3 December 2019
By email: [FYI request #11356 email]
Official information requests for emails searches related to scientists
I refer to your request for information under the Official Information Act 1982 (the Act)
dated 30 October 2019:
“I need a count from the email system (which VUW have shown that they can
search) a completed table with the following counts:
a) 5 Column Headers - each with the names of the authors mentioned in this
OIA as follows: Dr Connolly, Ronan Connolly, Michael Connolly,
Christopher Monckton, Monckton
b) 10 Row headers - please search and count in the email system for the
following combinations of keywords in addition to the author's name. So
for example where "Climate" is the keyword then the search would be for:
Climate + "Dr Connolly". The keyword list that would initially be useful
is: Climate, Radiosonde, Global Warming, CO2, IPCC, Troposphere,
Thermodynamic, Equilibrium, Greenhouse, Zero Carbon”
As mentioned in our email to you on 13 November 2019, the University has completed
work to establish the extent of documentation captured by all of your requested searches.
In undertaking this assessment, the University ran a subset of the searches you requested
to ascertain the time it would take to complete each search. The subset was in relation to
two of the author names you provided (“Dr Connolly” and “Ronan Connolly”) and all of
the keywords you provided. The results of this subset are as follows.
It took approximately 6.5 hours of dedicated time for a senior ITS staff member to
complete these 20 searches. As you can see, this yielded 1,595 results.
Given the amount of resource required to process these searches, we have decided to
charge for executing the remaining searches, that is the remaining 3 authors against the
10 keywords – a total of 30 searches. Based on the subset search that was undertaken,
each search took approximately 20 minutes to complete, and therefore the University
estimates it would take approximately 10 hours of dedicated work to complete the
remaining 30 searches. Following the Ombudsman’s charging guidelines, we estimate
that the maximum charge will be $684.oo. Any unused component of this charge will be
refunded to you.
Before we proceed further with your request, please confirm your agreement to the
charge and pay the full amount. The payment can be deposited in to the following account
with reference ‘Chris Johnston – Connolly and Monckton
ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited
Account number: 06-0606-0100241-oo
Victoria University of Wellington
Please note that if you pay the charge an email must be sent to [VUW request email]
confirming the time and date on which the payment was made. We will send you the
20 working days of your payment.
You have the right to seek an investigation and review by the Ombudsman of the
University’s decision to charge. Information about how to make a complaint is available
or freephone 0800 802 602.
You also asked the University to “point to other OIAs where the same chain logic has been
used to decline OIA requests”. The University individually assesses each OIA request
received and makes a decision on any applicable withholding grounds at the time in the
context of each specific request, and in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
Regarding the response to your 2 October 2019 request for email searches, the University
would like to make an amendment to our statements around search capability. We stated
that the searches we completed were solely related to the University’s email system. This
is incorrect. This search covered various Office365 systems including Outlook, Microsoft
Teams, SharePoint sites, and OneDrive accounts.
Georgia Tawharu Adviser, Information Access and Copyright