Pike River Mine advice

Andrew Joseph made this Official Information request to Andrew Little

The request was successful.

From: Andrew Joseph

Dear Andrew Little,

Pursuant to the Official Information Act 1982, I would like to request any advice, information, briefings, documents, cabinet papers, talking points, and/or emails, including drafts of all the aforementioned, received by your office from officials regarding the re-entry of the Pike River Mine since 26 October 2017.

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Joseph

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From: A Little Office (MIN)
Andrew Little

Tçnâ koe

 

Thank you for contacting the office of Hon Andrew Little MP, Minister of
Justice, Minister for Courts, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi
Negotiations, Minister Responsible for the NZSIS, Minister Responsible for
the GCSB and Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry.

 

Minister Little receives a significant volume of correspondence:

 

·         If your message is for Minister Little’s advice, or if you have
copied your email to another Minister and/or Member of Parliament with
more appropriate portfolio responsibilities, then this will be noted,

·         If you have invited Minister Little to an event then a member of
staff may contact you for more information if the Minister’s attendance
might be possible,

·         If you have made a request for official information then this
will be manged in accordance with the provisions of the Official
Information Act 1982, which may include transfer to a more relevant
Minister or agency,

·         If you have made a request under the Privacy Act then this will
be managed in accordance with the principles of the Privacy Act 1993,
which may include transfer to a more relevant Minister or agency,

·         If you are a journalist then your request will be triaged by a
press secretary,

·         To find out more about Minister Little read his [1]biography or
recent [2]statements.

 

Ngâ mihi

 

Office of Hon Andrew Little MP

Reception +64 4 817 8707 | Ministerial Email
[3][Andrew Little request email] | Web [4]beehive.govt.nz | Postal Freepost
Parliament, Private Bag 18 041, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160, New
Zealand

 

Authorised by Hon Andrew Little MP, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160,
New Zealand

 

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From: A Little Office (MIN)
Andrew Little


Attachment 171214 Letter to A Joseph seeking clarification on OIA request.pdf
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Dear

 

Please see attached letter.

 

Note that you may require PDF reading software to be installed on your
device in order to open the attachment. You can download free PDF reading
software at [1]www.adobe.com/reader

 

Private Secretary - Pike River Re-entry

Office of Hon Andrew Little MP, Minister Responsible for Pike River
Re-Entry
Executive Wing, Parliament, Wellington, New Zealand 6160 | PO Box 18 041,
Wellington, New Zealand 6160

 

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From: Andrew Joseph

Dear A Little Office (MIN),

Please amend my original request to "...and/or emails that contain advice from officials, excluding any emails relating to the organisation of meetings".

I trust that this amendment will be satisfactory given the refined scope and very narrow time frame of the request.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Joseph

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From: A Little Office (MIN)
Andrew Little


Attachment 180115 Letter to Andrew Josph notifying extension on response time for OIA request.pdf
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Dear Mr Joseph

 

Please see attached letter.

 

Note that you may require PDF reading software to be installed on your
device in order to open the attachment. You can download free PDF reading
software at [1]www.adobe.com/reader

 

Kind regards

Private Secretary - Pike River Re-entry

Office of Hon Andrew Little MP, Minister Responsible for Pike River
Re-Entry
Executive Wing, Parliament, Wellington, New Zealand 6160 | PO Box 18 041,
Wellington, New Zealand 6160

 

 

 

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From: A Little Office (MIN)
Andrew Little


Attachment 180126 OIA response to Andrew Joseph.pdf
5.5M Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Joseph

 

Please see attached response to your OIA request from Minister Little.

 

Note that you may require PDF reading software to be installed on your
device in order to open the attachment. You can download free PDF reading
software at [1]www.adobe.com/reader

 

Private Secretary - Pike River Re-entry

Office of Hon Andrew Little MP, Minister Responsible for Pike River
Re-Entry
Executive Wing, Parliament, Wellington, New Zealand 6160 | PO Box 18 041,
Wellington, New Zealand 6160

 

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Luke left an annotation ()

Andrew,

Whenever agencies rely on 9(2)(g)(i) or 9(2)(f)(iv) for withholding I do wonder whether it was necessary to have withheld the information. 9(2)(g)(i) protects the maintenance of the conduct of public affairs through protecting free and frank expression to/from officials and Ministers. 9(2)(f)(iv) is about protecting confidentiality of advice.

If you look at the Ombudsman's guidance (Footnote 1), one of the elements of the test for these two provisions is that it has to be "necessary" to withhold the information.

When you are perusing the detail in the documents you should ponder whether the areas redacted by 9(2)(g)(i) are warranted. Read the ombudsman's guidelines and then apply a critical lens. For example on page 54 they have withheld information under the heading "Risks" persuant to 9(2)(g)(i). Now one has to wonder whether they are attempting to withhold the risk itself rather than trying to protect free and frank expression. Is what was written very frank? If not, then it should be released.

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In the cover letter they say "there are no factors" which would tip the balance in favour of overriding the withholding. They are implying that they identified some factors but they weren't strong enough. So what were the factors I wonder. This is about re-entry to the Pike River mine. There is significant public interest in this and anyone who has been in New Zealand over the last few years would have seen the news about the disaster, the inquiry, about the families meeting with the government and so on.

What I have done in the past is compile my own list of public interest considerations and send them to the agency as an appendix, so that it is really clear. Often requesters will not do this. After all, it is up to the Agency to do the public interest test, so requesters shouldn't have to. But this means that the requester has to trust that the agency has identified and consider the public interest, and that might be a little bit of an ask, perhaps?

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They have withheld a small amount under 9(2)(h) to protect legal privilege, where a lawyer will advise a client and that advice is confidential to those two parties.

Depending who the client was, they could decide to waive privilege, in the public interest. Did they consider that? Given this is Pike River and we want to get all the facts out there, then I am just wondering.

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Page 54 of the Adobe file has "Released under the Official Information Act" covering the text of the document.

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Footnote 1 : http://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/resou...

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