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Judgment: Kelsey v Minister of Trade - TPP OIA Decisions Quashed

IN THE HIGH COURT OF NEW ZEALAND
WELLINGTON REGISTRY
CIV-2015-485-000583
[2015] NZHC 2497

UNDER
The Judicature Amendment Act 1972 and Part 30 of the High Court Rules

IN THE MATTER OF
An application for judicial review

BETWEEN
JANE KELSEY
First Applicant
CONSUMER NEW ZEALAND INC
Second Applicant
NGĀTI KAHUNGUNU IWI INC
Third Applicant
OXFAM NEW ZEALAND
Fourth Applicant
GREENPEACE OF NEW ZEALAND INC
Fifth Applicant
ASSOCIATION OF SALARIED MEDICAL SPECIALISTS
Sixth Applicant
NEW ZEALAND NURSES ASSOCIATION INC
Seventh Applicant
NEW ZEALAND TERTIARY EDUCATION UNION TE HAUTŪ KAHURANGI O AOTEAROA

AND

THE MINISTER OF TRADE

Respondent
Hearing:
28 September 2015
Counsel:
M S R Palmer QC for Applicants
V L Hardy and K Laurenson for Respondent
Judgment:
13 October 2015

JUDGMENT OF COLLINS J

Summary of judgment

[1] The applicants have sought judicial review of a decision of the Minister of Trade (the Minister) in which he refused to release to Professor Kelsey official information contained in eight categories of documents she requested under the Official Information Act 1982 (the Act). The information requested by Professor Kelsey concerns material associated with negotiations that have led to a multi-lateral free trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP Agreement).

[2] When the Minister refused Professor Kelsey’s request, neither he nor his officials assessed each piece of information requested against the criteria in the Act for withholding official information. Instead, the Minister adopted a “blanket approach” to the request based upon his knowledge of the categories of documents requested by Professor Kelsey. I have concluded this approach did not comply with the Act.

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[3] The applicants have applied for a series of declarations concerning the lawfulness of the Minister’s approach and the meaning of specific provisions of the Act.

[4] Rather than issue specific declarations I have quashed the Minister’s decision in relation to six of the categories of documents requested by Professor Kelsey. I explain in this judgment the aspects of Professor Kelsey’s request which have to be reconsidered. When the Minister reconsiders his decision he will be required to do so in a way that is consistent with his obligations under the Act, which I explain in this judgment.

[…]

Full judgment: KelseyvTheMinisterofTrade.pdf

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