Definition of "intended recipient"

Amy S Van Wey Lovatt made this Official Information request to Ministry of Justice

Response to this request is long overdue. By law Ministry of Justice should have responded by now (details and exceptions). You can complain to the Ombudsman.

From: Amy S Van Wey Lovatt

Dear Ministry of Justice,

I am a NZ citizen. I am writing to make an OIA request for all documents held by the MoJ (e.g., Prosecution Office or Crown Law) which inform the NZ Police as to the meaning of "intended recipient" in the context of private, personal communications.

To help clarify, sections 216A-B of the Crimes Act 1961 describe the unlawful interception of private communications as having been intercepted by a third party without the consent of the sender or the intended recipient. Both the sender and intended recipient may forward or share private, personal communications (e.g. email) to a third party, which may be a breach of privacy, a breach of corporates regulations, or a breach of confidence (not very nice), but not the same an offence under section 216B of the Crimes Act 1961.

It is my understanding that NZ uses a common understanding approach to interpretation of statutes. A common understanding would be that the "intended recipient" would be the individual to whom the communication was addressed. For instance, if there is a unique identifier, such as a specified email address < Sam.James [at] moj.govt. nz>, a badge number if it were a constable, or a salutation which identifies a particular individual (e.g., Dear Mr Sam James), the "intended recipient" would be identified by their name, unique email address, or other unique identifier badge. However, in this case, where I have sent a communication to a general inbox, the "intended recipient" would be the person with the expertise and authority to provide me with the information. This interpretation appears to be consistent with every court case I found in NZILL.

Again, I request the documents which inform the NZ Police as to the definition of "intended recipient" in the context of personal, private communications. I hope the explanation above provides the context for the types of documents I am requesting.

To clarify: I am not seeking any legal help or legal interpretation. I am only seeking documents the NZ Police use to inform their understanding.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Kindest regards,

Amy S Van Wey Lovatt

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From: OIA@justice.govt.nz
Ministry of Justice

Thank you for contacting the Official Information Act request mailbox for
the Ministry of Justice. We will endeavour to respond to your email within
48 hours. 

You can find more information about how we can help you at our [1]Official
Information Act Requests page.

Please send any non-OIA related emails through to
o[2][email address] and any complaints through to
[3][email address]

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From: correspondence, official
Ministry of Justice

Good morning,

Acknowledging receipt of your Official Information Act request of 24 January 2021, for information about the definition of "intended recipient".

Your request has been passed onto the relevant business unit and you will receive a response on or before 22 February 2021.

Thank you

Ngā mihi,

Official Correspondence - OIA
Strategy, Governance and Finance
Level 6 Justice Centre | Aitken Street
DX Box SX 10088 | Wellington

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From: Manktelow, Barnaby
Ministry of Justice


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Kia ora Ms Van Wey Lovatt

 

Please see attached the response to your OIA request of 24 January 2021.

 

Ngā mihi,

Barnaby

Barnaby Manktelow

Media Assistant | Communications Services
Ministry of Justice | Tāhū o te Ture

P +64 4 978 7033 | Ext 45033

[1][email address] | [2]justice.govt.nz

 

 

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From: Amy S Van Wey Lovatt

Dear Manktelow, Barnaby,

Thank you for your response. I would like to modify my request. I request documents which inform the MoJ of the meaning of "intended recipient" in the context of personal, private communications (such as emails, letters and phone calls). If there is any ambiguity in my request, or the context of my request, I ask you to please refer back to my initial request for information for the context.

To be clear. I am not seeking legal advice. I am only seeking documents which inform the MoJ as to the meaning of "intended recipient".

I ask for the documents to be sent through FYI.org.nz and that they be in searchable, electronic form.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Amy S Van Wey Lovatt

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From: Manktelow, Barnaby
Ministry of Justice

Kia ora Ms Van Wey Lovatt,

I have logged this request for you, you can expect a response by Thursday 4 March 2021.

Ngā mihi,
Barnaby

Barnaby Manktelow
Media Assistant | Communications Services
Ministry of Justice | Tāhū o te Ture
P +64 4 978 7033 | Ext 45033
[email address] | justice.govt.nz

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From: Media
Ministry of Justice


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Kia ora Ms Van Wey Lovatt,

 

Please find attached the response to your OIA request of 4 February 2021.

 

 

Ngā mihi,

Crispin Anderlini
Senior Media Adviser | Communications Services
Ministry of Justice | Tāhū o te Ture
P 04 918 8980 | Ext 58980
[1][email address] | [2]justice.govt.nz

 

 

 

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From: Amy S Van Wey Lovatt

Dear Media,

I am quite confused by your response. Are you saying that the Ministry of Justice does not have any documents, including reference to case law or references to legal statutes, which informs the MoJ of the meaning of "intended recipient". Does the MoJ not have any internal policies or protocols on use of email or for other communications?

If a person searches FYI.org.nz for the words "intended recipient", disclaimers from government agencies pop up.

