Knowledge of potential criminal activity by government employees

Canterbury Victim made this Official Information request to Damien O'Connor

Response to this request is long overdue. By law Damien O'Connor should have responded by now (details and exceptions). You can complain to the Ombudsman.

From: Canterbury Victim

Dear Damien O'Connor,

I am making requests for official information. These requests are being made on the grounds of public interest in relation to the matters of transparency; participation; accountability; administration of justice; health, safety and the environment.

Please note that the requests are not just for documents, but also information. As such with regards to the Office of the Ombudsman guidance document “The OIA for Ministers and Agencies” these requests for official information include “information held in the memory of” the Minister addressed and only the Minister addressed, not the staff of the office of the Minister. As such unless there is a document which provides the information requested, the Minister must be questioned to provide the held information from their memory. No sections of this request can be denied based on Section 18(e) unless they are also denied on Section 18(g).

Each of the points below is an individual request for official information. If any of the responses need to be extended that should not impact delivery of responses for those that do not require an extension. Any decision to extend a deadline should be accompanied with a Section 23 response.

Any information that is denied should be accompanied with a Section 23 response providing the reasons for the decision to deny the information. These should include the dates and times that the Minister was questioned about their memory of the official information.

As per the Office of the Ombudsman guidance a clarification requested will only reset the deadline for the individual requests where a clarification is provided, the remainder of the requests for official information in this communication will have the original deadline remain.

Further in relation to the Office of the Ombudsman guidance “The agency’s primary legal obligation is to notify the requester of the decision on the request ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’. The reference to 20 working days is not the de facto goal but the absolute maximum (unless it is extended appropriately).” If the notification does happen on the last day of the 20 working day deadline please provide a Section 23 response as to why the decision was made that it was not ‘reasonably practicable’ to provide the decision sooner.

I am not providing a Privacy Waiver, and so any response to these requests for official information should have my personal information redacted.

These requests will make reference to official information held within the document located at https://bit.ly/3K29MME Despite their being other Ministers that may have official information with regards to the content of that document, this request for official information is about official information held by the Minister addressed and therefore should not be transferred and instead be denied if the information is not held by the addressed Minister.

1. When did the Minister first become aware of the document that exists at https://bit.ly/3K29MME? If there does not exist a document with this information then an approximate date from the Minister’s memory will fulfil the request. If the Minister has no recollection of becoming aware of the document before receiving this request for official information, then the date the Minister was asked to recall their memory will fulfil the request.

2. The linked document includes official information where government employees at Southern Response have been altering documents and instructing others to alter documents they did not author in order to create a false representation of facts and timelines where those documents were then used to cause loss by deception. When did the Minister first become aware of these or similar events? If there does not exist a document with this information then an approximate date from the Minister’s memory will fulfil the request. If the Minister has no recollection of becoming aware of such events before receiving this request for official information, then the date the Minister was asked to recall their memory will fulfil the request.

3. The linked document includes official information where Southern Response employees conspired with a Consent Team Leader at Christchurch City Council to get agreement that a building consent would be granted despite the repair methodology did not match the submitted technical documents, was in violation of the MBIE repair guidance, and ultimately would result in a house repair that they knew had not been approved as meeting the Building Code. When did the Minister first become aware of these or similar events? This question is not limited to the example given in the linked document and can relate to any instance of this deceptive behaviour. If there does not exist a document with this information then an approximate date from the Minister’s memory will fulfil the request. If the Minister has no recollection of becoming aware of such events before receiving this request for official information, then the date the Minister was asked to recall their memory will fulfil the request.

4. The linked document includes information regarding Southern Response committing a significant breach of the Fair Insurance Code (the accepted New Zealand Code of Ethics for the Insurance Industry) so significantly that the behaviour of the involved government employees would bring the entirety of the New Zealand Insurance Industry into disrepute. When did the Minister first become aware that government employees were responsible for the first ever unresolved significant breach of the Fair Insurance Code being referred to the Insurance Council of New Zealand? If there does not exist a document with this information then an approximate date from the Minister’s memory will fulfil the request. If the Minister has no recollection of becoming aware of such events before receiving this request for official information, then the date the Minister was asked to recall their memory will fulfil the request.

