For information regarding the competence and accountabilities of the WCC electoral officer.

Richard Yossarian made this Official Information request to Wellington City Council

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

From: Richard Yossarian

Dear Wellington City Council,

This is an official information request under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA).

This request is made to to gain information regarding the competence and accountabilities regarding the administration of Wellington City Council elections by the Wellington City Council be it through Wellington City Council employees or contractors.

The information requested is:

1. All policies, guidance or other documentation that the Wellington City Council has provided to the firm trading as electionz.com to ensure it is aware of the rules regarding local body elections, including any changes in advertising rules between the 2016, 2019 and 2022 Wellington City Council elections;

2. Details of all policies, guidance or other documentation related to the Wellington City Council’s monitoring of whether the firm trading as electionz.com (including any employees or officers of this firm who are acting as the Electoral Officer for the Wellington City Council) is discharging its contracted duties competently and within the terms of its contract with the Wellington City Council;

3. Details of all policies, guidance or other documentation related to how the Wellington City Council’s officers, elected officials and/or contractors may interact or correspond with the Electoral Officer;

4. All correspondence between Wellington City Council (including officers, elected officials and/or contractors) and the firm trading as electionz.com including any employees or officers of this firm who are acting as the Electoral Officer for the Wellington City Council regarding advertising by Paul Eagle and/or his campaign;

5. All correspondence between Paul Eagle or his representatives and the Wellington City Council and/or the firm trading as electionz.com including any employees or officers of this firm who are acting as the Electoral Officer for the Wellington City Council;

6. All correspondence between Justin Lester and/or Nick Leggett (including their representatives) and the Wellington City Council and/or the firm trading as electionz.com including any employees or officers of this firm who are acting as the Electoral Officer for the Wellington City Council regarding the use of commercial billboards prior to the formal election hoarding period in the 2019 or 2016 Wellington City Council elections;

7. Any reviews of the of the administration of the 2019 or 2016 Wellington City Council elections undertaken by the Wellington City Council or its contractors; and

8. All contracts, agreements or other documents between the Wellington City Council and the firm trading as electionz.com regarding the firm’s contractual obligations, the sum the firm is paid by the Council and the term of any contracts.

Yours faithfully,

Richard Yossarian

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From: BUS: Assurance
Wellington City Council


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Tēnā koe Richard

 

Thank you for your email dated 30/06/2022 requesting information about the
competence and accountabilities of the WCC electoral officer.

 

Our team will manage your request under the Local Government Official
Information and Meetings Act 1987 which requires us to provide a decision
as soon as possible, but no later than 28/07/2022, being 20 working days
of receipt.

 

The reference number for your request is IRC-3559.

 

Please contact us if you have any further questions.

 

Kind regards

 

The Assurance Team

Email: [1][email address]

Wellington City Council | W [2]Wellington.govt.nz | [3]Facebook|
[4]Twitter

The information contained in this email is privileged and confidential and
intended for the addressee only.
If you are not the intended recipient, you are asked to respect that
confidentiality and not disclose, copy or make use of its contents.
If received in error you are asked to destroy this email and contact the
sender immediately. Your assistance is appreciated.

 

[5]http://wellington.govt.nz/~/media/Images...

 

 

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From: BUS: Assurance
Wellington City Council

Kia ora Richard,

Thank you for your request made under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (the Act), received on 04 July 2022. You requested the following information:

1. All information, correspondence, and/or supporting evidence that the Wellington City Council or its contractors that was considered to be the received 'heat', as described by Wellington City Council spokesperson Richard MacLean, that compelled the Wellington City Council to act on Paul Eagle MP's election advertising.

Wellington City Council received a number of tweets from the public in relation to the sign, as referred to by Mr MacLean. As such WCC has refused your request for information under section 17(d) of the Act, as the information is publicly available on Twitter Wellington City Council (@WgtnCC) / Twitter

Right of review
If you are not satisfied with the Council’s response, you may request the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate the Council’s decision. Further information is available on the Ombudsman website, www.ombudsman.parliament.nz.

