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  • Request for Associate Minister's letter concerning Let's Get Wellington Moving

    Opinions
    The Hon Julie Anne Genter, Associate Minister of Transport (Associate Minister) sent a letter to the Hon Phil Twyford, Minister of Transport (Minister) during pre-consultation on the Let’s Get Wellington Moving (LGWM) indicative package draft Cabinet pa
  • 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 information relating to Ministry of Education 2012 Special Education School Transport Assessment (SESTA) tender

    Opinions
    In 2012, the Ministry of Education published a Request For Proposals (RFP) for the transport of special needs children for educational purposes called the ‘Special Education School Transport Assistance tender’ (SESTA tender).
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Investigation of the Department of Corrections in relation to the transport of prisoners

    Systemic investigations
    Under the Ombudsmen Act 1975, it is a function of the Ombudsmen to investigate complaints relating to matters of administration affecting persons in their personal capacity against various bodies, including the Department of Corrections (the Department). Pursuant to this Act, the Ombudsmen have power to investigate complaints by prisoners about all aspects of their detention by the Department. On 25 August 2006, prisoner Liam Ashley died as a result of injuries sustained while being transported in a van with other prisoners. Liam was aged 17, and had been the subject of violence by a 25 year old prisoner who was subsequently convicted of Liam’s murder. The Corrections Act 2004 aims to ensure that “custodial sentences and related orders … are administered in a safe, secure, humane, and effective manner”. It is a fundamental responsibility of the Department to achieve this.
  • Department of Conservation unreasonable to cease administrative practice without notice

    Case notes
    Department of Conservation to discontinue without notice a practice which people had come to reasonably rely on—Ombudsman concludes it was unreasonable to cease this administrative practice without notice
  • Department of Conservation within rights on Memorandum of Transfer for land easement agreement

    Case notes
    Agreement for Sale and Purchase between private landowner and Crown—creation of equitable easement—registered Memorandum of Transfer creates legal easement but excludes reference to ‘members of the public’ referred to in equitable easement—whether conduct of Department of Conservation was reasonable—Ombudsman could not assist—effect of Court of Appeal decision
  • 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
  • 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
  • Department of Conservation enables arbitration when rents disputed by licensees occupying foreshore reserve in Marlborough Sounds

    Case notes
    Foreshore rentals charged—lack of appeal mechanism—Department of Conservation agreed to establish a rental arbitration clause in the Marlborough Sounds foreshore licences to enable licensees to challenge rental increases where conflict arose—Ombudsman did not uphold the complaint (about level of rental increase) but the outcome achieved ensures rental increases can be challenged in future
  • Department of Conservation’s actions concerning lease approval were unreasonable, causing stress and financial loss to complainant

    Case notes
    A marine farming company applied for lease under Marine Farming Act—farm already in existence when application made under new legislation—DOC rejected new lease on basis it interfered with public’s usage—matter to go to Planning Tribunal—DOC then approved lease just before Tribunal hearing—complainants claimed the whole process unfair—Ombudsman investigated—DOC agrees to make ex gratia payment to complainants
  • Coal Corporation required to minimise dust problem

    Case notes
    Adequacy of Action–Failure of Coal Corporation to alleviate a coal dust problem and coal fine pond encroachment in the direction of local residents’ houses
  • Ministry of Transport should convey outcome of review into traffic accident involving its staff and public

    Case notes
    Adequacy of investigation into complaints about an accident—adequacy of investigation into accident–case for administrative review of accident and complaint procedures where accidents occur involving a traffic officer and a member of the public
  • Ministry of Transport fails to clarify driver licence record and offers payment for expenses incurred

    Case notes
    Costs—unreasonable decision not to reimburse expenses
  • Transit New Zealand’s contractors required to act responsibly under terms of their contract

    Case notes
    Roading reconstruction-affecting drainage on adjacent private property—damage to property by contractor during reconstruction—liability of Transit New Zealand for contractor’s action
  • Ministry of Transport makes ex-gratia payment following its oppressive unreasonable decision

    Case notes
    Decision to issue Traffic Offence Notice and proceed to prosecute for ‘Careless Use Causing Injury’ alleged to be unreasonable
  • Ministry of Transport not unreasonable to take car keys off driver failing breath test

    Case notes
    Treatment by traffic officers of suspected drunken driver and passenger—adequacy of the law relating to passengers wishing to drive—adequacy of administrative procedures for handling suspected drunken drivers