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  • Confidential advice to government: A guide to section 9(2)(f)(iv) of the OIA

    Official information
    One reason for withholding official information is to ‘maintain the constitutional convention protecting the confidentiality of advice tendered by Ministers and officials’—section 9(2)(f)(iv) of the OIA.
  • The OIA and the public policy making process: A guide to how the OIA applies to information generated in the context of the public policy making process

    Official information
    This guide explains the most common reasons why it can sometimes be necessary to withhold official information generated in the context of the public policy making process.
  • Constitutional conventions: A guide to sections 9(2)(f)(i)-(iii) of the OIA

    Official information
    This guide deals with the 'constitutional conventions' withholding ground in section 9(2)(f) of the OIA.
  • Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority not unreasonable in tender process

    Case notes
    Complaint about tender process when tenderer found its partner had also bid individually but was not informed by EECA—Ombudsman concluded the process followed was not unreasonable and had already been reviewed by independent reviewer
  • Request for Policy Advisory Group briefings to Prime Minister about infant formula threat

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(f)(iv) applies to PAG briefings to Prime Minister subject to public interest test— relationship between PAG and the Prime Minister, in his or her constitutional role as leader of the Government, is unique—complete confidentiality in interactions with his or her closest advisers is required to support the Prime Minister in carrying out that role
  • Request for information regarding rental housing warrants of fitness

    Case notes
    Section 9(2)(f)(iv) provides good reason to withhold some documents—Cabinet decision making incomplete—publicity from release would impede the Cabinet and Minister from making balanced, efficient and effective decision—Minister had addressed public interest in participation and accountability through disclosure of bulk of information at issue
  • Adequacy of ex gratia payment to remedy mistake by Customs

    Case notes
    NZ Customs officer rejected passenger on flight because water damage on passport—Ombudsman found officers failed to process the passport adequately and caused considerable cost to passenger because of this failure—complainant upheld and complainant received full payment to cover financial losses
  • Department of Internal Affairs provides reasonable service and advice to traveller on temporary passport

    Case notes
    Whether the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) reasonably handled revalidation of a passport for New Zealand citizen travelling on temporary passport—Ombudsman concluded DIA had made every effort to inform the complainant of the steps needed to have his passport validated
  • Request for information redacted from Ministerial briefings and Cabinet papers on telecommunications and ultra-fast broadband

    Case notes
    While some decisions had been made, others were still required, and disclosure would prejudice the orderly and effective conduct of ongoing advisory and decision making processes
  • Request for advice to Local Government Commission

    Case notes
    No ministerial or executive government decision making process would be undermined by release—draft and final versions of the advice were substantially similar and the advice was in the nature of a careful and considered critique—no good reason to withhold
  • Request for advice regarding proposals for the future of Christchurch education

    Case notes
    Decision was not justified under s 9(2)(f)(iv) because Cabinet had already made high level decisions and the key elements of the plan had been announced—strong public interest in release
  • Request for Cabinet paper on decision to retain newborn blood spot cards

    Case notes
    Decisions had been made—information did not reveal advice that would subsequently be tendered—s 9(2)(f)(iv) does not apply
  • Request for report on application to enter negotiations to integrate school

    Case notes
    While the report itself had been considered, it was part of a longer term process of advice—disclosure would prejudice the orderly and effective conduct of ongoing advisory and decision making processes
  • Request for Cabinet paper relating to review of Overseas Investment Act

    Case notes
    Disclosure would prejudice orderly and effective conduct of ongoing advisory and decision making processes
  • Request for information relating to Whānau Ora

    Case notes
    Disclosure while policy advice still under consideration by Ministers would prejudice ongoing decision making process—disclosure of inter-agency consultation would inhibit future expression of free and frank opinions by officials
  • Request for information about review of schools’ operational funding

    Case notes
    Information not of an advisory nature—information tendered by an external advisory group, not Ministers or officials—disclosure would not prejudice ability of Ministers to consider advice eventually tendered by officials—s 9(2)(f)(iv) did not apply
  • Department of Internal Affairs not unreasonable to cancel passport

    Case notes
    Department of Internal Affairs—decision to recall and cancel complainant’s NZ passport – position determined by terms of legislation
  • Request for Information relating to appointment of an honorary consul in Monaco

    Case notes
    Confidentiality can diminish over time—s 9(2)(f)(iv) does not apply
  • Request for advice on electoral finance, after the introduction of the Electoral Finance Bill

    Case notes
    Introduction of Bill constituted discrete end-point in the policy development process—disclosure would not prejudice ability of Ministers to consider advice eventually tendered by officials—s 9(2)(f)(iv) does not apply
  • Request for options and analysis in review of NZ Superannuation Portability

    Case notes
    Cabinet had agreed to package of proposals but agreement was subject to funding in Budget— Budget secrecy only applies if decision has been made to include proposals in Budget—analysis protected by s 9(2)(f)iv) but not bare options—advice two years old and no advice issued about which options were under consideration—strong public interest in release of bare options
  • Request for information about funding of Resource Teachers

    Case notes
    Advice provided in context of Budget but bid unsuccessful—Minister asked for bid to be resubmitted in next Budget—9(2)(f)(iv) applied to much of the information at issue, but not all of it—Minister released some general information but continued to withhold detailed analysis—overall public interest not served by the disclosure of advice that may undermine the effective preparation of next Budget
  • Request for information concerning South Auckland primary teacher supply

    Case notes
    Decisions had been made—disclosure of abandoned options posed no risk—s 9(2)(f)(iv) does not apply
  • 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
  • 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 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 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 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
  • 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 advice and ‘think piece’ on reprioritisation or savings in Vote Education

    Case notes
    Disclosure of internal discussion documents and advice to Ministers would prejudice ongoing decision making process—disclosure of internal ‘think piece’ would inhibit future expression of free and frank opinions by officials—ss 9(2)(f)(iv) and 9(2)(g)(i) provide good reason to withhold