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet disclaimer: "The information contained in this email message is for the attention of the intended recipient only and is not necessarily the official view or communication of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. If you are not the in..."

Ministry for Women disclaimer: "The information contained in this email message is intended only for the addressee and is not necessarily the official view or communication of Manatû Wâhine, Ministry for Women. If you are not the intended recipient..."

NZ Police disclaimer: "WARNING The information contained in this email message is intended for the addressee only and may contain privileged information. It may also be subject to the provisions of section 50 of the Policing Act 2008, whi..."

Ministry of Maori Development: "..is email together with any accompanying attachments may be confidential and subject to legal privilege. It may be read, copied and used only by the intended recipient(s). If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately by return email, telephone or facsimile and delete t..."

Department of Corrections disclaimer: "The information in this message is the property of the New Zealand Department of Corrections. It is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain privileged or in confidence material. Any review, storage, copying, editing,..."

ACC disclaimer; "... in error, please advise us immediately by return email or telephone and then delete this email together with all attachments. If you are not the intended recipient, you are not authorised to use or copy this message or any attachments or disclose the contents to any other person." References Visib..."

Hutt City Council disclaimer: "The information contained in this e-mail message may be legally privileged or confidential. The information is intended only for the recipient named in the e-mail message. If the reader of this e-mail message is not the intended recipient, you are notified that any u..."

Auckland City Council disclaimer: "CAUTION: This email message and any attachments contain information that may be confidential and may be LEGALLY PRIVILEGED. If you are not the intended recipient, any use, disclosure or copying of this message or attachments is strictly prohibited. If you have received this email message in error p..."

If all of these agencies include disclaimers about emails being confidential, privileged, and the inappropriate use of these emails are "strictly prohibited", then the Ministry of Justice must have some documents to inform the meaning of the words "intended recipient" in the context of email communications, or there could be no enforcement. Thus, I again, ask for the documents that inform this meaning, which would be used to enforce the strict prohibition of the use of these documents by someone who is not the intended recipient.

Kind regards,
Amy S Van Wey Lovatt

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From: Media
Ministry of Justice

Tena koe,

 

Thank you for contacting the Justice Media Team.

 

The [1][email address] inbox is monitored 8am-5pm weekdays. To
contact the Media Team outside of these hours, please email
[2][email address] or call 021 636 416.

 

Thank you

Justice Media Team

 

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From: Amy S Van Wey Lovatt

Dear Ministry of Justice,

To clarify, the OIA states:
document means a document in any form; and includes—
(a) any writing on any material:
(b) any information recorded or stored by means of any tape-recorder, computer, or other device; and any material subsequently derived from information so recorded or stored:
(c) any label, marking, or other writing that identifies or describes any thing of which it forms part, or to which it is attached by any means:
(d) any book, map, plan, graph, or drawing:
(e) any photograph, film, negative, tape, or other device in which 1 or more visual images are embodied so as to be capable (with or without the aid of some other equipment) of being reproduced

Thus, if the meaning of "intended recipient" comes from case law, such as CK (Entrepreneur Residence Visa) [2018] NZIPT 204692 (28 September 2018), where at [38] the Judge describes the "intended recipient" as the person the communication was addressed to at Immigration NZ (rather than the agency), reference to this case would fulfill my OIA request.

If the meaning of "intended recipient" comes from the Oxford Learner's Dictionary (a book), reference to the dictionary would fulfill my OIA request. The Oxford Learner's Dictionary states:
recipient (noun) a person who receives something
intended (adjective) (1) that you are trying to achieve or reach
Putting these words together, the meaning of "intended recipient of a communication" would be "the person you are trying to reach and have receive the communication".

Given this email and my original OIA request satisfies the definition of documents held by the MoJ, then stating that my understanding is consistent with the understanding held by the MoJ, as outlined in my initial request or in this clarifying response, would likewise satisfy my OIA request.

Respectfully,

Amy S Van Wey Lovatt

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From: Media
Ministry of Justice

Kia ora Ms Van Wey Lovatt,

I have passed on your query to the relevant business unit and they are looking into this.

Kind regards,

Crispin Anderlini
Senior Media Adviser | Communications Services
Ministry of Justice | Tāhū o te Ture
P 04 918 8980 | Ext 58980
[email address] | justice.govt.nz

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From: OIA@justice.govt.nz
Ministry of Justice

Good evening Ms Van Wey Lovatt,

Acknowledging receipt of your Official Information Act request. Your request has been passed onto the relevant business unit and you will receive a response on or before 19 March 2021.

Thank you.

Jenna Bottcher
Ministerial Relations and Services
Ministry of Justice | Tāhū o te Ture
[email address]

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From: Media
Ministry of Justice


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Kia ora Ms Van Wey Lovatt,

 

Please find attached a response to your OIA request of 19 February
regarding the definition of ‘intended recipient’.

