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  • 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
  • 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 draft advice on establishing a reserve

    Case notes
    Release of early and annotated advice would inhibit the free and frank exchange of opinions between officials drafting advice—general public interest in transparency had been met by disclosure of technical papers that formed the basis of the advice to the Minister, together with the final advice paper
  • Request for draft ministerial and chief executive correspondence

    Case notes
    Release of draft ministerial and chief executive correspondence would inhibit the free and frank expression opinions—s 9(2)(g)(i) applies
  • Request for draft document on Starting Price Adjustment Input Methodology

    Opinions
    For the reasons set out below, I am of the opinion that the Commerce Commission was entitled, under section 9(2)(g)(i) of the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA), to withhold a copy of a draft of a Starting Price Adjustment Input Methodology reque
  • Local Authority not unreasonable to impound horse found untethered on road reserve

    Case notes
    Whether a local authority was unreasonable to impound a horse found untethered on a road reserve—Ombudsman concluded the Regional Council acted reasonably in the circumstances
  • Department of Corrections reasonable to seek removal of prisoner from study course in some circumstances

    Case notes
    Whether the Department of Corrections was reasonable to request the tertiary institution to remove a prisoner from a course at a polytechnic—Ombudsman found Department’s decision to have been reasonable in part
  • Local Authority unreasonable to note requirement for fencing on LIM without inspection

    Case notes
    Whether Local Authority reasonable to include information on Land Information Memorandum (‘LIM’) when property had not been properly inspected—Ombudsman found the Council had no justification for including notation on the LIM and action unreasonable
  • Local Authority unreasonably issued Trespass Notice without warning or opportunity to comment

    Case notes
    Local Authority issued a 2-year trespass notice on complainant immediately in response to disruptive behaviour at a meeting—Ombudsman of opinion that this was unreasonable—no prior warning given first
  • Local Authority fails to independently assess affected parties to a resource consent application

    Case notes
    Local Authority failed to independently identify the parties affected by a resource consent application—applicant had provided Council with a list of affected parties which the Council accepted without independently identifying those parties
  • Local Authority unreasonably failed to consult with residents about building relocation

    Case notes
    Local Authority allowed relocation of building without providing for adequate consultation process with the local community—Ombudsman upheld complaint
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over District Council electoral officer

    Case notes
    Jurisdiction—Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over Council electoral officer—electoral expense returns not subject to Local Government Information and Meetings Act 1982
  • Local Authority unreasonably failed to provide information on LIM

    Case notes
    Local Authority failed to provide information in a Land Information Memorandum(LIM) about outstanding capital contribution for a sewer—Ombudsman considered Council acted unreasonably—Council made payment to complainant in resolution of complaint
  • 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
  • Tertiary Council appointments process controlled by Council

    Case notes
    Nomination for appointment to Tertiary Council pursuant to s 171(2)(f)(ii) Education Act 1989 required workers’ organisation to be consulted—Council refused to appoint organisation’s sole nominee and sought further nominations from organisation—appointment process stalled—alleged unreasonable failure by Council to consult—Ombudsman held consultation confers no rights on an organisation and that Council controlled appointments process
  • 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
  • Local Authority cannot call ‘workshop’ a meeting for purposes of LGOIMA

    Case notes
    Council Workshop—decisions not formally made—requirements of the Act cannot be avoided by calling a meeting a workshop—Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, s 45(1)
  • Councils required to add to LIM matters on neighbouring property if relevant

    Case notes
    Purchaser requested LIM from Council on property he was considering buying—LIM received and property purchased—after purchaser gained possession he discovered neighbour had building consent to drain storm water into his drain—building consent not referred to in LIM report—purchaser sought removal of drain and records about drain, and reimbursement of legal costs—Council advised its practice was to note consents only on applicant’s file - Ombudsman held Council’s actions unreasonable—Council agreed to pay compensation
  • Council should pay for cost of obtaining second legal opinion on straightforward matter raised by complainant

    Case notes
    Property owner disagreed with Council that resource consent was necessary for building house—Council sought external legal advice and billed property owner who refused to pay—Council went to Disputes Tribunal which ordered property owner to pay all legal fees and court costs—property owner complained to Ombudsman who considered legislation and found it to be unambiguous that both the operative and proposed district plans must be complied with—Council agreed issue was straightforward and was aware of legislation and relevant case law—Ombudsman did not consider it necessary for further advice to be obtained on issue—view formed that it was appropriate for Council to exercise discretion under s36(5) of Resource Management Act 1991 and remit charge—in circumstances, Ombudsman also considered it unreasonable for Council not to remit Court and solicitor’s costs payable pursuant to Disputes Tribunal order—recommended all costs be remitted
  • 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