Appendix A: Recommendations

chapter 5 – Protecting commercial interests

R15Information about third parties held by agencies subject to the OIA and LGOIMA should not form a category of information excluded from the Acts.

R16Section 9(2)(i) and 9(2)(j) of the OIA should be amended to cover the commercial activities of “any person, including a Minister of the Crown or any department or organisation holding the information”. Section 7(2)(h) and 7(2)(i) of the LGOIMA should be amended to cover the commercial activities of “any person, including a local authority holding the information”.

R17The term “commercial” should not be defined in the legislation. Instead, a new withholding ground should be added to section 9(2) of the OIA and section 7(2) of the LGOIMA, stating that good reason for withholding official information exists (subject to the public interest override) where the making available of the information would be likely to cause material prejudice to the competitive position or financial interests of any person, including the agency that holds the information.

R18The public interest factors relevant to the commercial withholding grounds should not be included in the legislation, but should be the subject of more guidance, with examples.