 

 

Kind regards,

Crispin Anderlini
Senior Media Adviser | Communications Services
Ministry of Justice | Tâhû o te Ture
P 04 918 8980 | Ext 58980 | M 027 291 3518
[1][email address] | [2]justice.govt.nz

 

 

 

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From: Amy S Van Wey Lovatt

Dear Ministry of Justice,

You have refused my request stating that the MoJ does not have any policies regarding the meaning of intended recipient. I have not requested policies. I have requested documents.

All Courts and Tribunals come under the MoJ. The Courts and Tribunals must have a meaning of intended recipient if they are to prosecute individuals for breaches of section 216A-B of the Crimes Act, or to issue a warrant to search or surveille email communications.

I refer you again to the definition of document in the OIA. Thus, it would suffice to refer me to a specific case which is accessible through NZILL, e.g., CK (Entrepreneur Residence Visa) [2018] NZIPT 204692 (28 September 2018) where at [38] the tribunal found the intended recipient was the person to whom the communication was addressed, rather than INZ, the agency. Alternatively, Lyttelton Port Company Limited v Aon New Zealand Limited [2017] NZHC 2215 (14 September 2017), where the High Court emphasized in [16-20] that the intended recipients were the named individuals. These are documents held by your agency, and thus, fit the requirement.

My initial request provided different interpretations. This is a document you have in your possession, and thus referring to specific content of that document would fulfill your obligation under the OIA.

Alternatively, the MoJ has access to a dictionary, a book (or online access). Specific reference to definitions in a specific book (such as a dictionary) would also meet the requirements.

Perhaps you should send this request to a Supreme Court Justice who will be able to provide you with the accurate information.

I trust you will have this to me by 5 PM today as the MoJ is well outside the legislative timeframe.

Yours sincerely,

Amy S Van Wey Lovatt

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From: Amy S Van Wey Lovatt

Dear Ministry of Justice,

Please accept this as a small modification, that I request the information by 5 PM, Monday, 22 March 2020.

Yours sincerely,

Amy S Van Wey Lovatt

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From: Amy S Van Wey Lovatt

Dear Ministry of Justice,

Please accept this as a small modification, that I request the information by 5 PM, Monday, 22 March 2020.

Yours sincerely,

Amy S Van Wey Lovatt

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From: Media
Ministry of Justice

Tena koe,

 

Thank you for contacting the Justice Media Team.

 

The [1][email address] inbox is monitored 8am-5pm weekdays. To
contact the Media Team outside of these hours, please email
[email address]  or call 027 291 3518

 

Thank you

Justice Media Team

 

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From: Media
Ministry of Justice

Dear Ms Van Wey Lovatt,

We have received your request and are working to meet your deadline. However, we can not guarantee this is possible within the given timeframe.

Kind regards,

Crispin Anderlini
Senior Media Adviser | Communications Services
Ministry of Justice | Tāhū o te Ture
P 04 918 8980 | Ext 58980 | M 027 291 3518
[email address] | justice.govt.nz

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From: Media
Ministry of Justice

Dear Ms Van Wey Lovatt,

This matter is now considered closed. If you remain dissatisfied with the Ministry's response, should you wish to do so, please contact the Office of the Ombudsman [email address]

Kind regards,

Crispin Anderlini
Senior Media Adviser | Communications Services
Ministry of Justice | Tāhū o te Ture
P 04 918 8980 | Ext 58980 | M 027 291 3518
[email address] | justice.govt.nz

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Amy S Van Wey Lovatt left an annotation ()

I submitted a complaint to the Ombudsman on 29 March 2021. It was as follows:

Dear Office of the Ombudsman,

On 24 January 2021, submitted a OIA request to  the Ministry of Justice through FYI.org.nz, which can be accessed here.
I requested:
... all documents held by the MoJ (e.g., Prosecution Office or Crown Law) which inform the NZ Police as to the meaning of "intended recipient" in the context of private, personal communications.

On 4 February 2021, I  modified my request: I request documents which inform the MoJ of the meaning of "intended recipient" in the context of personal, private communications (such as emails, letters and phone calls). If there is any ambiguity in my request, or the context of my request, I ask you to please refer back to my initial request for information for the context.

To be clear. I am not seeking legal advice. I am only seeking documents which inform the MoJ as to the meaning of "intended recipient".

The initial response I received was irrational. The Ministry of Justice must have documents which inform the meaning of intended recipients for electronic communications or judges could not administer surveillance warrants under the Search and Surveillance Act or hold people to account under section 216B of the Crimes Act.

I reminded the MoJ of the definition of a document, which would include reference to a court case, or reference to a dictionary, or even reference to my own submission. However, as of this date, I still have not received the requested documents or even a reference to a court case or dictionary.

This is not difficult, so I do not understand why the MoJ will not provide the requested information. 

I ask that you please assist me with this.
Kindest regards,
Amy S. Van Wey Lovatt, PhD

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