Information about actions taken since climate emergency declared

Hugh Davenport made this Official Information request to Dunedin City Council

Response to this request is delayed. By law, Dunedin City Council should normally have responded promptly and by (details and exceptions)

From: Hugh Davenport

Dear Dunedin City Council,

Since you declared a climate emergency, I would like to know what tangible steps you have taken to improve the climate change problem. I would also like to know what steps you have planned for the immediate future, with timelines and action points required.

For all of these actions made or planned, I would like to see data showing how it improved (or will improve).

If no actions have been made or planned to date, I would like to request the reason why the council declared an emergency then did nothing to follow through with that declaration.

Yours faithfully,

Hugh Davenport

Link to this

From: Hugh Davenport

Dear Dunedin City Council,

I note that this request is now overdue. Can the council please respond ASAP. I see that you did not acknowledge receiving this email so potentially the email in the FYI system is incorrect. If this is the case, I'm happy for this to be treated as a new request as of today. However, if you respond to this email, then clearly the email is correct, and the response should have been given today.

If I do not hear back shortly, I will assume the email is incorrect and reach out via another channel.

Yours faithfully,

Hugh Davenport

Link to this

Karen Anderson left an annotation ()

HI Hugh Davenport,
The other requests to the DCC confirm it does receive notifications from fyi, and can use the platform to respond.
It may be relevant the DCC has ranked in the top 5 Agencies for complaints to the Ombudsman for breaches of the LGOIMA in Jan-June 2019.
In my personal experience ignoring the request until the Ombudsman is involved is the most common form of breach.

Link to this

Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Hi Karen,

Yeh I had a wee gander at their other ones and appears that they do get the emails. I've reached out the FYI team to confirm the email was sent to them, and then I will raise a complaint with the Ombudsman.

Cheers,

Hugh

Link to this

Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Email to dcc@dcc.govt.nz, Attention Dr Sue Bidrose (CEO)

Hi,

I'm writing to you today in your capacity as the Chief Executive of the Dunedin City Council. I have used the main email dcc@dcc.govt.nz as per the contact information listed on https://www.dunedin.govt.nz/council/loca....

On August 21 2019, I made a request under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA), which is available to read at https://fyi.org.nz/request/11027-informa.... Under the LGOIMA, the council is required by law to respond as soon as possible and before September 18 2019. This date has passed, and the request is now overdue.

My request made received no correspondence from the council after making the request via the FYI.org.nz system. I should note that the council is required under the LGOIMA to accept requests via all communication methods, including FYI. More information about how the council is required to accept online information requests is available on the Office of the Ombudsman's website, or in this PDF (http://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/syste...).

I note that I have raised a similar request with many other councils who have replied promptly, for example:
- Queenstown-Lakes District Council (https://fyi.org.nz/request/11030-informa...)
- Hawkes Bay Regional Council (https://fyi.org.nz/request/11029-informa...)
- Auckland Council (https://fyi.org.nz/request/11014-informa...)
- Hutt City Council (https://fyi.org.nz/request/11011-informa...)
- Christchurch City Council (https://fyi.org.nz/request/11015-informa...)
- Porirua City Council (https://fyi.org.nz/request/11012-informa...)
- Cantebury Regional Council (https://fyi.org.nz/request/11028-informa...)

Your lack of response is both breaching the LGOIMA, and also your personal responsibilities under the Local Government Act. The page at https://www.dunedin.govt.nz/council/orga... that the CEO is responsible for "making sure that any policy the Council adopts is correctly carried out." Given that the council is failing at providing the transparency on whether the Council is taking action after making a climate emergency declaration, then you as the CEO are not making sure that the policy defining that climate emergency is being correctly carried out.

Can you please ensure this missing data is provided to be by COB 23rd September 2019. I note that this is after the date the council should have legally responded by. If the council fails to do so, I will make complaint to the Ombudsman about the councils failure to meet the responsibilities under the LGOIMA.

Cheers,

Hugh

Link to this

Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Dear Mr Davenport

Thank you for your email to CEO Sue Bidrose following up on your request for information regarding the Climate Emergency.

I have followed up with our LGOIMA team. They advised that your request was referred to our Corporate Policy Manager to respond to you direct rather than being dealt with as a LGOIMA. I apologise for the fact that this was not communicated to you at that time.

The Policy team expect to have their response to you early next week.

Please accept our apologies for the delay in response.

Regards

Vivienne

Link to this

Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Hi Vivienne,

Thanks for your email.

I'm a bit confused how you can legally circumvent the LGOIMA process when someone requests information from your agency. Can you please state how this is possible?

I'm going to point out the Office of the Ombudsman's advice on the LGOIMA, found on their website at http://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/syste.... Looking at page 12 of that PDF, the following makes me believe that this should have been processed under the LGOIMA:
- "A LGOIMA request is made in any casewhen a person asks an agency for access to specified official information"
- "the requester does not need to refer to the LGOIMA"

Can I ask when a response from the Corporate Policy Manager can be expected? I note that it has now been 4 working weeks, and I stand by my original opinion made clear in my prior email to Dr Sue Bidrose regarding the Councils lack of commitment to the policy regarding the Climate Emergency Declaration. I re-iterate my concern that the CEO of this Council is not upholding their personal responsibility for "making sure that any policy the Council adopts is correctly carried out". Given that the Council is likely illegally refusing to deal with my request under the LGOIMA, and the alternative of getting a response from the Corporate Policy Manager has been delayed quite considerably, I am doubtful that the Council has done anything in regards to their new Climate Emergency Policy.

I would appreciate the following:
- A lawful reason why my request was not processed under the LGOIMA. For this, I would require an excerpt from a legal Act in New Zealand (found at http://legislation.govt.nz/) which specifically says that an agency can choose to not use the LGOIMA when a request for information has been received by the agency.
- An explanation on how the CEO is managing their responsibilities for "making sure that any policy the Council adopts is correctly carried out" specifically in regards to the Climate Emergency Policy.
- An estimated time when the Corporate Policy Manager will be making a response to me- An explanation of why the Corporate Policy Manager has delayed my request with no communication with myself.

Cheers,

Hugh

Link to this

Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Dunedin City Council only: