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The Political Corruption of the Ombudsmen's Office (expanded and six times updated)

Peter Zohrab 2019

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Letter to Speaker of Parliament

Letter to the Leader of the Opposition

Letter from Chief Ombudsman

Letter from Speaker of Parliament

 

(Open Letter to the Speaker of the New Zealand Parliament)

 

Dear Mr. Mallard.

 

Section 4 of the Official Information Act 1982 states, in part, as follows:

Purposes
The purposes of this Act are, consistently with the principle of the Executive Government’s responsibility to Parliament,—
(a) to increase progressively the availability of official information to the people of New Zealand in order—

(i) to enable their more effective participation in the making and administration of laws and policies; and
(ii) to promote the accountability of Ministers of the Crown and officials,—
and thereby to enhance respect for the law and to promote the good government of New Zealand:

 

I am writing to complain that the Ombudsman's office has, in at least one instance, acted contrary to the Purposes of the Official Information Act 1982 for reasons of political bias.

  • It has attempted to frustrate my participation in the making and administration of laws and policies and

  • it has reduced the accountability of one Minister of the Crown, in particular.

  • This diminishes my respect for the law and

  • undermines the good government of New Zealand.

 

I have occasionally had somewhat similar experiences with the Ombudsman's Office in the past as well, but this is a particularly obvious and provable example, and it gives rise to several complaints on my part.

In the course of writing this letter, it has occurred to me that part of the problem might be a misunderstanding. It is probable that both the Minister involved and the official in the Ombudsman's office are Feminists, of course, but they may also share an unspoken assumption that, once the sheer number of perceived women's issues appears to reach a certain level, that requires a dedicated Ministry for Women, as opposed to dealing with the issues separately. However, if that is the case, they are too deeply committed to their "Feminist religion" to see the need to make this unspoken assumption explicit. That has made them both too irrational to understand that information relating to a dedicated Ministry for Women must include the phrase "dedicated Ministry for Women", or some equivalent phrase -- unless the above unspoken assumption is made explicit.

 

 

FIRST COMPLAINT

In connection with my lengthy correspondence with the Minister of State Services (which started with a letter to the Minister of Justice) about his reasons for supporting the existence of a dedicated Ministry for Women, Mr. Nick Kennedy of the Ombudsman's Office wrote to me on 26/03/2019 and stated (amongst other things):

"If you are seeking confirmation that such a set of criteria is not held, you are able to ask for this."

"If what you are seeking is confirmation that particular information is not held, you can confirm this with the Minister."

"First, therefore, under the Official Information Act, could you please clearly state whether you do or do not have information which specifically deals with the issue of whether (to use your words) the so-called 'gender pay gap', the number of women in leadership positions, family violence and sexual violence are better addressed by a dedicated Ministry (for women)?"

The point was that many issues are dealt with without creating a ministry dedicated to a particular societal group. For example, men do not have a dedicated ministry, although many issues that affect men are dealt with by Government.

The Minister, in his reply, dated 7 May 2019, avoided answering my question, so, on the 12th of May 2019, I wrote again to the Ombudsman and complained about this.

However, in his letter of 23 May 2019, Mr. Nick Kennedy, having given me the above advice, refused to take any action when the Minister did not comply with the request that Mr. Kennedy himself had advised me to make!

 

 

SECOND COMPLAINT

When writing to the Minister as above, I did not use the word "criteria", which Mr. Kennedy wanted me to use, because it seemed to me inappropriate and outside the scope of his legal powers for the Ombudsmen to tell me what wording I should use, in the absence of any evidence that the Minister had misunderstood my question as originally worded by me. In several emails and letters, I have focussed on the phrase "better addressed by a dedicated Ministry" and the Minister has steadfastly avoided providing any information which included that phrase, or anything similar. The Ombudsman's office has ignored that issue.

 

 

THIRD COMPLAINT

Moreover, Mr. Kennedy stated a gross untruth, as follows:

In his letter of 23 May 2019, Mr. Kennedy cites my above request to the Minister, i.e.:

"First, therefore, under the Official Information Act, could you please clearly state whether you do or do not have information which specifically deals with the issue of whether (to use your words) the so-called 'gender pay gap', the number of women in leadership positions, family violence and sexual violence are better addressed by a dedicated Ministry (for women)?"

Then he states:

"This is the second time you have made such a request..."

