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Stats NZ's processing of a previous OIA request and its search for the information requested

New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties made this Official Information request to Statistics New Zealand

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From: New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties

Dear Statistics New Zealand,

For the avoidance of doubt, this is a fresh request for information under section 12 of the Official Information Act (the OIA).

On 12 April 2022, five weeks after the latest date on which it should have responded, Statistics NZ refused the Council’s request of 8 February 2022 (https://fyi.org.nz/request/18491-stats-n...). That request sought a copy of a discussion paper which minutes of an NZSIS meeting with Statistics NZ recorded as being written by the department with Customs New Zealand. The department stated that it had been “unable to locate the paper”, and as such it believed that the paper did not exist. It consequently refused the Council’s request under section 18(e) of the OIA.

The information the Council is now requesting from the department is as follows:

1) The date on which the department recognised that, according to its response of 12 April, “the request was not correctly logged.”

2) The name of the system in which the request should have been logged, and a copy of the manual for this system as well as the department’s guidance or procedures for logging OIA requests.

3) The number of OIA requests that have not been correctly logged in the system in the 12 months up to and including 12 April 2022.

4) The date on which the department was first contacted by the Office of the Ombudsman regarding its failure to respond to the Council’s request of 8 February 2022.

5) The date on which the department responded to the Office of the Ombudsman regarding its failure to respond to the Council’s request of 8 February 2022.

6) All communications to and from the department and the Office of the Ombudsman relating to the Council’s request of 8 February 2022.

7) All the communications sent and received by the department, both internally and externally, in the course of Statistics NZ’s search for the information requested in the Council’s request of 8 February 2022.

8) All telephone records or other notes made by officials in the department in the course of processing the Council’s request of 8 February 2022.

9) All records of how the department searched for the information requested by the Council on 8 February 2022. This includes search terms used when querying information and records management systems including the department’s email system, the names of the systems searched, the email accounts searched, the officials from whom information was sought, and the information the department provided to Customs New Zealand as part of its efforts to locate the information requested by the Council.

10) All records of any information or advice sought and received from the department’s information and records management team in the course of trying to locate the information requested by the Council on 8 February 2022.

11) All information relating to communications the department may have had with former officials of the department from 8 February 2022 to date that in any way relates to the information requested by the Council on that date. Our understanding, from the NZSIS minutes of the meeting with Statistics NZ on 15 May 2020 (https://fyi.org.nz/request/17682/respons... that we referred to in our request of 8 February 2022) is that the meeting was attended by Travis Ancelet (then Secretariat for the Data Ethics Advisory Board) and Dale Elvy (then Manager of Statistics NZ’s Systems Policy Team) on behalf of the department. Both have subsequently left the department. We would like to know (a) if the department searched the email accounts of these former employees, (b) if the department contacted these former officials in the course of its search for the information requested by the Council, and (c) if so to receive copies of the communications sent and received.

The Council looks forward to receiving the requested information as soon as reasonably practicable and no later than 20 working days after receipt of this request. If the department needs to discuss or clarify any aspect of this request, please contact the Council by replying to the email address from which this request was received.

Under section 16 of the OIA, our preference for receiving this information is by email response to the address from which the department received this request. Also under section 16 of the OIA, our preference is to receive this information as searchable documents not image only PDFs. Further under section 16, our preference is for the information not to be watermarked with ‘released under the OIA’ or similar text. The only permitted reasons for not complying with the Council’s section 16 preferences are set out in section 16(2) of the Act.

Under section 19(a)(ii) of the OIA, if the department withholds any information under sections 6 or 9 in its response to this request, we further request that the department provide the Council with the grounds underpinning the reasons for withholding that it cites.

Nāku noa, nā

Andrew Ecclestone
Deputy Chair
New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties

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From: Ruth Naude
Statistics New Zealand

Kia ora Andrew,

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your Official Information Act request.

We received your request today, Tuesday 3 May 2022. We will endeavour to respond to your request as soon as possible and in any event no later than 31 May 2022, being 20 working days after the day your request was received. If we are unable to respond to your request by then, we will notify you of an extension of that timeframe.

Your request is being handled by the Office of the Government Statistician and Chief Executive. If you have any queries, please feel free to contact me using the details in the signature below. If any additional factors come to light which are relevant to your request, please do not hesitate to contact us so these can be taken into account.

Kind regards,

Ruth Naude
Senior Advisor | Kaitohutohu Matua
Executive and Government Relations - Office of the Chief Executive | Tari O Te Kaitatauranga Matua Me Te Pouārahi Matua
Stats NZ | Tatauranga Aotearoa | stats.govt.nz | +64 4 931 4902 | +64 27 2359 503

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Mark Hanna left an annotation ()

"We received your request today, Tuesday 3 May 2022"

This is incorrect. Stats NZ received your request on Monday 2 May 2022.

