I realise that there is another side to this: the sheer weight of requests, often themselves highly political, or near-vexatious, that suck up resources.
Except that there aren't that many requests. While the government hasn't implemented the Law Commissions' reccomendation to keep stats, the work I did on it a few years ago shows the average Ministerial office gets 1 or 2 OIAs a week, and the average department (who have staff to deal with these sorts of things) gets maybe double that (Police, Corrections, ACC and Justice being the exceptions, for obvious reasons). The problem isn't that the OIA is a burden, its that some public servants and most politicians view it as one.
And I'll third/fourth the support for proactive release. If you release stuff, people don't request it. It saves work, while keeping the public informed. Only pathological secrecry would see that as a bad thing.
Personally the Green's have better leadership and frankly better discipline, which is iconic considering they don't even have a 'whip'.
You don't need a whip if you're all committed to winning together and behave like mature adults rather than ambition-driven ladder-climbers. Likewise you don't need to have public angst about policy direction if its the driver of your party rather than a matter of political window-dressing to be changed as necessary to appeal to the voters.
I heard talk last year that the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment was getting help from some sections of the media in writing OIA's - because the Ministry for the Environment was refusing to give her office information requested. By law, they are required to give it to her, but she has had to resort to OIA's. Not sure how well that's going either.
That would be a criminal offence under s24 Environment Act 1986. If public servants are doing this, then they should be prosecuted pour encourager les autres.
I'd be interested to know how they associated my name and my (VOIP) landline number
A Privacy Act request would probably tell you that.
Key is saying any data contributed by the GCSB would have been obtained by a warrant.
That's an interesting claim, given that the law says that the GCSB cannot apply for a warrant targeting a New Zealander for intelligence purposes.
I think someone needs to ask him if he's signed any such warrants.
Prime Minister John Key cannot rule out the US National Security Agency (NSA) is undertaking mass surveillance of Kiwis' data, but has rejected claims New Zealand's own spies would have access to any such information.
"What I can say is the GCSB [Government Communications Security Bureau] does not have access to any information through XKeyscore or any other database, unless they basically comply with the New Zealand law, and the New Zealand law forbids that - unless there is a warrant to do so."
Except as Snowden has said, they do. The only question is whether they filter it by checking the FVEY box or not. Key is claiming they always do. And if you believe that, I have a pair of big white spherical buildings in Marlborough to sell you.
Sir Bruce Ferguson was fairly clear on Radio NZ that something is only legally "interception" if it's targeted. Therefore "indiscriminate interception" is technically an oxymoron in GCSB doublespeak.
He needs to read the law.
Legally its "intercepted" if it is acquired or recorded, or if its "substance, meaning, or sense" is. So, if the GCSB puts it into a database but doesn't look at it, that's interception, as is looking at a summary prepared by a foreign partner. And both are absolutely illegal if done to the communications of a New Zealander for intelligence purposes.
Note that the PM can limit IGIS's access to information
So if the GCSB or their Minister don't want the watchdog to bark, they can blind it.
We're definitely working on reporting about the money that changes hands between GCSB and NSA. I think the reporting will reveal that it goes both ways. The GCSB purchases rather expensive equipment and other capabilities from the NSA and the NSA also funds various activities here in New Zealand.
I wonder how that fits with the Public Finance Act? At first glance, its illegal for the GCSB to spend NSA money unless its been appropriated for them by Parliament or authorised under another enactment...
Public Address gets results. When I looked at this petition last night, it had ~200 signatures. Now it has 1100. They're raised ~$2500 to pay for the ad. Now they've got $4400. Good on you all.