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  • Making official information requests: A guide for requesters

    Official information
    If you are seeking information from a Minister, or central or local government agency, you may be able to ask for it under either the OIA or LGOIMA.
  • Requests for reasons for a decision or recommendation: A guide to section 23 of the OIA and section 22 of the LGOIMA

    Official information
    This is a guide to requests made under section 23 of the OIA (section 22 of the LGOIMA).
  • Conclusive reasons for refusing requests: A guide to the conclusive withholding grounds in section 6 of the OIA and LGOIMA

    Official information
    This is a guide to section 6 of the OIA and LGOIMA, which provides conclusive reasons for withholding official information. These reasons are not subject to a public interest test.
  • 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 reasons about unsuccessful reappointment

    Case notes
    Extent of detail required in response to s 23 request depends on circumstances of particular case – a requester may still have questions after they receive statement of reasons but that does not mean statement is inadequate – s 23(2A) only protects evaluative material that has been ‘supplied’ by someone else
  • 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 reasons about non-appointment

    Case notes
    Inadequate statement of reasons – more detail and specificity necessary to meet the requirements of s 23
  • Request for Department’s reasons for declining application

    Case notes
    Department maintains it had given its reasons previously, in writing and verbally on many occasions—requirements of s 23 had not been met—compliant statement of reasons provided
  • Request for reasons for decision made three years earlier

    Case notes
    Request for reasons for decision made three years earlier—request declined on grounds it was not ‘made within a reasonable time of the making of the decision’—decision to decline request upheld
  • New Zealand Customs Service questioned over acceptance of deposit pursuant to legislation

    Case notes
    Refusal to pay interest following resolution of dispute over Customs value of goods—whether relevant documentation provided at the time of importation—whether s 140 of the Customs Act 1966 (repealed) conferred authority on Department to take deposit—investigation discontinued following discovery that company did not exist as legal entity at the time complaint was made
  • Request for information framed in terms of section 23

    Case notes
    Request framed in terms of s 23—Crown Law sought details of requester’s personal interest in information at issue—requester objected on grounds of his right to seek information—Crown Law had not acted improperly in seeking further information from the requester—if an organisation fails to recognise that a request falls within the scope of s 23 and by error processes it pursuant to the more general provisions in Part 2 of the Act, a requester may be deprived of information to which he or she is entitled—no formal investigation—requester invited to advise Crown Law whether he had any personal interest in the decision in question
  • Serious Fraud Office decision to withhold information under the SFO Act found not to be unreasonable in Ombudsmen Act terms

    Case notes
    The secrecy provisions of Serious Fraud Office Act 1990 and its relationship with Official Information Act were considered in an investigation involving the Serious Fraud Office—a complaint had been made to that agency about an allegation of fraud by a bank official and the agency found no evidence of fraud—the complainant pursued the matter in court, requesting information from the SFO which was declined on the basis of the SFO’s discretion to withhold information—the Ombudsman concluded the OIA did not apply to the information at issue but under the Ombudsmen Act the withholding of the information could be considered (being a decision in terms of the Ombudsmen Act)—the Ombudsman found the SFO’s use of discretion was not unreasonable
  • Department of Conservation resolves impasse concerning ivory-key piano held by New Zealand Customs

    Case notes
    Refusal to release piano imported from United Kingdom—family heirloom from 1920s—need for approval of Department of Conservation under CITES because of ivory content—conflict between New Zealand legislation implementing CITES and European Community Regulations—impasse resolved by acceptance of statutory declaration by family—conflict to be raised with CITES Secretariat
  • Request for reasons for mark awarded for university honours paper

    Case notes
    Request for reasons for mark awarded for university honours paper—refused on grounds information did not exist in documentary form and was not readily retrievable—obligation to provide statement under section 23—statement provided
  • Request for statement of reasons for non-appointment to board

    Case notes
    Request for statement of reasons for non-reappointment to board—matter pursued by third party with consent—information refused under s 9(2)(a)—statement of reasons provided to person not reappointed
  • Request for reasons for decision not to interview job applicant

    Case notes
    Request by unsuccessful applicant for statement of reasons for non-selection for interview—vague, non-specific statement provided—following review fuller statement identifying factors taken into account provided
  • Request for copies of referee reports

    Case notes
    A requester sought copies of referee reports in respect of course she had applied for—refused under s 27(1)(c)—two reports subsequently released with the referees’ consent—third report was evaluative material—implied promise of confidentiality had been provided to the referee—whether other factors made it unfair to withhold—s 23 relevant—institute could withhold report if a statement of reasons was provided