Ngâ mihi
Claudia

Claudia Holgate
Senior Advisor | Official Information Team

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Link to this

From: BUS: Assurance
Wellington City Council

Apologies Richard,

I had replied to your other information request.

Ngâ mihi
Claudia

Claudia Holgate
Senior Advisor | Official Information Team

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From: BUS: Assurance
Wellington City Council


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Kia ora Richard,

Thank you for your recent Local Government Official Information and
Meetings Act (the Act) request.

Wellington City Council will be proactively releasing relevant information
soon relating to the billboard, such as:

o Policies and guidance regarding campaigning
o Correspondence between WCC and Electoral Officer
o Correspondence between Paul Eagle (or his representation) and WCC or
Electoral Officer
o Review of the last election
o Contract between electionz and WCC

As such, we are refusing request under section 17(d) of the Act as this
information will soon be made publicly available here: [1]Information
requests - Responses to information requests - Wellington City Council.
Note, the published response will include relevant withholding grounds
where applicable. This will be noted in our response.

If you are not satisfied with the Council’s response, you may request the
Office of the Ombudsman to investigate the Council’s decision. Further
information is available on the Ombudsman website,
[2]www.ombudsman.parliament.nz.

Ngā mihi

Claudia

 

Claudia Holgate

Senior Advisor | Official Information Team

Te Kaunihera o Pōneke | Wellington City Council 
M 021 515 352 | E [3][email address]  | W
[4]wellington.govt.nz

 

 

From: BUS: Assurance <[email address]>
Sent: Monday, 4 July 2022 8:52 am
To: Richard Yossarian <[FOI #19787 email]>
Cc: BUS: Assurance <[email address]>
Subject: IRC-3559 - Information request -electionz.com

 

Tēnā koe Richard

 

Thank you for your email dated 30/06/2022 requesting information about the
competence and accountabilities of the WCC electoral officer.

 

Our team will manage your request under the Local Government Official
Information and Meetings Act 1987 which requires us to provide a decision
as soon as possible, but no later than 28/07/2022, being 20 working days
of receipt.

 

The reference number for your request is IRC-3559.

 

Please contact us if you have any further questions.

 

Kind regards

 

The Assurance Team

Email: [5][email address]

Wellington City Council | W [6]Wellington.govt.nz | [7]Facebook|
[8]Twitter

The information contained in this email is privileged and confidential and
intended for the addressee only.
If you are not the intended recipient, you are asked to respect that
confidentiality and not disclose, copy or make use of its contents.
If received in error you are asked to destroy this email and contact the
sender immediately. Your assistance is appreciated.

 

[9]http://wellington.govt.nz/~/media/Images...

 

 

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Link to this

From: Richard Yossarian

Dear BUS: Assurance,

Thank you for your response to my LGOMIA request of 30 June 2022 regarding the competence and accountabilities regarding the administration of Wellington City Council elections by the Wellington City Council be it through Wellington City Council employees or contractors (your reference number IRC-3559).

I note that you are intending to publicly release information relating to some aspects of my request. Namely:
o Policies and guidance regarding campaigning
o Correspondence between WCC and Electoral Officer
o Correspondence between Paul Eagle (or his representation) and WCC or
Electoral Officer
o Review of the last election
o Contract between electionz and WCC

I note that this is not a proactive release, as you claim, as I had to put in a request for this information.

Having perused the website of the Ombudsman, the guidance for section 17d of the LGOIMA does indicate that an intention to respond to a LGOMIA request via a public website allows the statutory deadline of that release to be ignored. If this information is not published or released to me directly in within ten working days I will complain to the Ombudsman.