5. The linked document includes information regarding the Dispute Resolution Scheme (regulated by the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act 2008) specifically not addressing matters of dishonesty in their assessment of behaviour of the government staff despite finding that Southern Response significantly breached the Fair Insurance Code. When did the Minister first become aware that the Dispute Resolution Scheme declined to consider dishonesty, when specifically asked to address matters of dishonesty in the details of the complaint, when assessing violations of the insurance industry Code of Ethics? This question is not limited to the example given in the linked document and can relate to any instance of this behaviour. If there does not exist a document with this information then an approximate date from the Minister’s memory will fulfil the request. If the Minister has no recollection of becoming aware of such events before receiving this request for official information, then the date the Minister was asked to recall their memory will fulfil the request.

6. The linked document includes official information regarding the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) communicating with the CEO of Southern Response stating that the complaint of the behaviour of Southern Response had been heard at their last meeting despite us being told that it would not be heard at that meeting; and that had ICNZ not forced us to go through the Dispute Resolution Scheme that ICNZ would have found Southern Response in violation of the Code at that meeting, but instead ICNZ delayed the complaint of two cancer patients to allow Southern Response to be better prepared should the DIspute Resolution Scheme refer the complaint back to ICNZ. Southern Response then went on to utilise the law firm where a former partner, and consultant of that law firm is a sitting member of the ICNZ committee that assessed Southern Response’s behaviour. When did the Minister first become aware of these events? If there does not exist a document with this information then an approximate date from the Minister’s memory will fulfil the request. If the Minister has no recollection of becoming aware of such events before receiving this request for official information, then the date the Minister was asked to recall their memory will fulfil the request.

7. The linked document includes information regarding the Dispute Resolution Scheme finding that the Significant Breach of the Fair Insurance Code was unresolved despite the apology and ex gratia payment, but the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) stating that the complaint was resolved by the apology and ex gratia payment. This is despite direct communication between Southern Response and ICNZ where Anthony Honeybone states that the apology was not sincere and instead was simply easier than telling me how I was wrong about Southern Response’s behaviour. The linked document also addresses all parts of the Southern Response apology with official information to show that it was not sincere. When did the Minister first become aware of these events? If there does not exist a document with this information then an approximate date from the Minister’s memory will fulfil the request. If the Minister has no recollection of becoming aware of such events before receiving this request for official information, then the date the Minister was asked to recall their memory will fulfil the request.

8. The linked document includes information regarding government employees setting a one week deadline for me after I told them I was in hospital and needed to reduce stress. The deadline required me to provide engineering information because they would not accept their own engineering advice that their desired repair methodology was inappropriate. These actions have been described by the New Zealand Police as “seems inappropriate and appears to be taking advantage of your medical circumstances”. When did the Minister first become aware of these events? If there does not exist a document with this information then an approximate date from the Minister’s memory will fulfil the request. If the Minister has no recollection of becoming aware of such events before receiving this request for official information, then the date the Minister was asked to recall their memory will fulfil the request.

9. Please provide the dates for each of these connected events if they happened with the Minister all for a single official information requestor within the last 6 months:

a. The Minister denied the existence of official information based on section 18(e)
b. The requestor provided evidence that documents do exist with the requested information
c. The Minister then stated that it was already known the documents existed, but that there was a desire to not provide the documents because they contain discussions that are too “full and frank” to be made public
d. The Minister then denied the request again based instead on 9(2)(ba)

If there does not exist a document with this information then an approximate date from the Minister’s memory will fulfil the request. If the Minister has no recollection of becoming aware of such events before receiving this request for official information, then the please deny this request based on Section 18(e) and 18(g).

10. If request 9 is not denied then please provide the date at which the Minister was first informed that there was belief that those engaged with the Minister in the “full and frank” conversations may be committing crimes. If there does not exist a document with this information then an approximate date from the Minister’s memory will fulfil the request. If the Minister has no recollection of becoming informed of criminal behaviour then please deny this request based on Section 18(e) and 18(g).

As I have a significant amount of additional information to make public in relation to these matters and an unknown number of request and response cycles in order to allow the matters of public interest to be adequately addressed, I would appreciate it if these requests were addressed as a matter of urgency.

