Your submission may be published

The Inquiry will retain information and documents it receives as part of its inquiry, and they will be used to determine its findings and recommendations which will be reported to the Government in November 2018.

The principle of openness is important to the Inquiry.  Written submissions, and summaries of oral submissions, may therefore be published at the discretion of the Inquiry, or provided to third parties to facilitate participation in the Inquiry or comply with principles of natural justice.  Where possible, the Inquiry would notify you first before providing your submission to a third party.

It is possible that some content from submissions, for example, quotes or individual experiences, may be referenced or included in the Inquiry report.  Under the Privacy Act 1993, any personal information (eg, name, address, date of birth) would be excluded, and stories and experiences will be anonymised where possible. We will not make public any information supplied under an express request for confidentiality.

Where no request for confidentiality, in whole or part, is made, the Inquiry will understand it has your permission to use your submission and documents at its discretion.

Requesting confidentiality for your submission

If you are providing sensitive information (personal or commercial) in your submission or attached documents, you can request that all or parts of these be confidential (not referenced in the final report or released publicly).  You can point out sections of information you do not want included in any way (even anonymised). 

Your request for confidentiality should explain the reasons for the sensitivity, which may be different for different parts of your submission or documents.

Your request and associated reasons will help the Inquiry to decide whether an order should be made under section 15(1)(a) of the Inquiries Act 2013(external link) to restrict access to the information or document while the Inquiry is underway, as well as after the Inquiry has reported.  The Inquiry will not unreasonably refuse such orders, but section 15(2) contains criteria the Inquiry must consider before making an order under section 15(1).  The privacy interests of an individual are an important consideration.

If an order is made under section 15(1)(a), it will apply only to the Inquiry copy of your submission or documents; you will be able to use or circulate your copy however you wish.

In anticipation that a non-publication order will likely be made, you are requested to provide a redacted/ edited copy of your submission and documents, removing all sensitive information, along with the original unredacted/ unedited submission and documents. 

If an order is made under section 15(1)(a) of the Inquiries Act 2013, the only people who will have access to your submission will be the Inquiry panel and nominated staff of the Inquiry.

Please note that any request for confidentiality is subject to the requirements of the Inquiries Act 2013, Public Records Act 2005, Official Information Act 1982, Evidence Act 2006 and Privacy Act 1993.

Sections 6 and 9 of the Official Information Act 1982, and Part 2 Sub-part 8 of the Evidence Act 2006 set out reasons why information may be sensitive and need to be withheld.  They include protection of information which is subject to an obligation of confidence, to protect the privacy of natural persons, to avoid endangering the safety of any person, to maintain the law, or to maintain legal professional privilege.

Under the Public Records Act 2005 access to Inquiry records can be restricted for a specified period (eg 25 years).

How will my submission be stored?

The Inquiry will store all information on a secure database at the Department of Internal Affairs in accordance with the Privacy Act 1993 and the Health Information Privacy Code 1994.  Once the Inquiry has published its final report, as required under the Inquiries Act and the Public Records Act, information will be transferred to Archives NZ.

Official Information Act 1982

During the Inquiry, up until the final report is published, organisations subject to the Official Information Act may still receive requests for information prepared for or submitted to the Inquiry.  It will be their responsibility to respond to such requests.

Once the Inquiry has published its final report, information held by the Inquiry becomes official information under the Official Information Act 1982. The exceptions set out in section 32(2) of the Inquiries Act 2013 are:

  1. information subject to a publication restriction order made by the Inquiry panel under section 15(1)(a) of the Inquiries Act; or
  2. any documents created by a member of the Inquiry or provided to the Inquiry by an officer of the Inquiry, relating to internal deliberations by the Inquiry.

If the Inquiry has made a final prohibition order under section 15(1)(a) of the Inquiries Act, then after the Inquiry has reported it means that a person making an Official Information Act request will be prevented from obtaining access to the Inquiry’s record of that information or document. It may however still be available from the originating submitter if they are an agency coming under the Official Information Act 1982.

See also Minutes of the Inquiry which refers to the status of documents and material supplied to the Inquiry.

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