Posts by Idiot Savant

  • Hard News: Media Take: The creeping…,

    There's been a definite tactic pre-election of delaying even inconsequential requests until after the election, which will have affected the 60- and 90-day trends.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1648 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: David Fisher: The OIA arms race, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    I don't think fears of lazy "gotcha" journalism in any way justify this sort of erosion of our democracy, and any public servant who thinks it does should resign. They are accountable to us. Anyone afraid of that has no place in the New Zealand public service.

    If they are afraid of the media getting the wrong end of the stick, then the answer is to provide more information so that they don't. Defensive secrecy simply means that journalists have to draw their conclusions froma smaller data-set, which encourages the very thing the public servants fear.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1648 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: The creeping…, in reply to nzlemming,

    "Extending the OIA to Parliament" means precisely Parliamentary Services, select committees, MP's expenses etc (which are a public money and so subject to public scrutiny). Pretending anyone wants it to go beyond that into the affairs of political parties is simply mischevious.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1648 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: The creeping…,

    Meanwhile, Judith Collins' OIA logs mysteriously don't record requests from her favourite sewerblogger:

    http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2014/10/judith-collins-two-tier-oia-service.html

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1648 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: The creeping…, in reply to B Jones,

    This would expand the amount of information public servants need to assess for "good reason" from the small amount currently requested to everything they produce.

    Except that most documents are released almost entirely unredacted, apart from the names and contact information of junior public servants. But as nzlemming notes, this is easily dealt with by designing the workflow for release rather than secrecy. Put someone's private info in a document? Tag it. Advice for consideration? Tag it, along with the date the decision will be made. Provided in confidence? Tag it. Sorting all of this stuff out beforehand makes it much easier later.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1648 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: The creeping…,

    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.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1648 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: An Open Letter To David Cunliffe, in reply to Mark H,

    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.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1648 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Sunlight Resistance, in reply to cindy baxter,

    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.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1648 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A call from Curia,

    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.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1648 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Interview: Glenn Greenwald, in reply to Ana Simkiss,

    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.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1648 posts Report Reply

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