Your response does also not address my request for:

1. Details of all policies, guidance or other documentation related to the Wellington City Council’s monitoring of whether the firm trading as electionz.com (including any employees or officers of this firm who are acting as the Electoral Officer for the Wellington City Council) is discharging its contracted duties competently and within the terms of its contract with the Wellington City Council;

2. Details of all policies, guidance or other documentation related to how the Wellington City Council’s officers, elected officials and/or contractors may interact or correspond with the Electoral Officer;

3. All correspondence between Justin Lester and/or Nick Leggett (including their representatives) and the Wellington City Council and/or the firm trading as electionz.com including any employees or officers of this firm who are acting as the Electoral Officer for the Wellington City Council regarding the use of commercial billboards prior to the formal election hoarding period in the 2019 or 2016 Wellington City Council elections; and

4. Information relating to communications and guidance to the firm trading as electionz.com including any employees not just any individual acting as the Electoral Officer for the Wellington City Council.

Please confirm whether this part of my request is being refused or will be part of the reactive release of information via your website.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Yossarian

Link to this

From: BUS: Assurance
Wellington City Council

Kia ora Richard,

All of your questions will be addressed in our release on the website. We will advise when this is available.

Ngâ mihi
Claudia

Claudia Holgate
Senior Advisor | Official Information Team

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From: Richard Yossarian

10 August 2022

The Office of the Ombudsman
Level 7
70 The Terrace
Wellington 6011

Cc: "BUS: Assurance" <[email address]>

To whom it may concern,

This letter sets out two complaints against the Wellington City Council related to requests made under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA).

The first complaint relates to a request made to to gain information regarding the competence and accountabilities regarding the administration of Wellington City Council elections by the Wellington City Council be it through Wellington City Council employees or contractors.

The request and all relevant correspondence is found at the link below.

https://fyi.org.nz/request/19787-for-inf...

The substance of my complaint is that the Wellington City Council has failed to respond within the required timeframe. The Wellington City Council presumed to decline my request under section 17 (d) of the LGOIMA on the basis that they were going to proactively release the information I had requested publicly. I consider this approach a breach of the LGOIMA on two grounds.

First, the Wellington City Council is not proactively releasing anything, it is reactively responding to my request. There was, by their explanation, no plan to release this information prior to my request. There was also no explanation or reason provided as to why it takes longer to release information by posting it on a website rather than emailing it to me. It appears that the Wellington City Council’s refusal of my request is nothing but a contrivance to delay the release of the information. By this contrivance the Wellington City Council could simply delay any request by refusing it on the grounds they are providing the information via a website rather than another form. This is clearly unacceptable and utterly out of step with the spirit of the LGOIMA as articulated on the Ombudsman’s website.

My second ground of this complaint is that even if the above contrivance was reasonable the Wellington City Council has had a further ten working to provide the information and the information has not been provided by any means. Refusal under under section 17 (d) of the LGOIMA should only occur when the information requested is to be released publicly soon and it hasn’t been.

The second complaint relates to a request made to to gain information regarding a claim made by Wellington City Council spokesperson Richard MacLean that, “we’ve received a lot of heat [from the public] so we feel compelled to act” as reported by the Stuff website on 4 July 2022 (https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/ne...).

The request and all relevant correspondence is found at the link below.

https://fyi.org.nz/request/19823-evidenc...

The substance of my complaint is that the Wellington City Council inappropriately declined my request under section 17 (d) of the LGOIMA on the basis the information was available publicly when it was not. I consider this approach a breach of the LGOIMA.

As noted in the Wellington City Council’s response, the information requested comprises some posts on Twitter.com. The Wellington City Council did not specify which posts on Twitter.com it was referring to, other than that they were some of the many addressed to the Wellington City Council’s Twitter account. As it was not possible to know which of the many (and often conflicting and incoherent) posts on Twitter.com the Council was referring to, what information is relevant to the request is unknowable to the public and therefore the information is not publicly available.

The Wellington City Council subsequently provided a single example of a post on Twitter.com but this could at best only be part of the information covered by the request. There appears to be no part of the LGOIMA that allows a request to be responded to with examples or snippets of information. Either the Wellington City Council has the information and should provide it or it does not have the information and should respond accordingly. Given this is information that apparently compelled the Wellington City Council to take action against at least two candidates for Mayor in a democratic election, some transparency should be expected of the Wellington City Council.

I look forward to your response.

Yours faithfully,

Richard Yossarian

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