Cost of police car livery

C WATSON made this Official Information request to New Zealand Police

This request has had an unusual response, and requires attention from the FYI team.

From: C WATSON

Dear New Zealand Police,

Please provide the cost of livery on police cars used for standard police work i.e a standard squad car.
For the purposes of the OIA I reside in New Zealand.

Yours faithfully,
C Watson

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From: TALAGI, Salote
New Zealand Police


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Dear C Watson

 

I acknowledge receipt of your request for information about the cost of
livery on police cars, received by Police.  Your request will be dealt
with under the Official Information Act 1982.

 

 

Kind regards

 

Salote Talagi

Ministerial Services

 

E  [1][email address]

 

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This is an Official Information request made via the FYI website.

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[9][FOI #7266 email]

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From: TALAGI, Salote
New Zealand Police


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Dear C Watson

 

Please find attached a response to your request of 13 February 2018.

 

 

Kind regards

 

Salote Talagi

Ministerial Services

 

E  [1][email address]

 

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Mark Hanna left an annotation ()

Given NZ Police received your request on the 13th of February, their response was due as soon as reasonably possible and no later than the 13th of March. You'd clearly be justified in complaining about the lateness of the response to the Ombudsman.

You may also wish to challenge the decision to withhold the information. The Ombudsman's guidance on the relevant section of the OIA is clear that

"A simple assertion that the release of the information would be likely to prejudice the commercial position of the person to whom the information relates is not sufficient."

http://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/syste...

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Luke left an annotation ()

I agree with Mark.

You simply asked for the cost. You did not, for instance, ask for the name of the company that painted the livery on. Therefore you nor the public do not know who painted it on and therefore any prejudice to the painter would be negligible and reasonable (prejudice or harm has to reach the threshold of "unreasonable", the Act, for the Police to sustain the withholding).

From reading their response, I just think they erred in their judgement, which they do from time to time.

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C WATSON left an annotation ()

Complaint made thankyou for the feedback on this interested to see how similar requests are handled

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C WATSON left an annotation ()

Ombudsman complaint was received on the 15th of March and acknowledged email on the 20th case number has been assigned

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C WATSON left an annotation ()

I note that the cost of the "Rainbow Car" has been provided without citing commercial sensitivity.
Maybe I should have requested a specific squad car but standard leaves scope for redactions ?

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Luke left an annotation ()

I think you did the right thing asking for the standard squad car.

The fact that they have released the cost of the rainbow car undermines their refusal to release to you the cost of a standard police squad car.

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C WATSON left an annotation ()

"I am writing on behalf of Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier. On 15 March 2018, you made a complaint about the decision of the New Zealand Police on your request for the cost of livery on a standard patrol car. Mr Boshier is investigating your complaint. "

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Josh Cross left an annotation ()

What ever came of the complaint?

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C WATSON left an annotation ()

Dear Mr Watson
Official Information Act investigation
New Zealand Police
Cost of livery on Police vehicles
I refer to the letter from Ms Murdoch-Trollope of 7 May 2018, concerning your complaint about
the decision of the New Zealand Police (Police) to refuse your request for the cost of livery
applied to a standard patrol vehicle.
Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has asked me to advance matters of this type acting under
delegated authority.
In essence, it appears that the Police were entitled to refuse your request, on the basis that the
information you requested is not held.
I have set out the relevant reasoning in detail below.
Ombudsman’s role
An Ombudsman has authority under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) to investigate and
review, on complaint, any decision by which an agency subject to the OIA refuses to make official
information available when requested.
An Ombudsman’s role in undertaking an investigation is to evaluate the grounds for refusing
requests for official information in terms of the tests set out in the OIA, and to form an opinion as
to whether the request was properly refused.
Background
On 13 February 2018 you requested ‘the cost of livery on police cars used for standard police work
i.e. a standard squad car’ from the Police.
On 13 March 2018 the Police refused your request ‘due to the commercial sensitivity of supplying
this information’, citing section 9(2)(b)(ii) of the OIA.
In response to enquiries by this Office, the Police advised that they did not hold the information
you requested. Clarification was sought and it was confirmed that the Police are now relying on
section 18(g) of the OIA to refuse your request.
Comments by the Police
In responding to Ms Murdoch-Trollope’s request for comments, the Police advised that they do
not hold the information you requested as an all-inclusive price is paid for a standard patrol
vehicle. The supplier of Police vehicles subcontracts for the livery to be applied, and the cost of
the livery is a matter for the supplier and the subcontractor.
The Police further explained that the fit out, which includes the application of livery and other
elements, is part of the specification of the vehicles they are purchasing, and the fit out work is
completed before the vehicle is delivered, invoiced for and paid for.
The Police noted that from time to time they may have had information about what the supplier
pays its subcontractors, in the context of reviewing their contract with the supplier. However,
Police state that that information would not necessarily have been current at the time of your
request, or ‘[put] another way, Police cannot be certain as to what is paid to the livery providers;
only what it pays as the all-in cost of the fit out’.
Analysis
Section 18(g) of the OIA provides that a request may be refused if the information is not held by
the agency and the person dealing with the request has no grounds for believing that the
information is either –
(i) held by another department or Minister of the Crown or organisation, or by a
local authority; or
(ii) connected more closely with the functions of another department or Minister
of the Crown or organisation or of a local authority:
Information held by an independent contractor engaged by the Police, will be deemed to be held
by the Police if, and only if, the information is obtained by the supplier in the course of
discharging its duties under the Police contract.1 This does not apply in this case as the Police
contract for the finished standard patrol vehicle, and not individually for each of the vehicle’s
specifications.
The Police cannot rely on section 18(g) to refuse a request if there is reason to believe that
another agency will hold the information or alternatively the information is more closely
connected to the functions of another agency. In either of these circumstances the Police will be
required to transfer the request to the relevant agency.
However, an agency which receives a request in accordance with the OIA, can only transfer the
request to an agency which is subject to the OIA or the Local Government Official Information and
Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA). The supplier is not an agency which is subject to the OIA or the
LGOIMA. Therefore there is no provision under the OIA for the Police to transfer the request to
the supplier when your request was received.

Provisional Opinion
For the reasons outlined above, it is likely that the Chief Ombudsman will be of the opinion that
Police were entitled to refuse your request on the basis that the information requested is not
held, and there is nothing to suggest that it is held or more closely connected with the functions
of another agency or minister.
Your comments
We invite you to comment before Mr Boshier forms a final opinion on this matter. If you do wish
to comment, please respond in writing by 30 October 2018.
Yours sincerely
Letitia Parry
Manager: Investigations

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
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