I deny that I had ever made that request before, which was the result of Mr. Kennedy's own suggestion, as explained above. It had not previously occurred to me to comply with his suggestions, because they seemed to me to be bossy in nature and to advise unnecessary courses of action.

 

 

FOURTH COMPLAINT

 

Mr. Kennedy's earlier letter, dated 29 March 2019, is -- in retrospect -- by far the most corrupt of his letters. I did not treat it as such at the time. Since decisions of the Ombudsmen (unless they relate to his jurisdiction) cannot be challenged in the courts, I have mostly tended to assume good faith on the part of the staff of the Ombudsman's office. If they are in fact corrupt, almost all I can do is write to you -- and I am not aware of any precedent for the Speaker taking any action on the basis of a complaint about the Ombudsman's office.

Mr. Kennedy wrote:

"The Minister responded to your request, providing you with links to various sources of publicly available information which the Minister considered responded to your request, being what he considered as evidence that the issues were better addressed by a dedicated Ministry."

Mr. Kennedy considered that to be sufficient response on the Minister's part. My point, which he ignored, was that none of that information mentioned the phrase "dedicated Ministry" (or equivalent) and that the information supplied by the Minister was therefore irrelevant. Given Mr. Kennedy's suggestion that I use the term "criteria", I now wonder if both he and the Minister had some unspoken assumption that, once the number and scale of perceived problems reached a certain level, the most practical solution was to create a dedicated Ministry. However, neither the Minister nor Mr. Kennedy has ever made any statement to me along those lines.

If these two individuals held such a belief, they should have stated it.

 

FIFTH COMPLAINT

 

On 29 March 2019, Mr. Kennedy wrote:

"It is apparent, however, that your disagreement with the decision stems more from your well-established opposition to the broadly agreed upon societal inequalities that exist for women in modern society. This seems clear not only from your correspondence on this complaint, but in previous complaints to this Office."

It is grotesquely corrupt for Mr. Kennedy to refer to the substance of the issues as to which the Minister and I obviously disagree -- and especially to pretend that my disagreement with his decision is based on those substantive issues. Moreover, he mis-states those substantive issues. Moreover, he uses the phrase "broadly agreed upon" without citing evidence or referring to the totalitarian methods (of which his own corruption is a typical part) by which any such broad agreement might have been achieved or is maintained.

Mr. Kennedy is showing his bias here and making a political decision, instead of holding the Minister to his legal duty to provide information which is relevant to the phrase "dedicated ministry".

 

 

SIXTH COMPLAINT

 

On 29 March 2019, Mr. Kennedy further states:

"The OIA is not a mechanism for complainants to require an agency to produce information, provide explanations or debate a general issue (outside of the very specific circumstances set out in section 22 and 23 of the OIA)."

That is an insane statement, given that one of the purposes of the Official Information Act 1982 is (as stated above):

"to increase progressively the availability of official information to the people of New Zealand."

Moreover, Mr. Kennedy was obviously claiming that I was requiring an agency to produce information, provide explanations or debate a general issue. Obviously, I was requiring the Minister to produce information, but I was certainly not asking him to provide explanations or debate a general issue and Mr. Kennedy does not provide any evidence that I was doing either of those things. In his email of 26 March 2019, he had used the fact that I had used the word "evidence" as evidence that I was debating with the Minister. However, in my email of 28 March 2019, I was able to point out that I was merely using a word that had originally been used by the Minister himself and that I could have used the word "information", without changing the meaning of what I was saying.

 

 

SEVENTH COMPLAINT

 

In my email of 12 May 2015, I complained to the Ombudsman that the reply from the Minister dated 7 May 2019 contained an incoherent sentence which made no grammatical sense and conveyed no information. However, Mr. Kennedy's reply dated 23 May 2019 said that he was refusing to take any action.

 

I look forward to your response.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Peter Zohrab

 

As at 30th August 2019, I have not had a reply or even an acknowledgement, even after having telephoned the Speaker's office and complained about this.

So I wrote to the Leader of the Opposition.

 

Eventually, I received an emailed letter from the Chief Ombudsman:

 

 

I replied to the Chief Ombudsman on 14 September 2019, forwarding to him my original complaint of 12 May 2019 and also attaching my letter to the Minister of State Services of 17 August 2019.

 

 

Later, I received the following letter from the Speaker of Parliament:

 

Letter from Speaker of Parliament of 16 September 2019

 

Later, I received a reply from Leader of the Opposition

 

See also:

 

 

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Peter Douglas Zohrab

Latest Update

30 September 2019

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