Yours faithfully,

“Canterbury Victim”

Link to this

From: Hon Damien O'Connor


Attachment winmail.dat
15K Download


Kia ora,
On behalf of Hon Damien O'Connor, thank you for your email. Please accept this reply as an acknowledgement that your correspondence has been received.
While the Minister considers all correspondence to be important, and all messages are carefully read and considered, it is not always possible to personally reply to all emails. As such, the following guidelines apply:
· Invitations and meeting requests will be processed and a staff member will be in contact with you in due course
· All media queries will be responded to by a staff member
· Requests for official information will be managed in accordance with the provisions of the Official Information Act 1982, which may include transfer to a more relevant Minister or agency
· If your email falls outside of the Minister’s portfolio responsibilities, expresses a personal view, or is copied to multiple Members of Parliament, then your opinion will be noted and your correspondence may be transferred to another office, or there may be no further response to you
We note that our office receives a large volume of correspondence and it may take us some time to get back to you. If you need urgent assistance you may find some of the links below helpful:

For information on COVID-19, including the latest updates, go to covid19.govt.nz

For immigration and visa advice: contact the call centre which is open 6:00am Monday to midnight on Saturday (NZT).

https://www.immigration.govt.nz/contact

For urgent housing or benefit enquiries:
∙ Call 0800 559 009 (for under 65)
∙ Call 0800 552 002 (for over 65)

If you need treatment or support for your health or wellbeing the following options are available.

Healthline – You can call Healthline for health advice on freephone 0800 611 116 at any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Healthline staff can advise you on the best thing to do in your situation, including which services are near you and open.

1737 – If you need to talk to someone about how you are feeling, you can call or text 1737 for free at any time to talk to a trained counsellor.

Mental health crisis teams – If you are concerned that someone is going to hurt themselves or someone else, you can all your local mental health crisis team. A full list of numbers is available here: www.health.govt.nz/your-health/services-...<http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/se...>

Thank you for the taking the time to write.
Ngā mihi,
Office of Hon Damien O'Connor
Minister of Agriculture | Minister for Biosecurity | Minister for Land Information | Minister for Rural Communities | Minister for Trade and Export Growth | MP for West Coast-Tasman

Private Bag 18888 | Parliament Buildings | Wellington 6160 | New Zealand
Authorised by Hon Damien O'Connor MP, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6011

________________________________

Link to this

From: Hon Damien O'Connor

Kia ora,

We acknowledge receipt of your official information request dated 27 November 2022.

We received your request on 27 November 2022. We will endeavour to respond to your request as soon as possible and in any event no later than 23 December 2022, being 20 working days after the day your request was received.

If your OIA request requires full or part transfer, we will contact you within the required timeframe.

If we are unable to respond to your request by then, we will notify you of an extension of that timeframe.

Ngā mihi,

Phoebe

Phoebe Murphy (she / her) | Private Secretary (Executive Support)
Office of Hon Damien O’Connor
Executive Wing 5.1L | Parliament Buildings | Wellington | (04) 817 8848

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Hon Damien O'Connor

Kia ora,

Thank you for your email of 27 November 2022 requesting information relating to Southern Response and the Earthquake Commission.

Your request has been considered under the Official Information Act 1982 and my office does not hold any information within the scope of your request.

Therefore, your request is declined under Section 18(e) – the information requested does not exist.

I understand that you have also made an official information request to the office of Hon Dr David Clark. He is the shareholding Minister responsible for the entities which you are interested in and as such is the most appropriate Minister to respond.

You have the right to seek an investigation and review by the Ombudsman of this decision by contacting www.ombudsman.parliament.nz or freephone 0800 802 602.

Yours sincerely

Hon Damien O’Connor

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Canterbury Victim

Dear Hon Damien O'Connor,

The Minister has not responded to each request for official information separately. At the beginning of the document I stated “Each of the points below is an individual request for official information,” and for each request I presented options for responses to limit the scope of the requests in a way that I felt would fulfil my requests. Please provide a Section 23 response for the decision to respond in such a way that did not allow for an understanding of the results of each decision made against the 10 requests for official information.

