Official Residence of the Deputy Prime Minster

Jackson Fowler made this Official Information request to Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

The request was partially successful.

From: Jackson Fowler

Dear Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet,

What is the official residence of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt Hon. Winston Peters? Recent news reports state he lives in an official residence, presumably crown owned. What is this official residence? I am aware obviously of Premier House but I was unaware of another official residence.

Yours faithfully,

Jackson Fowler.

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From: Information [DPMC]
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Dear Jackson

Thank you for your request under the Official Information Act 1982 which was received on 20 February 2018, copied below. A response will be provided in accordance with the Act.

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) may publish the response to your Official Information Act (OIA) request.

When you are provided with a response to this request, you will be informed about whether the response to your OIA request will be published. If DPMC does publish the response to your OIA request, personal information, including your name and contact details, will be removed.

Kind regards

Ministerial Coordinator
Office of the Chief Executive
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

The information contained in this email message is for the attention of the intended recipient only and is not necessarily the official view or communication of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. If you are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, copy or distribute this message or the information in it. If you have received this message in error, please destroy the email and notify the sender immediately.
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From: Information [DPMC]
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


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Dear Jackson

 

Please find attached a scanned copy of a letter regarding your recent
Official Information Act 1982 request to the Department of the Prime
Minister and Cabinet (DPMC).

 

Kind regards

 

 

Ministerial  
Coordinator
Office of  
the Chief
Executive  

Department  
of the
Prime [1]cid:image001.gif@01CE893F.79F24AB0
Minister
and Cabinet

 

 

 

The
information
contained in
this email
message is for
the attention
of the
intended
recipient only
and is not
necessarily
the official
view or
communication
of the
Department of
the Prime
Minister and
Cabinet. If  
you are not
the intended
recipient you
must not
disclose, copy
or distribute
this message
or the
information in
it. If you
have received
this message
in error,
please destroy
the email and
notify the
sender
immediately.

[UNCLASSIFIED]

 

 

 

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From: Katrina Taylor


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Dear Jackson Fowler,

 

Please find attached the response to your Official Information Act
request, transferred to the Department from the Department of Prime
Minister and Cabinet on 2 March 2018, re official residences.

 

Kind regards,

Katrina Taylor

 

 

Katrina Taylor | Acting Senior Advisor| Operational Policy and
Performance| Ministerial and Secretariat Services 
Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua 
 [1]www.dia.govt.nz

 

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Luke left an annotation ()

Your request was answered to the extent that the Department said that it is a property in Bolton St, Wellington, but it wasn't clear whether it was Crown-owned. But another source online confirms they are (Footnote 1)

Because you probably hadn't preconceived that they would respond to you with a street name and no address, you hadn't therefore specified an address. As such the didn't need to disclose the number to answer your request, as your request had been answered by asking 'what is the official residence...'.

If you did want to know the street number of name of the residence (considering those other official residences do have names), then you could do so.

They have made a position that they wanted to withhold the that information based on those two grounds of privacy and improper pressure/harassment.

I think their position is incorrect.

To start with, although they don't specify the addresses the other official residences they name, the street addresses can be found (see footnote 2). While they did not disclose who lives at these other residences, it can be found from online sources (FN 3) . For example we know the Prime Minister's official residence is Premier House.

So you have to question, why they want to withhold the street address for the Bolton St property, given the street addresses for other properties can be found.

Online sources reveal that the Bolton street address is likely to be 23 Bolton St. (FN 4). This property is owned by Her Majesty The Queen, who is the living embodiment of the Crown (FN 5).

Turning now to the actual withholding provisions. I could drill right down into the Ombudsman's guidelines for 9(2)(g)(ii), (FN 6), but will just make some salient observations instead.

"“Improper pressure or harassment” is something more than ill considered or irritating criticism or unwanted publicity. It is a course of conduct that has such an effect on the person against whom it is directed that he or she is unable to perform his or her duties effectively and hence the conduct of public affairs is at risk."

"If the section is to apply, there must not only be a
reasonable likelihood of improper pressure or harassment".

and...

"The agency must demonstrate that the prejudice or harm is so likely to occur that it is necessary to withhold the information in order to prevent that prejudice or harm from occurring. A mere possibility that prejudice could occur is not sufficient to meet the requirement under section 9 that withholding is necessary."

So was there a likelihood of the harm occurring -- has this Minister or other Ministers been unable to carry out public affairs when the address of an official residence been released? Is there precedent? DPMC didn't refer to any such matters.

In respect of the withholding for privacy, the strength of privacy interest is low. Other residences, such as Premier House especially, are known to house particular Ministers. The fact that that they confirmed he lives at a Bolton St property, that 23 Bolton St is in the public domain, and that it is an official residence, not a private one, reduces the privacy interest.

As an aside, from looking at the information online there is actually a whole lot more information held by DIA about the Crown's property portfolio for ministers. (FN 8)

Footnotes

FN 1: https://www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/defaul...

FN2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vogel_House

http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/politic...

FN 3: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premier_Ho...

FN 4: see below

page 3: https://www.parliament.nz/resource/en-NZ...

page 160: https://www.parliament.nz/resource/mi-nz...

https://www.gets.govt.nz/DIA/ExternalTen...

FN 5: https://gis.wcc.govt.nz/LocalMaps/Viewer...

FN 6: http://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/syste...

FN 7: http://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/syste...

FN 8: Page 160 at https://www.parliament.nz/resource/mi-nz...

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