(f)(iv)—need for confidentiality extended beyond the resolution of the particular issues—at least as long as the particular governmental arrangement endured
  • Charge for supply of information about Maori interests in the management of petroleum

    Case notes
    Charge avoided by allowing inspection subject to conditions
  • Request for TVNZ footage of court case

    Case notes
    Footage could be used by other producers and so disadvantage TVNZ in carrying out its commercial activity as a broadcaster of news, current affairs and documentaries—s 9(2)(i) applies
  • Request for names of psychiatrists who undertake section 60 reviews under the Mental Health Act

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(g)(ii) OIA applied—MOH provided evidence of past instances of harassment—Ombudsman consulted employees—reasonable likelihood that release would lead to improper pressure or harassment which would detrimentally impact on willingness and abil
  • Immigration New Zealand unreasonable to rely on inaccurate and prejudicial health information when declining permit

    Case notes
    Whether Immigration New Zealand was reasonable to decline to grant a work permit on health grounds because the applicant had active multidrug-resistant tuberculosis—Ombudsman concluded INZ policy and case law requires an applicant to be given a reasonable opportunity to comment on information which is potentially prejudicial to an application before a decision is made
  • Request for list of reports received by Minister

    Case notes
    Request for four months worth of dates, titles and reference numbers of reports—decision making and quality assurance did not constitute ‘collation’ or ‘research’—release with caveat would address issues around reliability of data—s 18(f) did not apply, particularly in light of ability to extend time to respond
  • Request for advice relating to Amendment Bill

    Case notes
    Cabinet had approved legislative proposals in principle but still key steps to be taken before Bill could be introduced to the House—confidentiality required in order to protect the executive government’s ability to develop and negotiate political support for the draft legislation, in a timely and orderly fashion—s 9(2)(f)(iv) applies—opportunities for public participation in legislative process once draft legislation introduced
  • Request for Ministerial briefing on citizenship review

    Case notes
    Information not of an advisory nature—information not related to executive government decision making process—s 9(2)(f)(iv) does not apply
  • Request for medical waiver statistics

    Case notes
    Task involved in manually reviewing tens of thousands of applications was ‘substantial’
  • Request for numbers of staff with criminal convictions

    Case notes
    Request involved manual search of over 4,500 files and 2000 hours—refusal under s 18(f) justified
  • 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.
  • Charge for supply of information about DOC Recommended Area for Protection

    Case notes
    Agency sought to recover cost of supplying information on the basis that it was commercially valuable—experts’ reports, submissions regarding the boundaries of the proposed Recommended Area for Protection, and deeds of agreement—no justification for charging on such a basis.
  • Immigration New Zealand conducts unreasonable interview for residence applicant

    Case notes
    Immigration New Zealand (INZ) accepts its interview of residence applicant had been unreasonable and offered fresh assessment following Ombudsman’s investigation