Whangārei District Council has refused a request to release a report understood to detail its handling of a well-publicised complaint.

The Northern Advocate requested copies of the draft and final copies of a report known as the Dyhrberg Report, under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.

The report is believed to delve into the council's management of Wayne Deeming's complaint regarding Councillor Shelley Deeming.

The council has now refused the request, citing the privacy of natural persons; maintaining legal privilege; and protecting information where making it available would be likely unreasonably to prejudice the commercial position of the person who was the subject of the information.

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The council also refused on the grounds of maintaining the effective conduct of public affairs through the free and frank expressions of opinions by or between or to members or officers or employees of council; and the protection of members, officers, employees and persons from improper pressure or harassment.

The issue between the pair dates back a decade, when a complaint made by Wayne Deeming to then mayor Stan Semenoff in 2009 about an incident at the Mid-Western Rugby and Squash Club that he felt may have breached the Sale of Liquor Act, was made public.

This particular case has already seen the council ordered to pay Mr Deeming $2000 plus expenses in 2015 for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings.

Last year, one of three code of conduct complaints levelled at Cr Deeming relating to this matter, was upheld by her fellow councillors. In a split vote, councillors opted not to impose any penalty for the breach.

The Northern Advocate has referred the refusal to the Ombudsman to investigate.