Ombudsman Jurisdiction (Official Information and Local Information) Omnibus Bill

Ombudsman Jurisdiction (Official Information and Local Information) Omnibus Bill

Member's Bill

Explanatory Note

This omnibus bill, introduced under standing order 267(b) amends the Official Information Act 1982, and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 to enact recommendations of the Law Commission to extend the jusiridcation of the Ombudsman to deal with specified complaints about official information. In its 2012 report The Public's Right to Know: Review of the Official Information Legislation, the Law Commission recommended that the Ombudsman should have jurisdiction to consider complaints that an agency:
(i) failed to offer reasonable assistance to a requester as required by section 13 of the OIA and section 11 of the LGOIMA.
(ii) did not made a reasonable attempt to consult with the requester before refusing a request under section 18(f) of the OIA or section 17(f) of LGOIMA.
(iii) failed to make a decision in response to a request for official information within 20 working days (or a properly extended time limit) or as soon as reasonably practicable.
(iv) failed to make official information available in response to a request within 20 working days (or a properly extended time limit) or as soon as reasonably practicable.
(v) did not properly transfer a request for information, whether fully or partially; or that an agency did not comply with designated time limits for transfers.
(vi) has not complied with its obligations to notify affected third parties prior to releasing their information.
(vii) did not followproper process before deciding to release information.

Ombudsman Jurisdiction (Official Information and Local Information) Omnibus Bill

The Parliament of New Zealand enacts as follows:

1. Title
This Act is the Ombudsman Jurisdiction (Official Information and Local Information) Omnibus Act 2021.

2. Commencement
This Act comes into force on the day after the date on which it received the Royal Assent.

3. Repeal
This Act is repealed on the day one month after the date on which it entered into force.

4. Part 7 Amended
This Act amends the Official Information Act 1982 and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.

5 Amendments to the Official Information Act 1982
Replace section 28 with
"28 Functions of Ombudsmen
(1) It is a function of the Ombudsmen to investigate and review any decision by which a department (for itself and for a departmental agency hosted by it or an interdepartmental executive board serviced by it) or interdepartmental venture or Minister of the Crown or organisation—
(a) refuses to make official information available to any person in response to a request made by that person in accordance with section 12; or
(b) decides, in accordance with section 16 or 17, in what manner or, in accordance with section 15, for what charge a request made in accordance with section 12 is to be granted; or
(c) imposes conditions on the use, communication, or publication of information made available pursuant to a request made in accordance with section 12; or
(d) gives a notice under section 10; or
(e) does not offer reasonable assistance to a requester under section 13.
(f) did not made a reasonable attempt to consult with the requester before refusing a request under section 18(f).
(g) did not properly transfer a request for information, whether fully or partially; or did not comply with designated time limits for transfers.
(h) has not complied with its obligations to notify affected third parties prior to releasing their information.
(i) where information has been released in response to a request, did not follow proper process before deciding to release that information.
(2) It is a function of the Ombudsmen to investigate and review any decision by which the chief executive of a department (for the department and for a departmental agency hosted by it or an interdepartmental executive board serviced by it) or the board of an interdepartmental venture or an officer or an employee of a department or venture authorised by its chief executive or board or a Minister of the Crown or an organisation extends any time limit under section 15A.
(3) An investigation and review under subsection (1) or subsection (2) may be made by an Ombudsman only on complaint being made to an Ombudsman in writing or orally.
(3A) A complaint made orally must be put in writing as soon as practicable.
(4) For the purposes of subsection (1)(a), a refusal to make official information available includes, without limitation, a failure by a department or venture or Minister of the Crown or organisation to—
(a) make a decision in response to a request for official information within 20 working days (or a time limit properly extended under section 15A(3)) or as soon as reasonably practicable.
(b) make official information available in response to a request within 20 working days (or a time limit properly extended under section 15A(3)) or as soon as reasonably practicable.
(5) If an Ombudsman receives a complaint that a department or venture or Minister of the Crown or organisation has refused to make official information available for any of the reasons specified in section 18(e) to (g), the Ombudsman may notify the Chief Archivist appointed under the Public Records Act 2005."

6. Amendments to the Local Government Official Information And Meetings Act 1987
Replace section 27 with
"27 Functions of Ombudsmen
(1) It shall be a function of the Ombudsmen to investigate and review any decision by which a local authority—
(a) refuses to make official information available to any person in response to a request made by that person in accordance with section 10; or
(b) decides, in accordance with section 15 or section 16, in what manner or, in accordance with section 13, for what charge a request made in accordance with section 10 is to be granted; or
(c) imposes conditions on the use, communication, or publication of information made available pursuant to a request made in accordance with section 10; or
(d) gives a notice under section 8.
(e) does not offer reasonable assistance to a requester under section 11.
(f) did not made a reasonable attempt to consult with the requester before refusing a request under section 17(f).
(g) did not properly transfer a request for information, whether fully or partially; or did not comply with designated time limits for transfers.
(h) has not complied with its obligations to notify affected third parties prior to releasing their information.
(i) where information has been released in response to a request, did not follow proper process before deciding to release that information.
(2) It shall be a function of the Ombudsmen to investigate and review any decision by which the chief executive of a local authority, or an officer or employee of a local authority authorised by its chief executive, extends any time limit under section 14.
(3) An investigation and review under subsection (1) or subsection (2) may be made by an Ombudsman only on complaint being made to an Ombudsman in writing or orally.
(3A) A complaint made orally must be put in writing as soon as practicable.
(4) For the purposes of subsection (1)(a), a refusal to make official information available includes, without limitation, a failure by the local authority to—
(a) make a decision in response to a request for official information within 20 working days (or a time limit properly extended under section 14(3)) or as soon as reasonably practicable.
(b) make official information available in response to a request within 20 working days (or a time limit properly extended under section 14(3)) or as soon as reasonably practicable.
(5) If an Ombudsman receives a complaint that a local authority has refused to make official information available for any of the reasons specified in section 17(1)(e) to (g), the Ombudsman may notify the Chief Archivist appointed under the Public Records Act 2005."


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