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  • Report on an unannounced inspection of Whanganui Prison - 4 September 2018

    OPCAT reports
    The following report has been prepared in my capacity as a National Preventive Mechanism under the Crimes of Torture Act 1989 (COTA). My function under the COTA is to examine and make any recommendations that I consider appropriate to improve the treatment and conditions of detained persons in a number of places of detention, including prisons. This report examines the treatment and conditions of persons detained in Whanganui Prison.
  • Request for information about staff grievances and allegations of bullying

    Opinions
    Sam Sherwood, on behalf of Stuff, made a request to Selwyn District Council for information about staff grievances and allegations of bullying.
  • Request for business plan for Christchurch Convention and Exhibition Centre

    Case notes
    Competitors could copy or adopt third party’s methodology and strategy and devise plans based on its established operating systems which would unreasonably prejudice its commercial position—information subject to an explicit obligation of confidence and of a confidential nature—release would damage the public interest by making suppliers reluctant to participate in future procurement processes
  • Request for draft report prepared by PwC on Auckland Stadium

    Case notes
    Report refused because it was in draft form and commercially sensitive—parts of report withholdable however no basis for blanket withholding—strong public interest in release of report in part
  • Report on an unannounced follow-up inspection of Christchurch Women's Prison - 4 April 2018

    OPCAT reports
    In 2007, the Ombudsmen were designated one of the National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) under the Crimes of Torture Act (COTA), with responsibility for examining and monitoring the general conditions and treatment of detainees in New Zealand prisons.
  • Request for draft guidelines on religious instruction and observance in schools

    Case notes
    Officials still in the process of drafting—premature disclosure in advance of the planned public consultation process was not in the overall public interest
  • Report on an unannounced inspection of Arohata Upper Prison - 21 March 2018

    OPCAT reports
    The Upper Prison was facing considerable challenges. Resources, infrastructure and staffing were under pressure, which was compounded by the geographical separation from the administrative centre at Tawa. Day-to-day operating systems and arrangements for dealing with women were not fully embedded. Reception and induction processes were poor, and information for foreign prisoners was not available. Significant delays in access to personal property were a source of frustration for many women, reflected in the growing number of complaints and misconducts.
  • Request for DHB financial reporting data

    Case notes
    While release 1 month after refusal would have been ‘soon’ there was no reasonable certainty release would occur by then—agency should reasonably have foreseen delay in obtaining Ministerial input due to election—Section 18(d) did not apply
  • Request for emails between MP and university researchers

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(ba)(i) OIA did not apply—no obligation of confidence—information voluntarily supplied with no reference to confidentiality—release of ‘benign’ information with the consent of the supplier would not be likely to prejudice the future supply o
  • Request for draft reports prepared by EY on Information Services

    Case notes
    Draft reports were in fact final reports—some information publicly available—negotiations had been concluded—neither s 7(2)(c)(ii) nor s 7(2)(i) apply—significant public interest in release to promote transparency of Council’s decision making processes and accountability for expenditure of ratepayer money
  • Request for statistics on allegations of assault by Corrections staff

    Case notes
    Requirements of Operations Manual meant source information to answer request should be held—manual compilation is not creation—s 18(g) does not apply—unreasonable to rely on s 18(f) when the fundamental difficulty in providing the information was down to the Department’s own administrative lapses
  • Immigration New Zealand’s decision to issue Deportation Liability Notice unreasonable in circumstances

    Case notes
    Immigration New Zealand (INZ)’s decision to issue a Deportation Liability Notice (DLN) was unreasonable—compliance officer inferred situation that complainant was then not given an opportunity to explain—Ombudsman sustained complaint—INZ restored immigration status to complainant with open conditions
  • Request for Skypath business case and procurement plan

    Case notes
    Releasing business case and procurement plan would unreasonably prejudice the commercial position of the private partner in a public private partnership—withholding strengths and weaknesses of negotiating position necessary to enable Council to carry on negotiations without prejudice or disadvantage—ss 7(2)(b)(ii), 7(2)(c)(i), 7(2)(i) apply
  • Request for draft venue development strategy

    Case notes
    Draft venue development strategy prepared by consultant—refused because commercial and confidential—analysis preliminary and high-level—s 7(2)(f)(i) applies—public interest requires disclosure of a summary statement
  • Request for draft internal review of International Visitor Survey

    Case notes
    Internal review still in draft form—redacted comments comprised preliminary views of individual within agency—s 9(2)(g)(i) applied—no overriding public interest in disclosure
  • Department of Corrections staff to follow legislative requirements when segregating inmate

    Case notes
    Department of Corrections held prisoner in Management Unit without following required procedure—segregation legislation and regulations are clear and prescriptive
  • 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 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 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 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 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 details of 404 land covenants

    Case notes
    Complaint about s 18(f) refusal resolved by release of other information
  • Charge for supply of information about Maori interests in the management of petroleum

    Case notes
    Charge avoided by allowing inspection subject to conditions
  • 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 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 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