Background around decision on "vexacious" OIA requests

Gavin Millar made this Official Information request to Taranaki Regional Council

The request was successful.

From: Gavin Millar

Dear Taranaki Regional Council,

I notice that you have recently declared three people to be "vexacious" and therefore out-rightly refused to provide responses to any future requests from them.

See:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-ne...

Given this almost unheard of decision from a local government I would request the following:

1) All documents related to this decision including any legal advice received, communication with the Office of the Ombudsmen or other external bodies and internal communication.
2) The figures and calculations used to provide the quoted estimate of the $30,000 as well as the period for which this was calculated.
3) Any internal communication discussing a potential submission to the recently released Law Commission report on the Official Information Act and Local Government Information Act or relating to a decision not to make such a submission.

I should note that I am in no way affiliated with the trio listed and am not making this request on their behalf. I am merely interested in the decision itself and the reasoning behind it.

I would prefer to receive an electronic response. Queries about this request will be automatically forwarded to me by the fyi.org.nz website.

With regards to s12 of the OIA, I am an NZ citizen and in NZ.

Yours faithfully,

Gavin Millar

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From: Fred McLay
Taranaki Regional Council

Gary,

We have copies of communication between the TRC and Ms Roberts that we
would like to post you. What is your address?

 

Fred McLay
Director - Resource Management

Taranaki Regional Council
47 Cloten Road, Private Bag 713
Stratford 4352, New Zealand
Phone: 06 765 7127
Fax: 06 765 5097
[mobile number]
www.trc.govt.nz

Working with people l caring for Taranaki
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From: Gavin Millar

Dear Fred McLay,

In my request I asked for an electronic response. I would ask that this request be honoured unless there is a valid legal reason why it cannot be.

Yours sincerely,

Gavin Millar

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From: Fred McLay
Taranaki Regional Council

Dear Gavin Millar,
Your request noted ' I would prefer to receive an electronic response '. A spare hard copy of the Roberts communication material you wish to view happens to be available and it is easer for the Council to send you that rather than the files by email. Hence the request for your address or you could get someone to pick up the package from reception at our Stratford office.
If we do it electronically the total time taken to process your request will be more than one hour and a charge will have to be made. An estimate is $38.

Which option do you wish to take: electronic or paper copies ?

Cheers

Fred McLay
Director - Resource Management

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From: Gavin Millar

Dear Fred McLay,

The LGOIMA 1987 is crystal clear when it states:

"Subject to section 16, the local authority shall make the information available in the way preferred by the person requesting it unless to do so would—
(a)impair efficient administration; or
(b)be contrary to any legal duty of any local authority in respect of the document; or
(c)prejudice the interests protected by section 6 or section 7 and (in the case of the interests protected by section 7) there is no countervailing public interest."

You have stated that the only reason you wish to provide a postal copy is that you happen to have a copy on hand (and presumably no electronic copy?), this is far from reaching the standard required by (a). Therefore I continue to request that my response is received electronically.

I also fail to see how the time to scan a document into an electronic format (a procedure any modern multifunction printer can perform automatically) can take any significant length of time. It would almost certainly be less work to do that then it would be to go through the process of mailing a copy. If you really do intend to claim that the electronic requirement would move the time taken to respond to my request over one hour I would ask that you provide a breakdown of the estimated time taken to justify this decision. As it stands one could argue that the fact you wish to charge for an electronic copy is a somewhat cynical attempt to force me to accept the format you want to provide.

Yours sincerely,

Gavin Millar

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From: Fred McLay
Taranaki Regional Council

Gavin,
The TRC reply to your OIA request just got 'bounced' because it was too big. I will get Chris to put the files in a drop box tomorrow for you to uplift asap.

Fred McLay
Director - Resource Management

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From: Chris Buhler
Taranaki Regional Council

Hi Gavin,

 

Regarding your official information request;

 

Here is the Dropbox link below that will allow you to download the
requested files.

 

Please note the files are available at this link for a limited time.

 

Please let me know if there are any further issues.

 

Kind regards,

 

Chris Buhler
Assistant Consents Officer

 

From: Dropbox [mailto:[email address]]
Sent: Thursday, 27 September 2012 3:41 PM
To: Chris Buhler
Subject: Darlene Ladbrook shared "Info request" with you

 

Darlene used Dropbox to share some files with you!

Message from Darlene: "Hi Chris, linked attached. Let me know if there are
any problems."

[1]Click here to view "Info request".
© 2012 Dropbox

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Gavin Millar left an annotation ()

The provided documents provide some interesting detail. In my opinion they fail to provide any evidence to support the claim that these requests were vexacious, in fact they seem the perfectly reasonable requests of someone distressed by the environmental effects (both in air, water and soil) of potentially dangerous actions occurring in their vicinity.

Some TDC employees makes some rather insulting remarks which could show an overall lack of compassion within the organisation.

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Gavin Millar left an annotation ()

I should add, I'd be interested to see the outcome of any Ombudsmen complaint around the TRC's classification of vexacious in this case.

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B M Murrah left an annotation ()

I also would like to see any decision regarding the labelling of Vexatious.

I wrote about this more here:
http://officialinformationact.blogspot.c...

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Mark Allen left an annotation ()

The dropbox link mentioned in the thread has been moved or deleted? i too would have liked to see this information :-(

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Oliver Lineham left an annotation ()

Part of the response is still at the blog post linked above.

However, if the original requester would like to send the original response files to requests@fyi.org.nz I will arrange to have them hosted here.

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Liam Stoneley left an annotation ()

Hi all,

I two would like to see the full documents that were placed at the Dropbox link. Has this been provided to FYI? If not, and if the requester is not able/willing to, I will request again from the TRC, so everyone can see the documents.

Cheers

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Gavin Millar left an annotation ()

Unfortunately I no longer seem to have a copy of the original files from dropbox, they seem to have disappeared in the nearly 3 years since this original request.

A fresh copy could be requested however be aware of Taranaki Regional Council's unfriendly responses to OIA requests. It'd also be worth noting that one of the original people in this request indicated that the data I received was only a portion of the total correspondence.

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Taranaki Regional Council only: