Meetings with members of the public since the election

Liam Stoneley made this Official Information request to Minister of Justice

The request was partially successful.

From: Liam Stoneley

Dear Minister of Justice,

This is a request for information, made under the provisions of ss4 and 5 of the Official Information Act 1982 (“the Act”). I therefore would like the following information;

1. Please provide the amount (number of) individual members of the public you have met with since your appointment to Minister of Justice, by appointment only; and

2. How many hours, in total have you spent meeting with these members of the public; and

3. On average, how long did you allocate for meetings with these individuals; and

4. At what locations, and the percentage OR number of individuals you have met with at each locations. These could be your Parliamentary Office, your electorate office and so on; and

5. How many members of the public have you refused to meet with since your appointment?

Please treat all of these questions as only relating to you in your capacity as Minister of Justice, not an MP.

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As required by s12(1) of the Act, I am a New Zealand citizen. I will provide confirmation of this, if required. However, since all of our correspondence will be published on the FYI.org.nz site, I will only do so over the phone or email, with which you provide. This would only be for the purpose of citizenship confirmation, and nothing further related to this request.

As required by s12(3) of the Act, I shall provide reason(s) why this request should be treated as URGENT. The questions above raise important issues of accountability of the Government, its departments and agents. Any and all information provided as a result of this request could and may be published either by the writer online to a wide audience or passed onto media outlets for publication so that the public can be kept informed on important issues of transparency.

As required by s13(c) of the Act, if this request “has not been made … to the appropriate department or Minister of the Crown or organisation or local authority”, it is your duty to give reasonable assistance to me to direct my request to the appropriate department or Minister of the Crown or organisation or local authority.

Further to the above statutory requirement, under s14 of the Act, if the information I seek is either not held or you believe it is more closely connected with another department or Minister of the Crown or organisation, or of a local authority you shall promptly, and in any case not later than 10 working days after the day on which the request is received, transfer the request to the other department or Minister of the Crown or organisation, or to that local authority, and inform the person making the request accordingly.

As required under s15A of the Act, if you believe that a time extension is warranted for this request, you must under ss15A(2),(3) and (4) give notice to me of this extension within 20 working days after the day on which my request was received. In that notice, you should state; the period of the extension, give reasons for the extension and remind me of my right to complain to the Ombudsman under s28(3). Finally, the extension must be for a reasonable time, having regards to the circumstances.

As required by s18B of the Act, you must consider consulting me before refusing my request under the provisions of ss18(e) and (f) which relate to a document not being able to be found or existing or where substantial collation and research would be required for my current request.

As required by s19(a)(i), you must provide reasons if you refuse any parts of this request.

I will, if required, complain to the Ombudsman, as is my right under s28(3) of the Act, if any of the above statutory requirements on you are not complied with. Further to this, if your reply is not “as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any case not later than 20 working days after the day on which the request is received” as required under s15(1) of the Act, I will also complain to the Ombudsman.

This request is made through the site FYI.org.nz. All correspondence will be automatically forwarded to me through the site and published online immediately. I require, where appropriate, all electronic copies of all documents in your response. For more information on how the site works, please visit www.fyi.org.nz/help/about.

Yours faithfully,

Liam Stoneley

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From: Swati Bhim


Attachment 20012015103823 0001.pdf
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Please find attached a letter acknowledging your Official Information Act Request.

Kind regards
Swati

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From: Liam Stoneley

Dear Swati Bhim,

I would like to record that this request was sent at 11:55pm on Saturday evening (17th) from this website (FYI.org.nz).

This would mean that you would have received this request on the next working day, being Monday the 19th of January 2015, not today (the 20th) as you claim in your acknowledgement email.

I look forward to a correction of this fact in a response from the Honourable Amy Adams Collins today.

Yours sincerely,

Liam Stoneley

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From: Swati Bhim

Dear Mr Stoneley

Monday 19 January 2015 was Wellington Anniversary day (a public holiday), therefore Tuesday 20 January 2015 is the next working day from the time you sent your request.