The Minister’s response refuses to provide official information. In the document I stated “Any information that is denied should be accompanied with a Section 23 response providing the reasons for the decision to deny the information.” Please provide a section 23 response for the decision to not include a section 23 response for each of the refusals of official information. Please also provide the Section 23 responses for the refusals themselves, as previously requested. Please see the Office of the Ombudsman document “Requests for reasons for a decision or recommendation A guide to section 23 of the OIA and section 22 of the LGOIMA“ for information on how to properly respond to a section 23 request.

The Minister’s response refuses to provide official information based on 18(e), but not 18(g). As I had requested both documents and information it is not a valid response to refuse the information based on 18(e) alone. Please provide a Section 23 response as to why the request for official information was not refused on the basis of both 18(e) and 18(g). Additionally, in the document “Information not held A guide to sections 18(e) and (g) of the OIA and sections 17(e) and (g) of the LGOIMA“ it is stated that “Agencies must consider consulting the requester before refusing a request under section 18(e).“ Please provide a Section 23 response regarding the decision to not consult me before refusing the requests under Section 18(e).

The Minister’s response refers to Hon Dr David Clark as being a more appropriate Minister for responding to the requests for official information. However, as stated in the original document, the requests for official information are specific to the addressed Minister and not something that Hon Dr David Clark would have any documents or information about unless it was also held by the addressed Minister. Please provide a Section 23 response for the decision to ignore the specifics of the requests for official information and instead refer to Hon Dr David Clark.

Yours sincerely,

“Canterbury Victim”

Link to this

From: Hon Damien O'Connor

Kia ora,

Thank you for your further email. We acknowledge your questions to our office. I note that you have requested your questions to be answered under the Official Information Act 1982. As these questions do not relate to anything that constitutes official information this is not possible. If you wish to make a further official information request we are able to provide guidance on what constitutes official information.

With regards to any portion of your request that does constitute official information, no information within scope was found to be held by our office and as such was declined under Section 18( e) as previously communicated to you.

If you are seeking answers to questions relating to the linked document, we would recommend contacting the office of Hon Dr David Clark. He is the shareholding Minister responsible for the entities which you are interested in and as such is the most appropriate Minister to respond.

Kind regards,

Office of Hon Damien O'Connor

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Canterbury Victim

Dear Hon Damien O'Connor,

** With regards to the requests not being information

In your response you have stated “As these questions do not relate to anything that constitutes official information this is not possible.”

The text of the Official Information Act Section 2(1) includes “official information (a) means any information held by (ii) a Minister of the Crown in his official capacity”.

Please provide a Section 23 response to your decision to state that I have not requested information.

** With regards to the requests being information

In your response you have stated: “With regards to any portion of your request that does constitute official information, no information within scope was found to be held by our office and as such was declined under Section 18( e) as previously communicated to you.”

I have asked you to support this statement with evidence, as I am legally entitled to do. Please see section 23 of the Official Information Act.

** With regards to the suitability of Hon Dr David Clark

You have recommended that I make contact with Hon Dr David Clark. I have done so independently of my requests for Official Information from you. You can see some of that communication here: https://fyi.org.nz/request/21235-knowled...

Yours sincerely,

“Canterbury Victim”

Link to this

From: Hon Damien O'Connor

Kia ora,

Thank you for your email. Helpful guidance about what constitutes official information can be found here:

https://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/what...

You are also able to contact the Ombudsman with complaints or concerns:

https://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/cont...
Email - [email address] or 0800 802 602.

Ngā mihi,

Office of Hon Damien O’Connor

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Canterbury Victim

Dear Hon Damien O'Connor,

Thank you for your response, however it does not constitute a valid Section 23 response.

In addition to the official information already requested and now overdue, please provide me with a Section 23 response on your decision to intentionally violate New Zealand law by not providing a valid response to my requests for official information.

Please note that I accept that I can file a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman, however I am also legally entitled to request from you information about decisions that personally affect me. You have a legal responsibility to provide a response that is valid under the Official Information Act.

Yours sincerely,

“Canterbury Victim”

Link to this

Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Damien O'Connor only: