Release of Confidential Items

Section 90 of the Local Government Act 1999 details the provisions for when a Council or Committee may order that the public excluded from attendance at a meeting for the purposes of receiving, discussing or considering in confidence information relevant to section 90(3) of the Act.  The Council or Committee may also order that some or all of the documents associated with the item also be kept confidential.  In the event that this occurs, the Council or Committee must also specify the duration of the order or the circumstances in which the order will cease to apply, or a period after which the order must be reviewed.

In some instances, the Council or Committee may delegate the power to revoke the order to an employee of the Council (such as the Chief Executive Officer).  In any event, in accordance with section 91(9) of the Local Government Act 1999, any order that operates for a period exceeding 12 months must be reviewed at least once in every year.


Section 90(3)(a)...information which would involve the unreasonable disclosure of information concerning the personal affairs of any person (living or dead)

Section 90(2)(b)...expected to give a commercial advantage to a person with whom the council is conducting, or proposing to conduct, business, or to prejudice the commercial position of the council and would be contrary to the public interest

Section 90(3)(c)...would reveal a trade secret

Section 90(3)(d)...commercial information of a confidential nature (not being a trade secret) the disclosure of which  (i) could reasonable be expected to preduce the commercial position of the person who supplies the information, or to give a commercial advantage to a third party; and
(ii) would be contrary to the public interest;

Section 90(3)(e)...matters affecting the security of the council, members or employees of the council, or council property, or the safety of any person

(Section 90(3)(f)...prejudice the maintenance of the law, including be affecting (or potentially affecting) the prevention, detection of investigation of criminal offence, or the right to a fair trail

Section 90(3)(g)...not breach any law, order, or direction of a court or tribunal constituted by law, any duty of confidence, or other legal obligation or duty

Section 90(3)(h) advice

Section 90(3)(i)...information relating to actual litigation, or litigation that the council or council committee believe or reasonable grounds will take place, involving the council or an employee of the council

Section 90(3)(j)...would divulge information provided on a confidential basis by or to a Minister of the Crown, or any public authority of official (not being an employee of the council, or a person engaged by the Council) and would be contrary to the public interest

Section 90(3)(k)...tenders for the supply of goods, the provision of services or the carrying our of works

Section (90)(3)(m)...information relating to a proposed amendment to a Development Plan under the Development Act 1993 before a Development Plan Amendment proposal relating to the amendment is released for public consultation under that Act

Section 90(3)(n)...information relevant to the review of a determination of council under the Freedom of Information Act 1991