Kind regards
Swati

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Oliver Lineham left an annotation ()

Provincial holidays are not considered by the OIA (Section 2(1)) so it is an ordinary working day.

working day means any day of the week other than—
(a)Saturday, Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, Labour Day, the Sovereign's birthday, and Waitangi Day; and
(ab)if Waitangi Day or Anzac Day falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, the following Monday; and
(b)a day in the period commencing with 25 December in any year and ending with 15 January in the following year.

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From: Liam Stoneley

Dear Swati Bhim,

Please refer to s2(1) of the Offcial Information Act 1982 ("the Act") where it clearly states what days are NOT considered "working days":

working day means any day of the week other than—
(a)Saturday, Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, Labour Day, the Sovereign's birthday, and Waitangi Day; and
(ab)if Waitangi Day or Anzac Day falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, the following Monday; and
(b)a day in the period commencing with 25 December in any year and ending with 15 January in the following year.

Therefore, provincial holidays are not considered as a holiday under the Act and yesterday becomes an ordinary working day. You therefore recieved the request on the 19th, as I originally stated.

I am unsure if your previous email stating the contrary was purely negligent or whether the Minister (through you) has tried to deliberately decieve me. Either way, I will reserve my right to complain to the Ombudsman under s28(3) of the Act until I have received further correspndance from you on the matter.

I look forward to a response from the Honourable Amy Adams Collins.

Yours sincerely,

Liam Stoneley

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From: Robyn Tiller


Attachment 28012015155017 0001.pdf
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Robyn Tiller

Private Secretary l Office of Hon Amy Adams I Minister of Justice I Minister for Courts I Minister of Broadcasting I Minister for Communications I DDI : 644 817 9910 I email: [email address]

________________________________

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From: Liam Stoneley

Dear Robyn Tiller,

Thank you for your reply to my request. I have two issues relating to this request I wish to raise with the Minister. These are:

1. In previous correspondence on this request, I was informed by her staff that a provincial holiday meant that my request was received one day later than it actually was. As I then pointed out, this is not what is stated in the Act. It was my hope that as a result of this error, that the Minister would apologise. If I had not had a good understanding of the Act, I would have been deceived by the Minister, which is both unethical and against the Act itself. Whether this was just an accidental error or a deliberate act to deceive me, I would still like an apology.
At this stage, I am still considering a complaint to the Ombudsman on this point. However, as an apology would be the likely result of that complaint, it is my hope that an apology will just be forthcoming.

2. Your refusal of my 5th part of my request.
Under the Act, s 18B requires you to consider consulting me before refusing my request under s 18(f). Here are two examples you could have offered me when you should have considered consulting me:
(a) Provide a cost for your staff's time to fulfil this task. In my estimate, it could take someone upto 3 hours. Under the Ministers own Ministries Guidelines (http://www.justice.govt.nz/publications/...), this could be charged at $152 for that time. However, it must be considered whether this would be a "reasonable fee" for the access given to the requester; OR

(b) Whether asking me to confine my request to a certain period, maybe from the Minister's appointment until the end of November. This may result in less time to collate the data requested.

You have provided me with neither of these options which tends to suggest you did not comply with s 18B. I look forward to a response to this issue as well while I continue to consider whether a complaint to the Ombudsman would be justified.

Thankyou for your consideration, and I hope to hear back from you before the 20 working days upon which should be calculated from Monday the 19th of January.

Yours sincerely,

Liam Stoneley

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Thomas Roberts left an annotation ()

Sweet jesus...

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From: Robyn Tiller


Attachment 11022015090429 0001.pdf
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Robyn Tiller

Private Secretary l Office of Hon Amy Adams I Minister of Justice I Minister for Courts I Minister of Broadcasting I Minister for Communications I DDI : 644 817 9910 I email: [email address]

________________________________

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