The Ombudsman's guidance on requests made online is clear on how this works (see p5): https://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/reso...

"Where an agency has designated a particular information system (like an email address, Twitter account, or Facebook page) for the purpose of receiving electronic communications, those communications will be taken to be received at the time they enter the information system, not when they come to the agency’s attention."

I see FYI recorded your request as having been sent at 5:10pm on May 2. It seems incredibly unlikely that it was successfully delivered but somehow delayed by at least 7 hours.

This means the legal due date is 30 May 2022, not 31 May 2022 as stated by Stats NZ in their acknowledgement.

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From: New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties

Kia ora Ruth,

Thank you for your response.

Unfortunately Statistics NZ's understanding of when the OIA request was received is deficient.

Please refer to the Ombudsman's guide to requests made online:
https://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/reso...

On pages 5-6 the following guidance from the Ombudsman is relevant:

"Where an agency has designated a particular information system (like an email address, Twitter account, or Facebook page) for the purpose of receiving electronic communications, those communications will be taken to be received at the time they enter the information system, not when they come to the agency’s attention.[6]

So whenever the email, tweet or post enters the system, that’s when it’s received. Use that date as the day of receipt for the purpose of calculating the maximum 20 working days for responding to an official information request. This is so regardless of whether the email, tweet or post was received outside business hours. The definition of ‘working day’ in the OIA and LGOIMA makes no reference to business hours.[7] Use the online calculator on our homepage to help calculate maximum response times.

[6] See s 214 of the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017.
[7] See s 2 OIA and LGOIMA."

Consequently, Statistics NZ received the Council's request on 2 May 2022 and, according to the Ombudsman's online calculator, the 20th working day is Monday 30 May 2022.

Ngā mihi,

Andrew Ecclestone
Deputy Chair
New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties

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From: Ruth Naude
Statistics New Zealand

Kia ora Andrew,

My apologies for that. Stats NZ received your request on Monday 2 May 2022. We will endeavour to respond to your request as soon as possible and in any event no later than 30 May 2022, being 20 working days after the day your request was received. If we are unable to respond to your request by then, we will notify you of an extension of that timeframe.

Kind regards,

Ruth Naude
Senior Advisor | Kaitohutohu Matua
Executive and Government Relations - Office of the Chief Executive | Tari O Te Kaitatauranga Matua Me Te Pouārahi Matua
Stats NZ | Tatauranga Aotearoa | stats.govt.nz | +64 4 931 4902 | +64 27 2359 503

About Aotearoa, for Aotearoa
Data that improves lives today and for generations to come
 
Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

Work days: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

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From: Ruth Naude
Statistics New Zealand


Attachment Data and Information Management Policy Guidelines.docx
115K Download View as HTML

Attachment Data and Information Management Policy.pdf
491K Download View as HTML

Attachment Tui Tuia Knowledge Centre An Introduction to Tui Tuia.pdf
67K Download View as HTML

Attachment Tui Tuia Knowledge Centre Knowledge Wiki Home.pdf
128K Download View as HTML

Attachment Stats NZ s OIA Process document Redacted.pdf
864K Download View as HTML

Attachment Correspondence with the Office of the Ombudsman 8 April 2022.pdf
162K Download View as HTML

Attachment Correspondence with Office of the Ombudsman 12 April 2022.pdf
311K Download View as HTML

Attachment Correspondence with Office of the Ombudsman 13 April 2022.pdf
198K Download View as HTML

Attachment Stats NZ internal communications 1 12 April 2022.pdf
302K Download View as HTML

Attachment RE Official Information request Data Ethics Advisory Group 1.pdf
263K Download View as HTML

Attachment RE Official Information request Data Ethics Advisory Group 2.pdf
127K Download View as HTML

Attachment RE Official Information request Data Ethics Advisory Group 3 Redacted.pdf
2.1M Download View as HTML

Attachment RE Official Information request Data Ethics Advisory Group part3 Redacted.pdf
469K Download View as HTML

Attachment Stats NZ staff text communication 11 April 2022.pdf
288K Download View as HTML

Attachment Communications between Stats NZ and NZSIS 11 May 2022 Redacted.pdf
416K Download View as HTML

Attachment RE data ethics at NZSIS Redacted.pdf
387K Download View as HTML

Attachment OIA0358 A Ecclestone Processing of an OIA request final.pdf
241K Download View as HTML


Kia ora Andrew,

Please find attached Stats NZ’s response to your Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) request.

Kind regards,

Ruth Naude
Senior Advisor | Kaitohutohu Matua
Executive and Government Relations - Office of the Chief Executive | Tari O Te Kaitatauranga Matua Me Te Pouārahi Matua Stats NZ | Tatauranga Aotearoa | stats.govt.nz | +64 4 931 4902 | +64 27 2359 503

About Aotearoa, for Aotearoa
Data that improves lives today and for generations to come
 
Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

Work days: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

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