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Tim made this Official Information request to Ministry for the Environment

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From: Tim

Dear Ministry for the Environment,

I request all information, documents, and correspondence held by the Ministry of the Environment relating to:
A) the benefit of irrigation and water storage projects to New Zealand; and
B) irrigation and water storage as a method of climate adaptation for both domestic and/or rural populations; and
C) the environmental, economic, and social impacts of irrigation and/or water storage; and
D) any other information held by the Ministry that relates to irrigation and water storage in New Zealand that has been commissioned, received, or conducted by the Ministry since 2007, and that is not otherwise covered by this request.

Yours faithfully,
Tim

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From: Ministerials
Ministry for the Environment

Kia ora Tim

Official Information request relating to irrigation and water storage in New Zealand

I refer to your official information request dated 11 December 2017 for a range of information, documents and correspondence held by the Ministry for the Environment relating to irrigation and water storage projects.

I apologise for the delay in getting in touch. Due to an administrative error, your request was not logged when it first arrived.

You have asked for all information, documents, and correspondence held by the Ministry for the Environment relating to:

A) the benefit of irrigation and water storage projects to New Zealand; and

B) irrigation and water storage as a method of climate adaptation for both domestic and/or rural populations; and

C) the environmental, economic, and social impacts of irrigation and/or water storage; and

D) any other information held by the Ministry that relates to irrigation and water storage in New Zealand that has been commissioned, received, or conducted by the Ministry since 2007, and that is not otherwise covered by this request.

Our initial file search has located over 72, 000 documents containing the key terms in your request. Section 18(f) of the Official Information Act 1982 allows an agency to refuse a request on the basis that answering it involves substantial collation and research. Before refusing a request, the Official Information Act requires us to consider alternatives that would enable us to meet your requirements.

Accordingly, we have decided to consult with you (under section 18B of the Official Information Act) to see if you would be willing to refine your request. Listed below are some options for you to consider.

1. Limiting the time frame of your request. Your request is not time-bound, except point D of your original correspondence, which seeks 11 years of information dating back to 2007. We suggest you consider limiting the period of time covered by your request (for example, from the last six months).

2. Refining the subject of your request. We suggest you consider requesting information on a more specific subject. For example, rather than seeking all information, you may wish to focus on your key area of interest such as climate change adaptation, Ministry records in relation to specific irrigation/water storage schemes, or advice prepared by the Ministry to Ministers on the environmental benefits of irrigation/water storage. You may also wish to consider excluding certain things from your request. For example, you could exclude information about water storage for drinking water supply.

We have considered whether an extension of time would enable us to answer your request. Based on the initial search results, an extension of many months would be required. We have assessed that this is not reasonable in the circumstances.

Please note that if you do not refine your request, or the refinement does not substantially reduce the amount of material in scope, we may consider charging for providing information under section 15(1A) of the Official Information Act. Charges will reflect the costs of making information available. Payment may be required in advance.

There are many publicly available documents on irrigation and/or water storage that may be of interest to you. These can be accessed from the websites of the Ministry for the Environment (www.mfe.govt.nz), and the Ministry for Primary Industries (www.mpi.govt.nz).

If you wish to discuss any aspect of your request with us, including this decision, please feel free to contact [MFE request email]. We can also help you refine the scope of your request and discuss the possibility of charges (if relevant).

Sincerely

Executive Relations
Ministry for the Environment – Manatū Mō Te Taiao
Website: www.mfe.govt.nz 
23 Kate Sheppard Place, PO Box 10362, Wellington 6143

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Luke left an annotation ()

This is a fantastic response by the Ministry assisting the requester.

Tim: the Ministry will have many repositories for storing information, many of those would have to be checked to locate the information you need. Even if they queried their principal electronic record-keeping system (which I assume that's what their reply refers to), then a lot of results will come up. Even if they go to the exact folders containing the information, they then have to sift through and select which ones you might want and which ones to ignore. Then, that information has to be checked to see if there are any interests that need to protecting (e.g. privacy of natural persons).

Link to this

From: Ministerials
Ministry for the Environment

Kia ora Tim

Official Information request relating to irrigation and water storage in New Zealand

I refer to your Official Information request dated 11 December 2017 for a range of information, documents and correspondence held by the Ministry for the Environment relating to irrigation and water storage projects.

We emailed you on Friday 9 February (under section 18B of the Official Information Act) to see if you would be willing to refine your request due to its large scope.

We have not heard back from you. We would be grateful if you could respond by Friday 9 March so that we can get information to you as soon as practicable.

If you wish to discuss any aspect of your request with us please feel free to contact [MFE request email]. As advised previously, we can also help you refine the scope of your request.

Sincerely

Executive Relations
Ministry for the Environment – Manatū Mō Te Taiao
Website: www.mfe.govt.nz
23 Kate Sheppard Place, PO Box 10362, Wellington 6143

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Luke left an annotation ()

Tim - are you going to get back to the Ministry?

Link to this

From: Ministerials
Ministry for the Environment

Kia ora Tim

Official Information request relating to irrigation and water storage in New Zealand

I refer to your official information request dated 11 December 2017 for a range of information, documents and correspondence held by the Ministry for the Environment relating to irrigation and water storage projects.

You have asked for all information, documents, and correspondence held by the Ministry for the Environment relating to:

A) the benefit of irrigation and water storage projects to New Zealand; and

B) irrigation and water storage as a method of climate adaptation for both domestic and/or rural populations; and

C) the environmental, economic, and social impacts of irrigation and/or water storage; and

D) any other information held by the Ministry that relates to irrigation and water storage in New Zealand that has been commissioned, received, or conducted by the Ministry since 2007, and that is not otherwise covered by this request.

As advised by email on 9 February 2018, our initial file search located over 72,000 documents containing the key terms of your request. Due to the substantial amount of work that would be required to research and collate the information you requested, we decided to consult with you to see if you would be willing to refine your request (under section 18B of the Official Information Act).

We emailed you again on 26 February 2018 asking you to respond by 9 March 2018, but we have not heard from you.

Accordingly, we are refusing your request under section 18(f) of the Official Information Act. The significant amount of work and cost required to locate, assess and release over 72,000 documents would have a large impact on the Ministry’s operations.

We have considered whether charging or extending the timeframe for responding to your request would help, as required by section 18A of the Official Information Act. As previously advised, based on the initial search results, an extension of many months would be required. We have assessed that this is not reasonable in the circumstances. As the Ministry’s research and collation costs would be considerable, neither do we consider that charging you would be feasible.

You have the right to seek an investigation and review by the Ombudsman of this decision. Information about how to make a complaint is available at www.ombudsman.parliament.nz or freephone 0800 802 602.

If you wish to discuss this decision with us, please feel free to contact us at [MFE request email]. We are able to provide further assistance should you be willing to make a new request that is significantly smaller in scope. You can find more guidance on submitting OIA requests on the Ombudsman’s website (http://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz).

As previously advised, there are many publicly available documents on irrigation and/or water storage that may be of interest to you. These can be accessed from the websites of the Ministry for the Environment (www.mfe.govt.nz), and the Ministry for Primary Industries (www.mpi.govt.nz).

Sincerely

Executive Relations
Ministry for the Environment – Manatū Mō Te Taiao
Website: www.mfe.govt.nz
23 Kate Sheppard Place, PO Box 10362, Wellington 6143

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