The Ombudsman has published a new guide on the public interest test in section 9(1) of the Official Information Act 1982 and section 7(1) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.
The "public interest test" grounds for withholding information under these sections mean that agencies must balance the public interest in disclosing information against the need to withhold it. If the public interest in disclosure outweighs the need to withhold the information, then it must be released.
The 49-page guide contains discussion and case studies to illustrate:
- The kinds of public interest considerations that can favour disclosure of official information;
- Some factors that can affect the weight of the public interest in disclosure; and
- Alternative ways that agencies can seek to strike the right balance between the need to withhold information and the public information in release.